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Glossary of Dental Health Terms

continued...

fluoride: a mineral that helps strengthen teeth enamel making teeth less susceptible to decay. Fluoride is ingested through food or water, is available in most toothpastes, or can be applied as a gel or liquid to the surface of teeth by a dentist.

fluorosis: discoloration of the enamel due to too much fluoride ingestion (greater than one part per million) into the bloodstream, also called enamel mottling.

general dentist: the primary care dental provider. This dentist diagnoses, treats, and manages overall oral health care needs, including gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, and preventive education.

gingiva: the soft tissue that surrounds the base of the teeth; the pink tissue around the teeth.

gingivectomy: surgical removal of gum tissue.

gingivitis: inflamed, swollen, and reddish gum tissue that may bleed easily when touched or brushed. It is the first step in a series of events that begins with plaque build up in the mouth and may end -- if not properly treated -- with periodontitis and tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth.

gingivoplasty: a procedure performed by periodontists to reshape the gum tissue.

gold fillings: an alternative to silver amalgam fillings.

gum recession: exposure of dental roots due to shrinkage of the gums as a result of abrasion, periodontal disease, or surgery.

gutta percha: material used in the filling of root canals.

halitosis: bad breath of oral or gastrointestinal origin.

handpiece: the instrument used to hold and revolve burs in dental operations.

hard palate: the bony front portion of the roof of the mouth.

hygienist: a licensed, auxiliary dental professional who is both an oral health educator and clinician who uses preventive, therapeutic, and educational methods to control oral disease.

hypersensitivity: a sharp, sudden painful reaction in teeth when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, sour, salty, chemical, or mechanical stimuli.

immediate denture: a complete or partial denture that is made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the natural teeth are removed.

impacted tooth: a tooth that is partially or completely blocked from erupting through the surface of the gum. An impacted tooth may push other teeth together or damage the bony structures supporting the adjacent tooth. Often times, impacted teeth must be surgically removed.

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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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