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Dental Care Basics

When you maintain good oral hygiene habits throughout your life, it improves not only your oral health but also your physical health. Poor oral health has been directly linked to cardiovascular disease, respiratory ailments, and some types of cancer, so maintaining a healthy mouth is a major factor in maintaining a healthy body.

No matter your age, it’s never too late to start taking better care of your teeth and gums. Poor dental hygiene has been directly linked to serious diseases such as pneumonia, some cancers, and cardiovascular disease, but taking good care of your mouth can reduce the likelihood of developing these diseases.

What Causes Plaque to Get Started?

When you eat or drink foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars, a thin film called plaque begins to form on your teeth. Plaque is rife with bacteria. When plaque isn’t removed through brushing and flossing, then it settles between your teeth and in the small fissures of your gums, and the bacteria begin to multiply. They attack your tooth enamel and can cause gingivitis and cavities.

What Causes Gingivitis to Start?

When plaque isn’t removed through brushing and flossing, it remains on the teeth and will begin to cause inflammation in your gums. Inflammation is the starting point of gingivitis, which is a very common disease that afflicts more than 75 percent of adults at some point in their lifetimes. Many people have gingivitis but are unaware of it because it often presents asymptomatically. If you notice any of the following, you may be in the early stages of gingivitis:

  • Changes in your bite
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that bleed during flossing or brushing
  • Discolored and swollen gums
  • Increased tooth sensitivity to temperature
  • Teeth that have become loose
  • Sensitive gums

To avoid developing gingivitis, make sure that you remove as much plaque as possible from your teeth every day, especially before bedtime. Your dentist may have specific recommendations for your oral hygiene regimen that are tailored to your unique needs.

What Causes Cavities To Start?

Poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of cavities, just as it is for gingivitis. Cavities are the most common chronic childhood disease, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), and they’re completely preventable. When your child is old enough to feed themselves, they’re old enough to hold a toothbrush afterward, which will help them to recognize the correlation between eating and brushing. It will also help to instill lifelong good dental habits in them.

Although you may not have any symptoms of a cavity that’s just forming, often the following symptoms will indicate that you need to make an appointment with your dentist:

  • Increased sensitivity to the sugar content or temperature of beverages or foods
  • Tiny holes or pits in your teeth
  • Pain when you bite or chew
  • Sudden toothache

Don’t ignore the symptoms of a cavity. If it’s not treated, it can cause an abscess, which is a life-threatening situation.

What At-home Habits Will Ensure the Best Oral Hygiene?

The American Dental Association recommends that you floss at least once each day at bedtime, and that you brush twice each day. In addition, they recommend the following:


  • Brush your tongue as well as your teeth
  • Brush for at least two minutes each time you brush
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure
  • Change your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles become worn
  • Change your toothbrush immediately after you’ve had an oral infection


You should floss at least once daily, preferably at bedtime. This ensures that no food particles remain in your teeth or gums overnight. Flossing will reach areas that your toothbrush may be unable to reach.


Use an antibacterial mouthwash after you brush or floss to remove any residual germs that can cause bad breath or gingivitis. Swirl the liquid in your mouth for a minimum of 30 seconds, and make sure that your mouthwash carries the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Healthy Food

Although it may seem odd for a dental association to advocate a healthy diet, your diet is directly related to your oral health. Fast-food diets that are high in carbohydrates and sugars but devoid of nutritional benefits can adversely impact both your waistline and your oral health. Focus on fresh food such as fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy products, nuts, and lean proteins. Drink plain water with no added flavoring or sweetening agents for the best benefit, and avoid sugary sodas.

Dental Visits

The American Dental Association also recommends that you visit your dentist twice each year for cleanings and checkups. This ensures that issues are caught early and have the best prognosis, and you’ll maintain the best oral hygiene possible. Your dentist may recommend additional procedures for your unique needs.

What Are the Advantages of Maintaining a Personal Dentist?

When you have a personal dentist who is familiar with your medical and dental history, they’re more likely to spot anomalies that could indicate a cyst or a tumor, jawbone loss or the onset of decay between the teeth. Your personal dentist may have additional recommendations based on your unique needs and history. If you have any questions, please call our Peoria office, and we’ll be happy to answer them.

What Are the Advantages of Consistent, Regular Dental Care?

The incidence of oral cancer is steadily increasing, and it’s now responsible for 3 percent of all new cancers that are diagnosed each year. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as are women, and those who drink or smoke, either men or women, are at a much higher risk for oral cancer. Most dental offices now offer oral cancer screenings. Regular, consistent dental care that includes exams and cleanings can catch diseases such as oral cancer while they’re still in the early stages, and thus provide the best prognosis.

If you need dental care in Peoria, then call our office at and schedule an appointment. We provide high-quality, affordable, and compassionate dental care to our patients, so call us today. We look forward to speaking with you.

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