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Good Dental Health Care
It was a nag but can you remember your parents telling you over and over, “Have you brush your teeth?” There was a reason for it and now that you are an adult you probably have a much better understanding of how this takes place. However, there may be some important factors that you have forgotten so let’s see just what factors contribute to our dental health.

There are many reasons why teeth become discolored. The majority of them can be traced back to poor dental hygiene. There is no substitute for regular personal care. For instance, did you know that you need to throw away your toothbrush at least every six weeks or so? Don’t wait until the toothbrush looks like it’s worn out, replace it automatically!

In addition, follow the following tips to maintain good proper dental and oral hygiene.

Proper way to brush teeth.
It may sound simple but there is really a lot of knowledge behind the simple action of brushing your teeth. You brush should be against the gums at a 45 degree angle. Strokes should be gentle in tooth wide increments. Brush each side and the top. Don’t forget to brush your tongue.

Proper toothbrush care.
If this topic appears to be another “no brainer” it really is not. Many people do not understand proper care of their toothbrush. Remember, it is an object that enters your mouth daily coming in contact with billions of bacteria not to mention certain instances of contamination by bleeding of the gyms or other conditions.

First of all, never share your toothbrush! There is a huge risk of cross-contamination when this practiced is followed.

Always thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after use and store it brush side up to dry naturally. If a common storage system is used, do not allow the brushes to come in contact with one another.

There are mixed thoughts regarding the storage of toothbrushes in a disinfectant. One school of thought advocates that you can do more harm by storing the toothbrush in the same disinfection repeatedly, thereby creating another possibility of cross-contamination.

Never store your toothbrush in a closed container that can set up a favorable climate for bacteria to form.

Proper way to floss.
Use a length of floss 16 to 18 inches in length. Wrap the floss around each of your middle fingers. Slip the floss between your teeth. Form a u shape against the side of one tooth. Beginning at the gum line, use a gentle rubbing motion to remove the particles of food. Repeat with each adjacent tooth remembering to take up the slack so that you are using a clean section of floss for each tooth.

How Teeth Become Discolored
Teeth can become discolored for many reasons. Most apply to poor hygiene as we stated above. Coffee, tea and tobacco are three culprits that come to mind. Those are just the tip of the iceberg, however.

The problem is that by the time we realize that our teeth have seriously deteriorated in color, enough time has gone by that we usually have some type of dental health problem which must be addressed before we can even begin to think about “cosmetic” procedures.

Any type of dental disease makes the enamel of the teeth vulnerable to ugly discoloration.

What are some of the common problems dentists see in their patients that lead to dental disease, destruction and discoloration? Let’s review some of what they have to say:

Abscessed tooth.
Infection of the tissue surrounding a tooth that usually fills with pus which has a very smelly odor.

Immoderate use of alcohol causes decreased production of saliva causing dryness of the mouth. Dry mouth is a leading cause of tooth decay.

Atrophic rhinitis.
This is an inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane usually a result of nasal drip due to colds or sinusitis. Bacterial changes in the mouth can increase risk for dental disease.

Cancers such as esophageal, pharyngeal, oral tumors, leukemia, pulmonary and stomach cancer all present severe complications due to the decay that is taking place.

Additionally, the medical treatments for these cancers can exacerbate a problem with bad breath and certain medications can cause severe discoloration of the teeth.

Oral Candida.
This is a fungal infection of the mouth cavity. Also known as thrush, it is fairly common among infants, diabetics, chemotherapy patients and people with HIV or AIDS.

Cavities are much less prevalent today than they were in the middle of the last century. The reason is attributed to the good education with regard to dental health, but more importantly the introduction of fluoride into municipal water systems which began in 1945.

People who have diabetes may also have poor teeth. This occurs because of poor control of blood sugar, the problem with most diabetics. The two situations go hand in hand. Gum disease is a problem for diabetics. And, diabetes is a problem for people with gum disease.

It can be difficult to determine which comes first, the diabetes or the gum disease, but the underlying problem is clear. High blood sugar contributes to gum disease. Diabetics have trouble controlling the high blood sugar. Gum disease is a leading cause of bad breath, hence the correlation.

The American Dental Association reports that people with type 1 diabetes 5 are at greater risk for gingivitis.

Drugs and drug abuse.
Certain drugs such as antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure meds, steroids, cancer therapy drugs, diuretics and oral contraceptives are all known to increase the propensity for gum disease.

Drug abuse is a different matter entirely. This is a sad footnote to our culture today. In years past this subject wouldn’t even be considered in a guide such as this. A study conducted in 2003 revealed that 12.3 million Americans 12 years old and over tried methamphetamine at least once. This number is staggering when you consider that represents 5.2% of our population.

Not only are the health risks tremendous but the damage to the teeth is often irreversible. Dentists have reported that the teeth of methamphetamine users are described as rotting, black, stained and literally falling apart and crumbling. The drug is highly acidic and reduces the production of saliva. Users tend to grind their teeth and crave sugar in any form. The drug also remains in the system for up to 12 hours prolonging the exposure during a period when the user probably will not even consider brushing or flossing.

Removal of the teeth is often the only course of action.

Eating disorders.
We have mentioned that vomiting is a known cause of bad breath. Hand in hand with vomiting are potentially dangerous disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.
Bulimia involves the practice of repeated binge eating followed up by self-induced vomiting called “purging” and is normally done secretly.

The reasons for engaging in this practice are different for each participant. However, it is generally accepted by the medical community that those who suffer from bulimia eat for “comfort.”

They use food as a therapy and consume large amounts to induce inner feeling of well being. It appears to temporarily drive away feelings of anger, loss, sadness and other negative, human conditions.

Each time they binge, they need to purge so they can recapture the emotional band-aids they get while binging. It is an extremely dangerous practice.

The purging process is also accomplished by fasting, taking diet pills or using diuretics. Not only does the practice rapidly deplete the body of natural resources, it also creates a dry mouth situation which causes decay. If you know of someone who you suspect may be on a damaging “binge eating” program watch for the warning signs. If you suspect they may be engaged in this behavior, intervention may be in order.

Anorexia is also extremely harmful. While it may manifest itself in some of the same ways as bulimia, it is different in that the victim has a fear of weight gain and even the slightest ounce of body fat just can’t be tolerated. Rather than binging and purging, purging is the tool of preference for people who suffer from anorexia.

Body piercing.
Our purpose of discussion that relates to body piercing is obviously directed toward oral piercing. It is not our intent to make any judgment of the practice, merely to point out some of the risks involved for those who choose to engage in this kind of activity.

The most obvious risk factor is infection which can occur when there is a lesion on any part of the body. However, as we know that the mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, whether it is “good” bacteria or “bad” bacteria.

You might think that the risk is greater at the time of piercing and that would be correct. However, continual handling of the jewelry after placement greatly increases the odds of infection down the road. Oral piercing may also put you at risk for blood contamination and increase the possibility of hepatitis B, C, D and G.

Damage to the blood vessels in the tongue or cheek can induce prolonged bleeding and in some cases nerve damage can occur.

Just having the jewelry in the mouth can damage the soft tissue around the teeth causing the gums to recede.

Constant clicking of the jewelry against natural and/or restored teeth can cause the enamel or veneers to crack or chip.

Oral jewelry can also create more saliva than is necessary. Some people have reported problems with speech and a pronounced reduction in the ability to pronounce words properly. Others say that their ability to chew was impaired.

Another worse case scenario is the risk of having the jewelry dislodge causing a dangerous choking situation or even swallowing the jewelry and having it end up in the digestive tract which is dangerous itself.

Finally, there is no doubt that having a foreign body in your mouth is going to create a poor environment for healthy teeth. Keeping the area around the piercing 100% clean 100% of the time is impossible. It only takes a few tiny particles lodged in or around the entrance and exit of the jewelry stud to create tooth decay. And, that’s even before you add in the factors discussed above.

Keeping good oral hygiene is really easy by following the above simple principles. Don't be lazy and let your hygiene go down the hill. Not only is it a waste of time and money repairing bad teeth, poor dental hygiene can also make you an unattractive person.

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DISCLAIMER: Information on this website is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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