* How often should I brush and floss?
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day (once when you wake up and once before you go to sleep). In addition to brushing your teeth, you should floss daily and rinse your teeth with water after every meal.
* Why is it important to use dental floss?
Flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
* How often should I have a dental exam?
You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits. Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
* Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth. The ADA also states that silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder. The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe.
Along with the ADA's position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.
Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we do know that mercury is a toxic material when we are exposed at high, unsafe levels. For instance, we have been warned to limit the consumption of certain types of fish that carry high levels of mercury in them. However, with respect to amalgam fillings, the ADA maintains that when the mercury combines with the other components of the filling, it becomes an inactive substance that is safe.
There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which is the best option for you.
* How can I tell if I have gingivitis and or periodontitis (gum disease)?
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and dont know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.
There are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease including: smoking or chewing tobacco, steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, and oral contraceptives.
Some signs and symptoms of periodontal disease are: red and puffy gums, bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, and receding gums.
Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.