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Your Oral Health Care Plan

(continued)

6. If you use tobacco products, quit.

Smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco products increases your risk of oral cancer and cancers of the larynx, pharynx and esophagus; gum disease;  bad breath;  tooth discoloration; and other oral and general health problems.

7. Examine your mouth regularly.

Become familiar with the appearance of your own mouth and teeth through frequent examination. This way, you will be able to catch any changes at an early stage and have these changes examined by a dentist. Look for the development of any spots, lesions, cuts, swellings, or growths on your gums, tongue, cheeks, inside of your lips, and floor and roof of your mouth. Examine your teeth for any signs of chipping or cracking, discoloration, and looseness. If you experience a change in your bite or develop pain, call your dentist as soon as possible. An oral examination is particularly important to conduct if you are a tobacco user, since you are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer.

8. Visit your dentist regularly.

The standard recommendation is to visit your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. Talk with your dentist about the frequency that is best for you.

9. Develop a partnership with your dentist.

Don't be afraid to ask your dentist for more information if you don't understand a treatment or procedure. You should be able to have a free and frank discussion with your dentist. Here are questions you may want to ask:

  • What are the treatment options for a particular dental condition?
  • How do these options differ in cost and durability?
  • Do all the options solve the problem? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each option?
  • Of the dental treatments being recommended, which are absolutely necessary, which are less urgent, which are elective, and which are merely cosmetic?
  • What are the consequences of delaying treatment?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
  • When is payment due?
  • What method of payment does your dentist expect?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of all fees and methods and schedules of payment?

 

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Elverne M Tonn, DDS on May 14, 2012
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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

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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