Without regular brushing and flossing, the mouth will accumulate harmful bacteria. Left unchecked, this bacteria can cause significant issues for oral health. Cavities and gingivitis are just two of the problems that can occur unless daily cleaning takes place. Healthy teeth demand good oral health.
Plaque is an enemy of healthy teeth, so it is important to minimize its buildup on teeth. When bacteria is left in the mouth from not brushing and flossing, it eventually changes into a sticky layer that covers tooth surfaces. This often occurs in those hard-to-reach places that a brush may miss. Over time, plaque can change into a harder substance called tartar. Tartar contributes to gum disease, which involves the gums moving away from teeth. When this happens, pockets may form that contain harmful pus and bacteria. At advanced stages, people may begin losing teeth.
Daily Cleaning Recommendations
It is possible to avoid bacteria, plaque, and tartar by following a daily teeth-cleaning regimen. Dentists recommend brushing at least two times per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing alone is not enough, however. It is also important to floss at least one time per day. Flossing removes bacteria and plaque from areas where the toothbrush won't reach effectively.
Using a mouth rinse can also help improve oral health. Mouth rinses contain antimicrobial ingredients that target bacteria and plaque. Using a mouth rinse with added fluoride may also help reduce cavities, but people should check with a dentist before using a fluoride rinse. It's also important for people to see a dentist regularly as a part of a comprehensive oral health plan. The American Dental Association recommends a visit to the dentist every six months. Regular examinations enable the dentist to check teeth and gums for potential problems. If symptoms develop, prompt care will often help resolve problems.