Most people in the United States have experienced the overwhelming pain associated with toothache. It seems rather strange that something so small, and without nerve endings in itself, can have such delicate structure underneath and be so receptive to external stimuli. The pain can sometimes be so overwhelming that one may need very powerful painkillers to simply get through the night with some sleep. Furthermore, once a toothache occurs the only available option is seeking the assistance of dental care professionals. However, when one does so after the fact, instead of treating the early signs of tooth decay, he or she may be faced with very substantial financial expenses. While currently in the United States, dental care and overall oral hygiene is highly stressed and emphasized, many individuals only appear to do certain parts of the full necessary procedure needed to prevent tooth decay and other tooth-related diseases.
The first and the most basic form of dental care is brushing and cleaning of one’s teeth. As one moves their toothbrush around their teeth, the individual is scraping off any remains of food, as well as dental plaque and tartar. Both the dental plaque and its hardened form called tartar, in addition to their ugly appearance, are responsible for many oral problems from gum disease, and tooth decay to gingivitis. In fact, plaque and tartar related gum disease is responsible for over 30% of tooth loss among adults. While brushing twice, and not three times per day as this may often damage the healthy enamel as well, greatly reduces both plaque and tartar, it does not appear to be able to fully clean one’s teeth. This is where flossing comes in, which should be performed daily as only approximately 60% of the decaying food particles remaining in one’s dental cavity can be removed with the toothbrush. Furthermore, while certain mouthwash substances such as Listerine have shown to be very effective in removing plaque, supplementing one’s brushing with proper flossing does appear to still be recommended by the majority of dental professionals.
In addition to brushing and flossing between one’s teeth, the individual should also remember to clean their tongue and gums, as bacteria present on these surfaces may eventually cause tooth decay. Furthermore, proper cleaning of one’s tongue helps remove the bacterial coating responsible for bad breath and gingivitis. In the case of one’s gums one should use light strokes of the tooth brush to prevent tissue damage. While the gums may bleed at first, it is normal for this to occur and eventually the gums will harden. Ultimately, it is important to remember that proper dental care is as important as all other types of hygiene and failing to put in the necessary time and effort into it may eventually lead to other more dangerous medical conditions.