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Dental Care Basics

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Healthy Teeth

How many teeth do babies and adults have? When do babies lose their baby teeth and grow permanent teeth? Find out here.

While piercing the tongue, lip, or cheek may be attractive to some, there are a number of health-related risks associated with oral piercing.

Many different types of oral health care providers could become involved in the care of your teeth, gums, and mouth.

Good oral health involves more than just brushing. To keep your teeth and mouth healthy for a lifetime of use, there are steps that you should follow.

With proper care, your teeth and gums can stay healthy throughout your life. The healthier your teeth and gums are, the less risk you have for tooth decay and gum disease.

You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with.

Dental health insurance plans vary widely. You should know how your plan is designed, since this can significantly affect the plan's coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.

Brushing and Flossing

From toothpastes to toothbrushes to mouthwashes, get the facts you need to make informed decisions about your oral health.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth's enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization.

In children, teeth should be cleaned as soon as they emerge. By starting early, your baby gets used to the daily routine.

Just the number of options you have when you buy a tube of toothpaste can be overwhelming. Should you go for tartar control? Fluoride? Both?

From the time we're young, we're taught that using a toothbrush regularly is one of the best ways to keep our teeth and gums healthy. But which toothbrush is best?

Dental Care for Kids

The following chart shows when your child's primary teeth (also called baby teeth or deciduous teeth) should erupt and shed.

The best thing you can do as a parent is to teach your child to make healthy food choices. Here are some tooth-friendly foods to serve your children along with some other tips.

Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay.

It is generally recommended that a child be seen by a dentist by the age of 1 or within 6 months after his or her first tooth comes in.

Find out when your child will begin to develop primary teeth, molars, and permanent teeth.

Dental Care for Seniors

Age in and of itself is not a dominant or sole factor in determining oral health. However, certain medical conditions, such as arthritis in the hands and fingers, may make brushing or flossing teeth difficult to impossible to perform. Drugs can also affect oral health and may make a change in your dental treatment necessary.

Get answers to some common questions seniors may have about their oral care.

WebMD takes a look at common denture problems and how they can be treated or prevented.

Proper denture care is important for both the health of your dentures and mouth. Here are some tips.

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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