Thorough Dental Hygiene for Long-Term Oral Health
Regular dental care is essential for a beautiful smile and complete oral wellness. Jacksonville Dentist Dr. Lysandro Tapnio provides the full range of preventative treatments, including exams, cleanings, and guidance for better care at home. These routine treatments can prevent decay, as well as gum disease and tooth loss. Through regular appointments, Dr. Tapnio also can detect the early signs of oral cancer. We encourage you to schedule visits to our office at least every six months and to consider more frequent appointments if you are at a high risk for gum inflammation or decay.
The Importance of Regular Oral Care
Routine dental care can prevent a number of serious dental issues, including decay and gum disease. Both problems occur due to a buildup of oral bacteria. When microbes accumulate on your teeth, they will develop a sticky film called plaque. If plaque is not removed at least every six months, it will develop into hard, stubborn tartar. Both substances will trap bacteria against your teeth, greatly raising your risk for decay. The microbes will feed off of sugar and starches in food. As they do, acids will form, which will erode your dental enamel. Over time, the acids will work their way further into your teeth, giving bacteria access to the deeper layers. At this point, a cavity will form.
Bacteria can also develop in your gums. In the initial stages of gum disease, Dr. Tapnio can usually eliminate microbes through a routine cleaning. Without treatment, however, the bacteria will multiply and form pockets in your gums. As the pockets get larger, your gums will pull away, leading to tissue recession, tooth loss, and even significant jawbone degeneration. Through routine visits, Dr. Tapnio can detect the early symptoms and provide appropriate periodontal treatment.
Periodontal disease is associated with inflammatory diseases of the body. Your circulatory system carries the bacteria and viruses in your mouth to other parts of your body. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and many more inflammatory and autoimmune diseases find that they are more susceptible to periodontal disease, but when periodontal disease is treated both their oral and overall systemic health improves.
Professional Dental Hygiene
At each of your routine visits, our hygienist, Karen, will remove the bacteria, plaque, and tartar that can be so detrimental to your smile. She will be very thorough, yet her gentle hands will make your treatment pleasant and relaxing. Then Dr. Tapnio will examine your teeth and gums, looking for oral health problems. For accurate assessment of your oral health, he will take digital x-rays, typically at every other visit. However, if you manifest the symptoms of decay or gum disease, you may require additional imaging. With regular visits and early diagnoses, he can usually provide more conservative care.
In addition to examining your teeth, Dr. Tapnio will check all the soft tissue of your mouth during an oral cancer screening. This part of your visit will take 5 minutes or less, but it could have life-saving consequences.
Caring for Dental Hygiene at Home
For optimal oral health, you should work hand-in-hand with Dr. Tapnio to protect your smile. At each appointment, we will provide tips for better at-home dental hygiene. Some of the most important steps include:
- Brushing at least twice a day: Use a soft bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to brush all sides of your teeth, as well as your gums and tongue. Use gentle, circular motions to avoid irritating your soft tissues. Ideally, you should brush after meals.
- Flossing at least once a day: Use about 18 inches of floss and gently guide the material between your teeth. Make a C-shaped motion at the tops and bottoms of your teeth to address the areas along your gum line.
- Use mouthwash: For further protection, use an ADA-approved, antibacterial mouthwash every day. These rinses are especially helpful if you have gum disease or if you are a smoker.
- Drink plenty of water: Consuming water at meals or after snacks will help to wash away food and acids. If you cannot brush after eating, a drink of water will help.
Dr. Tapnio can provide additional guidance, based on your individual needs.
How Often Should You Schedule Dental Visits?
Everyone should visit the dentist at least twice a year. You may benefit from more frequent appointments if:
- You have a history of decay.
- You have been diagnosed with gum disease.
- You have a history of cancer.
- Someone in your family has oral cancer.
- You are a smoker.
- You have an autoimmune disease that makes it hard to combat oral bacteria.
Children, as well as adults, should visit the dentist regularly. You should bring your children in for their initial visit around their first birthdays or no more than six months after the development of their first teeth. We enjoy children and know how to make their visits happy ones. They will quickly become familiar with dental visits and enjoy them. The goal of preventive care for babies and young children is to prevent tooth decay and catch it at its earliest stage if it starts. It is possible for children to grow up without cavities.
Book an Appointment Today
Dental hygiene is the foundation of a beautiful, healthy smile. It also supports your systemic health. Contact Dr. Tapnio today to schedule a dental cleaning and checkup for yourself or your child.