Many people don’t think about the health of their teeth until they experience discomfort, often from a cavity, but being proactive about the health of your teeth before problems arise has great benefits. Let’s dig into the topic of why preventative care matters and how you can be proactive about keeping your smile looking and feeling its best.

What Causes Cavities?

Tooth decay is what happens when the hard outer surface layer of your teeth, your enamel, becomes damaged or erodes, and if it progresses too far, a small hole forms called a cavity.

Many things can lead to cavities, such as poor nutrition and high sugar intake, as well as poor dental hygiene habits. Your saliva naturally works hard to protect your teeth from harm, but if your teeth don’t have the nutrients they need, much like your bones, they can become weakened, and sugar can further throw off the sensitive balance of your mouth causing it to become acidic so that a colorless sticky substance called plaque forms on your teeth. If plaque stays on your teeth for a prolonged period of time, it can cause erosion and damage, and eventually holes or cavities.

That’s why preventative care matters. Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing is important to help keep your teeth clean and free of plaque and the environment of your mouth balanced and healthy. Getting regular dental cleanings can also help to clean plaque build up, called tartar, and spot cavities early.

Why Do My Gums Bleed?

So you’ve started doing what your dentist recommends: Brushing 3 times a day or after every meal, flossing every night, using mouthwash. But now you notice blood in the sink or on your teeth when you floss and sometimes when you just brush. Can all this really be good for your teeth and mouth if it’s producing blood?

It’s normal for your gums to bleed a small amount when you first start brushing and flossing regularly if it’s been a while since you paid so much attention to your teeth and this is often simply a sign that your gums have been unhealthy. With regular brushing and flossing, though, this should improve soon.

If it doesn’t improve within a short time, or the bleeding seems excessive, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist to ensure you’re using a soft enough toothbrush and the right kind of floss for sensitive gums new to regular flossing. Rinsing with a solution of 1 cup of water and ½ teaspoon of salt may also help in the meantime.

Professional Care Matters

It’s also important to see your dentist regularly, usually every 6 months, so that they can do an exam and professional cleaning to help keep your gums and teeth healthy and spot any potential problems early on to help minimize the need and cost of treatment. Home dental care is important, but one reason why preventative care matters is to catch problems before they start, and sometimes only the trained eye of a professional will know what to look for when it comes to the earliest signs of tooth decay and gum disease.

Call our Prairieville or Geismar dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.