Better Dental Health

A GROWN-UP LOOK AT ORAL HEALTH CARE

Most adults don't think much about their teeth beyond the twice-daily brushing and flossing, and twice-yearly dental visits.  But that's too bad.  Because there's quite a bit to be aware of when it comes to protecting the only set of teeth you're ever going to have.

Did you know...

Dentists and hygienists recommend that you replace your toothbrush approximately every three to four months or when the bristles appear worn.  A worn toothbrush may not clean effectively and may harm your gums.

CAVITIES

Cavities occur when food and plaque interact, producing acids that can eat away tooth enamel.  While cavities most often occur during childhood, there are certain types of decay that are unique to adults such as root cavities, recurrent decay around the margins of fillings and cavities from dry mouth. 

                                                             ROOT CAVITIES

As you age, your gums can recede a bit.  This leaves portions of tooth root exposed.  And since there is no protective enamel covering the roots, these areas are highly susceptible to cavities. 

RECURRENT DECAY

Recurrent decay can form around areas that have been previously restored by your dentist.  These places include fillings, crowns, etc.  Since these spots aren't as smooth as the natural tooth surfaces, they may be prone to increased risk of decay. 

DECAY FROM DRY MOUTH

Dry mouth is a lack of proper saliva flow.  Saliva is important because it contains minerals that help strengthen the teeth, plus it helps neutralize the acids that cause decay.  There are many causes of dry mouth, including numerous medications, systemic disease, and radiation therapy. 

HELPING YOUR SMILE LAST A LIFETIME

BRUSHING

Ever watch a young child brush?  The toothbrush is going every which way, paste is foaming and flying, and its a victory if the bristles remain in contact with the teeth for very long.  However, for adults, proper brushing is not about merely putting the toothbrush in the mouth for a few seconds. 

First, proper brushing requires at least two minutes - that's right, one hundred and twenty seconds!  Most adults don't come close to brushing that long.  To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch.

Using fluoride toothpaste, such as one of the many varieties available from Colgate.  And choose a soft-bristled brush designed for effective plaque removal, like Colgate® Total™ Toothbrush.  While brushing, be sure to use short, gentle strokes and clean each side of every tooth.  Pay extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns, or other restorations.  And for fresher breath, brush your tongue, too.

Did you know...

Most adults brush for just 67 seconds. That's almost half as long as they should.

FLOSSING

Some adults floss daily, but most don't.  If you're one of the latter, you're leaving up to 35% of your tooth surfaces untouched and uncleaned.  Floss everyday, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach completely between the teeth.  Use a high performance, shred-resistant floss designed to slide easily and comfortably into the tightest spaces - like Colgate® Total™ Floss.  When sliding the floss in, take care not to snap it down on the gums.  Instead, gently move it up and down along the sides of each tooth, making certain to clean below the gumline.  And take a moment to check your gums for symptoms of gum disease, such as soreness, puffiness, bleeding and redness.  If you think any of these signs are present, see your dentist right away.  

RINSING

Many adults view mouth rinses as mere breath fresheners.  But a mouthrinse can be a crucial part of your oral care regimen if you choose one with fluoride, such as Colgate® Fluorigard®.  Since rinsing with fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it can be particularly beneficial to individuals with exposed roots due to receding gums.

NUTRITION

Without a balanced diet rich in proper nutrients, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection.  Furthermore, foods high in carbohydrates, starches and sugars greatly contribute to plaque acid production.

DENTAL VISITS

Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings.  These visits are very important even if you're one of those few people who rarely gets a cavity - because the dentist also checks for the early signs of gum disease, oral cancer and other potentially serious problems that can only be detected during the dental visit.  Remember, preventative care can help keep minor problems from becoming major ones.