It’s important to understand that your oral health is intricately linked to your overall well being, so it’s essential to know how to minimize your risk of developing gum diseases.

Even if you practice the best oral hygiene, brushing and flossing properly on a daily basis, there are bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria, together with proteins, mucus and food residue, combine to create a sticky film called plaque which coats your teeth.

By drinking plenty of water during and after meals, you can help to minimize plaque buildup; and remember to watch your diet because those bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugary and starchy foods.Prairie dog flossing

Plaque is bad news for your teeth & gums because it is often difficult to remove from areas that are hard to clean properly, like your back teeth, just around your gum line, and around fillings or other dental restorations.

Floss, floss, floss! No matter how diligent you may be about brushing your teeth, only daily flossing can remove the plaque between your teeth and minimize tartar formation in those difficult to reach areas of your mouth.

If plaque is allowed to remain on your teeth for as little as 24 hours, it can harden into tartar which becomes far more difficult to remove than plaque.

People who have less saliva in their mouths are more susceptible to tartar buildup because saliva contains natural bacteria-killing enzymes that fight against plaque which is the foundation for tartar.

Tartar that develops above your gum line can be especially serious because the bacteria it harbours can damage the gums leading to gingivitis, which you may not even know you have because the symptoms including red and puffy gums that sometimes bleed when brushing are often mild; however the condition should be taken seriously and addressed immediately by a dental professional.

Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a much more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis.

With periodontitis, pockets develop between the gums and the teeth and become infected by bacteria residing beneath the gums, destroying the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets.

Bottom line … keep your teeth and gums healthy by seeing our hygienist for a professional cleaning every six months or less, because plaque and tartar must be removed from your teeth before they cause serious problems.

Yours for better dental health,

Dr. Allen Sun

Photo by Angela N.