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How to take care of teeth and gums naturally

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Dr Sarah Edwards MD
PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS Dr. Sarah served as Clinical Assistant Professor and Visiting Professor University of the Wester specialties include Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care Medicine, and anxiety Medicine. ABOUT DR. SARAH EDWARDS Dr. Sarah Edwards is a Locum Tenens physician. He received her medical degree from the University of the West School of Medicine and completed her specialty training at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA, and at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He has been trained in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine, and Anxiety Medicine. In addition, he was also trained in Thoracic Transplantation Medicine and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Dr. Edwards has a special interest in Integrative Medicine, especially the non-pharmacologic treatment of Sleep Disorders. CERTIFICATIONS Dr. Sarah Edwards is Board Certified in the following: Internal Medicine Child Diseases Critical Medicine He is also a Diplomate of The American Board of Anxiety Medicine. EDUCATIONPostgraduate: University of Nevada School of Medicine Residency: Internal Medicine Medical College of Georgia Fellowship: Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care Medicine, Anxiety Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Fellowship: Thoracic Transplantation Medicine. Medical school: American University of West Virginia School of Medicine Degree: Doctor of Medicine Graduate: University of the WestUndergraduate: University of the West Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biology

Gums and teeth care – what you must do to ensure good oral hygiene and health

We often take our teeth for granted and do not look after them in the way we should. As a result, prolonged neglect of teeth either intentionally or due to ignorance can lead to various tooth ailments which in common parlance we call dental decay. Cavities in teeth do not happen in children only, but it can affect people of all ages. While the effects of the disease are less among children, the problems increase with age. 

Cavities, as the name suggests, are tiny holes or openings in the hard surface of the teeth, technically known as the crown that can cause severe damage, which can often become permanent. Tooth decay is another type of dental problem that happens mainly from exposure to sugar but not always as it also depends on the susceptibility of the tooth in addition to the quantity and quality of saliva, the extent of exposure to sugar, and the bacterial profile of the mouth.

Although both types of problems affect children and teenagers as well as old adults it can affect anyone including infants.  Sometimes the decay might set in so deep that it results in a frequent infection that causes pain and discomfort and dentists would first try to seal the cavity after curing the infection. However, if the attempt does not give results and the pulp of the tooth gets damaged, then the dentist would advise root canal treatment which offers a permanent solution to the problem.

Root canal treatment

To save badly infected and damaged tooth dentists perform root canal treatment. It consists of removing the damaged area or pulp first and then filling and sealing it after proper cleaning and disinfecting the area. While a deep cavity would call for root canal treatment, the treatment is also effective for a cracked tooth that also damages the pulp. Repeated dental treatment on the same tooth can also weaken the pulp which can be set right with root canal treatment.

The dentists will first ascertain the extent of damage by taking X-rays of the tooth, and if it calls for root canal treatment, the dentist will perform it under general anesthesia. It is almost a pain-free procedure with patients experiencing slight to moderate pain for one or two days. 

Although root canal treatment enjoys a fair amount of success, like any other interventional surgical procedure, few patients might encounter some complications after root canal treatment that you can learn about by logging on to Root canal complications In such cases, the experience of patients is far from pleasing.

Taking care of your teeth

To avoid the treatment that always comes with some uncertainties, it is always better to maintain good oral hygiene and health to ensure that there is no tooth decay or cavities. Moreover, gum care and good teeth contribute to better overall health and well-being. Inability to maintain good oral health can lead to many chronic diseases that can even lead to disability.

Toothcare is not at all expensive but needs a disciplined approach to ensure that you brush your teeth regularly and refrain from eating harmful foods that cause tooth cavities and decay. Moreover, it does not take too much time to keep your teeth healthy. Good habits can prevent plaque formation on a tooth that starts the process of decay.

Here are some simple ways to take proper care of your teeth.

Have food with less sugar

Protecting your teeth from a variety of harmful foods can help to maintain healthy teeth. There is ample evidence that sugars can do considerable harm to teeth and is the cause of dental diseases. This does not mean that you must abhor sugars altogether because the frequency of sugar intake and quantity determines the extent of the decay. Limiting sugar intake is the way to ensure that it does not harm teeth because the bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar and starts decaying teeth. With every sugar exposure, the process of demineralization sets in and it can take almost an hour for the mouth to regain non-acidic pH conditions. Consumption of fresh fruit and starchy staple foods are linked to lower occurrences of dental caries. The ideal diet for healthy gums and teeth comprises of nutrient-rich foods that have low sugar and starch content.

Be careful with beverages

For producing saliva in the mouth that protects teeth, start taking fruits and vegetables like apples, celery, peas, and carrots between meals. Chewing of fruits and vegetables results in saliva secretion. While you must drink enough water, be careful with beverages and soft drinks as most carbonated beverages contain phosphoric acid that inhibits calcium absorption in the body. Fruit juices contain a good amount of sugar and damages teeth.

Ensure proper brushing

Brushing is not enough unless you do it correctly at least for 2 minutes each time. For reducing plaque, dentists recommend the use of fluoridated toothpaste. For cleaning teeth and gums properly, you must use a soft-bristled toothbrush that protects the enamel. Place the toothbrush against the teeth at an angle of 45o to the gumline and use short and gentle strokes, back and forth, and in circular motions. This would ensure that the bristles gently clean the teeth surfaces without scrubbing or sawing. Lightly brush the tongue with the toothbrush and wait for 30 minutes after brushing before taking food. Periodical replacement of toothbrushes every three months is mandatory.

Practice flossing

Although brushing cleans teeth, the cleanliness does not last long because of interim food intake between brushing sessions. Food particles can make their way into the crevices and fine gaps between teeth. For in-between cleaning of teeth, you should take up flossing and make it a habit.  Flossing is essential because the toothbrush does not reach every nook and corner of teeth which the floss can easily access. The tight spaces between teeth and the area just below the gum line are susceptible to food particle deposition that builds up plaque and turns into tartar if allowed to stay in place.

Plaques and tartar are early signs of dental decay, and you must act fast to prevent it.


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