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    Caring for Your Teeth

    Posted on July 10th, 2015 by Dr. Peter Tomaselli

    The American Dental Association strongly recommends visiting your dentist every six months for a routine checkup and professional cleaning. Between these regular dental visits, caring for your teeth comes down to prevention of decay and other dental problems. There are two levels of preventative dentistry; primary and secondary, both of which include good oral hygiene and tooth care.   By far the most common preventative practice is regular brushing and flossing, as well as using medicinal rinses and mouthwashes. These practices remove food and other bacteria-causing debris from between the teeth and in other places they can get stuck. Bacteria from built-up food lead to plaque, and therefore decay and cavities. By caring for your teeth by eliminating debris and food particles you reduce the buildup of plaque and keep the level of bacteria manageable.   Although brushing, flossing and using mouthwash are by far the most obvious forms of prevention, many municipalities augment this by fluorinating water. Fluoridation is when a minute amount of the chemical fluorine is added to the water supply source. Many studies, including those conducted by the AMA have shown that fluorinated water can reduce the incidence of tooth decay by a remarkable 35 to 40 percent. Since its introduction in the mid 1940s, fluorination of municipal water supplies has become almost universal.   Regular, biannual dental examinations and cleanings are key factors in any preventative dentistry plan. These visits to the dentist are an effective way to ensure the maintenance of good oral health. When teeth are cleaned by a professional, built-up plaque is removed using special dental tools and equipment. Plaque, which is actually an accumulation of microbes and bacteria, is one of the primary causes of tooth decay and gum disease, either one of which can lead to major dental problems including tooth loss.   Even if you consistently practice a proper oral health routine, cavities are still possible. Filling cavities, having dental sealants applied, and other forms of tooth restoration are considered secondary prevention. Broken teeth often need to be removed and replaced with a dental implant, and wisdom teeth may need to be removed as well. Any and all practices that are aimed at preventing further damage are all an integral part of caring for your teeth.

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