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Oral Care

Medical Reference Related to Oral Health

  1. Tooth Decay - Topic Overview

    Is this topic for you?This topic provides information on tooth decay and cavities. If you are looking for information on: Gum disease, see the topic Gum Disease. Toothaches, see the topic Toothache and Gum Problems. Dental checkups and how to care for your teeth, see the topic Basic Dental Care. What is tooth decay?Tooth decay is damage that occurs when germs (bacteria) in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. It can lead to a hole in the tooth, called a cavity. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss. A tooth has three layers. The hard outer layer is called enamel. The middle layer is called dentin. The center of the tooth is called the pulp. It contains nerves and blood vessels. The more layers that are affected by decay, the worse the damage. What causes tooth decay?Bacteria and food can cause tooth decay. A clear, sticky substance called plaque is always forming on your teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in

  2. Gum Disease - Topic Overview

    What is gum disease?Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. It is also called periodontal disease.There are two types of gum disease: Gingivitis (say jin-juh-VY-tus) is mild gum disease that affects only the gums, the soft tissue that surrounds the teeth.Periodontitis (say pair-ee-oh-don-TY-tus) is more severe. It spreads below the gums to damage the tissues and bone that support the teeth.What causes gum disease?Gum disease is caused by the growth of germs called bacteria on the teeth and gums. Bacteria are present in plaque, a clear, sticky substance your mouth produces. The bacteria in plaque feed on sugars in the foods you eat and drink and make poisons (toxins) and other chemicals. The toxins irritate your gums, causing them to swell and bleed easily when brushed.In time, plaque can harden into a buildup called calculus or tartar. This irritates the gums even more and causes them to pull away from your teeth. Things that make you

  3. Types of Malocclusion - Topic Overview

    The term "malocclusion" (poor bite) refers to a number of possible conditions. The most common are: Upper protrusion. In an upper protrusion,the upper front teeth are pushed outward (buck teeth). A small lower jaw may be the cause. Pacifier use or thumb-sucking can also create this condition by pushing the teeth outward,sometimes causing the roof of the mouth to change shape (upper palate). ...

  4. Malocclusion and Orthodontics - What Increases Your Risk

    Factors that increase the risk of developing malocclusion include a family history of malocclusion and some oral habits, such as thumb-sucking.

  5. Extracting Teeth for Malocclusion Treatment - Topic Overview

    Serial extraction is the carefully planned and selective removal of baby ( primary ) teeth to create room for incoming permanent ( secondary ) teeth. The reason dentists or orthodontists consider removing teeth is because after age 8,the space for a child's teeth (arch length) doesn't increase. 1 Severe crowding of teeth at this age means that permanent teeth are likely to come in out of ...

  6. Malocclusion and Orthodontics - Exams and Tests

    During routine dental visits, your dentist typically looks for developing malocclusion. Talk with your dentist about any oral habits (such as a child's use of a pacifier) or difficulties with speech, chewing, or pain. Your dentist may suggest an orthodont

  7. Mouth Guards for Sports - Topic Overview

    Mouth guards are U-shaped pieces of plastic that fit between the upper and lower teeth,protectively molding around the upper teeth. Use of a mouth guard can prevent dental and jaw injury during sports. Dental injury may lead to misalignment of the teeth ( malocclusion ). Although some amateur sports,such as football,field hockey,ice hockey,lacrosse,and boxing,require the use of mouth ...

  8. Malocclusion and Orthodontics - What Happens

    Teeth that are naturally perfectly aligned are rare. A poor fit and alignment of the teeth (malocclusion) can range from mild to severe.

  9. Malocclusion and Orthodontics - Topic Overview

    Learn more about malocclusion (crooked teeth) and other dental problems.

  10. Malocclusion and Orthodontics - Prevention

    You can take steps to prevent tooth loss, which can lead to malocclusion. Use a mouth guard when playing sports. Prevent tooth decay by practicing good oral hygiene and getting regular dental cleanings. For more information, see the topic Basic Dental Car

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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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