Dental health can be important to your health overall. From preventing tooth decay and avoiding mouth injuries to banishing bad breath and more, you can learn about it below.
What Is Oral Health?
According to the World Health Organization, "Oral health means being free of chronic mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral sores, birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay and tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that affect the mouth and oral cavity."
Practicing proven oral care techniques is the fastest and most effective way to have good oral health. Did you know you can actually overbrush your teeth? Did you know that low-carb dieters are more likely to suffer from a seldom discussed side effect — halitosis, aka bad breath. Why? And how can you defeat the odor? Get tips on the tooth truth below.
Women may be more susceptible to dental health issues because of their unique hormonal changes. There are five times in a woman’s life when she may be more susceptible: Learn when they are and how women can prevent oral health problems today.
Women: Hormones and Dental Health
The state of your teeth and gums reveals a lot about your health -- but probably not the things you may think. Take this quiz to discover health secrets hidden in your teeth.
Tool: Can the Right Dental Care Save Your Life
Smoking can lead to many dental health problems, from bad breath to gum disease, oral cancer and more. Find out why, whether smokeless tobacco is safer, and get tips on kicking the habit.
Smoking and Your Teeth
Diabetes affects the whole body, including your mouth. What problems are people with diabetes at higher risk for? How should you care for your teeth? Get the facts.
Dental Care and Diabetes
Advancing age puts you at risk for several dental health problems. Find out what those are, how older adults can care for their teeth, and tips on dental financial aid.
Senior Dental Care
Tooth decay creates holes in the teeth called cavities. You can help prevent tooth decay with these seven tips.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Bad breath is all too common, but you don’t have to suffer with the smell. These eight easy tips can help you sweeten your breath for good.
8 Steps to Help Bad Breath
Can a knocked-out tooth be repaired? Find out and get tips on preventing sports-related tooth and mouth injuries.
Tips on Preventing Tooth and Mouth Injuries
Brushing your teeth may not be enough to battle gum disease. Find out why boosting your dental care arsenal with flossing can help you fight gum disease.
Flossing Key for Fighting Gum Disease
Piercing the tongue, lip, or cheek can lead to infection, tooth and nerve damage, allergic reactions, and more. Learn about the risks and watch for.
Tongue Piercing: Things to Consider
Did your crown pop out on vacation? Lost a filling? Need to tame a midnight toothache? Get tips on how you can cope -- while you wait to see the dentist.
Do-It-Yourself Emergency Dental Care
From what a toothache may be telling you to what’s behind that bad breath, learn about the warning signs and symptoms of common dental problems.
Symptoms. What health problems are associated with bad breath? How does what you eat affect bad breath? Learn about these, bad breath treatment, prevention, and more.
Why Do You Have Bad Breath?
Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease. And gum disease has been linked to heart disease. Find out more and get brushing and flossing tips.
Bleeding Gums: Preventing Gum Disease
Dry mouth can increase your risks of gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth infections. Learn its symptoms, causes and how the condition is treated.
What is dry mouth?
Learn about these various tooth problems.
Teeth feel fuzzy? Plaque could be leading to tooth decay. Learn what causes dental plaque and five ways to prevent it.
Learn about salivary gland stones including symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Salivary Gland Stones
Canker sores are small mouth ulcers that often make eating and talking uncomfortable. Learn what causes them and how to treat and prevent canker sores.
Thrush is a mouth infection, caused by a fungus. Learn the symptoms and causes, how it’s treated, and what you can do to prevent it.
TMJ causes pain in the jaw area. Find out more about TMJ symptoms and the various treatments, from changing eating habits to medication.
TMJ: Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
If not treated, gum disease (also called gingivitis or periodontal disease) may end with tooth loss. See a picture of gum disease and learn its symptoms and treatment.
Mouth cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Find out the symptoms, who gets it, how it’s treated, and how you can prevent it.
A tooth abscess is a painful infection. Learn the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for a tooth abscess.
Do You Have a Tooth Abscess?
Why do people grind their teeth? How can you learn if you’re doing it -- and why is it harmful? Get the answers, as well as hints on how to stop teeth grinding.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Tooth decay destroys teeth and leads to cavities. How do you know when you have cavities? Do only children get cavities? And what are the different ways cavities are treated?
Tooth Decay (Cavities)
Leukoplakia is a white or gray patch that develops on the tongue or the inside of the cheek. Learn what causes leukoplakia, its symptoms, and treatment.
Learn about Leukoplakia
Pericoronitis is a disorder in which the gum tissue around the molar teeth becomes swollen and infected. Learn the symptoms, what causes it, and how pericoronitis is treated.
Dental health treatments and tooth care range from braces to dentures, implants, crowns, fluoride, and whiteners. Find out more about dental treatment and care here. From strips to gels to trays, there are many tooth whitening options out there. Find out who responds best to whitening, who should avoid it, and what each option involves.
Teeth Whitening: What Works and When to Say No
Two types of dentures are available -- complete and partial. Which is appropriate when? Are there alternatives to dentures? Find out more about dentures, their cost and more.
Getting the Data on Dentures
Braces and retainers: How can they help your teeth? Do braces hurt? Are there choices when it comes to braces? Find out what you want to know here.
Braces and Retainers: How Do They Help?
Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin is applied and hardened with a special light, which bonds the material to the tooth to restore or improve a person's smile. Find out if dental bonds are right for you.
Dental Bonding: Improving Your Smile
Dental bonding uses a tooth-colored resin and a special light to improve your smile. Learn the pros and cons of this procedure, when it’s appropriate, how long bonding material lasts, and more.
Gum Disease Treatment
Composites, gold and silver, and indirect fillings: Get the toothy facts on how fillings are done, your options for filling materials, and their pros and cons.
The Facts on Fillings
Wisdom teeth often have to go. How do you know if your wisdom teeth need to be removed? How are they removed and what should you do during the first 24 hours? Find out.
It's Like Pulling Teeth: Wisdom Tooth Removal
Lasers aren’t yet widely used, but some dentists treat tooth decay and gum disease with them. Learn how lasers work, other conditions they treat, and the pros and cons of their use.
Dental Lasers: What You Want to Know
Learn about various dental treatment options.
Dental Treatment Options
Air abrasion is a drill-less technique used by some dentists to remove tooth decay. Is air abrasion painless? Get the facts, and learn how air abrasion works, its pros and cons, and more.
Air Abrasion: Dental Care Without Drills
Get tips for dry mouth treatment, how you can manage dry mouth, and suggestions for minimizing the irritation associated with the condition.
Dry Mouth Treatment
Recontouring or reshaping teeth changes a tooth’s length, shape, or surface. Who should consider recontouring? What does the procedure involve, and what are its risks? Find out.
Teeth Recontouring: Is It Right for You?
Want to improve your smile? See what braces, crowns, veneers, teeth whitening, bridges, gum reshaping -- or even a complete dental makeover -- can do for your smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry Slideshow
Not sure if you need a general dentist, an orthodontist, or an endodontist? This article breaks down the differences between the specialties so you know the kind of care you need.
Do You Need a General Dentist or a Specialist?
Brushing is only part of dental health. There’s more to consider: fluoride, snacking, examining your mouth. Learn the nine steps to take to keep your teeth and gums in top shape.
Your Dental Health Care Plan
What makes a good toothbrush? Are there advantages to powering up with electric toothbrushes? How should you pick a toothpaste? Get these and other dental care questions answered here.
Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
With a myriad of toothbrush, toothpaste, rinse, and other choices out there, how should you spend your dental dollars? Get expert advice on finding the best dental products for you.
Brushing Up on Dental Products
Most people don’t brush and floss correctly. See how it should be done with these video tips.
Related Web Site: Brushing and Flossing Just Right: See How
Proper care can keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your life. How should you take care of them? These four tips for tooth and gum care show how.
Teeth and Gum Care
What is fluoride? At what age is it most critical? If you drink bottled water, are you getting enough? Learn more about fluoride: the forms it takes, its risks, and more.
From flossing and brushing tips to coping with problems and foods to avoid, get hints for keeping your mouth healthy while you wear braces or retainers.
Braces and Retainer Care
What’s the best way to remove and clean dentures? Will you ever need to replace them? How often should you visit the dentist when you have dentures? Get tips on these and more.
Denture Care 101
From a chipped tooth to a broken wire in your braces, do you know how to handle a dental emergency? Get tips on coping with 11 common dental problems here.
Dental Emergencies: What Should You Do?
When searching for a dentist, the American Dental Association (ADA) offers these suggestions:
■ Ask family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for their recommendations.
■ Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist.
■ If you're moving, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation.
■ Contact your local or state dental society. The ADA provides a list of local and state dental societies on their web site, www.ada.org. Your local and state dental societies also may be listed in the telephone directory under "dentists" or "associations." The ADA suggests calling or visiting more than one dentist before selecting one you feel you can build a good long-term relationship with. Visit the website for more. www.ada.org
Recommended Related to Oral Health—
Determined to keep those pearly whites their whitest? You already know how important it is to brush and floss daily and to see a dentist periodically -- and to avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. But dentists say you should also be mindful of certain foods and beverages that stain teeth. As you might imagine, intensely colored foods and beverages tend to be the biggest offenders. “If you’re worried about spilling [the food or beverage] on your white tablecloth, you can be sure it’s got the potential."
Foods and Habits That Stain Your Teeth
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Dentist?—
You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:
■ What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
■ Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
■ Where was the dentist educated and trained?
■ What's the dentist's approach to preventive dentistry?
■ How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
■ What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to administer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
■ What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
■ Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
■ Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
■ What is the dentist's office policy on missed appointments?
If visiting a dentist's office:
■ Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly? Do all surfaces and equipment in the treatment room appear clean?
■ Is the dental staff helpful and willing to answer your questions?
■ Do you observe the dentist and staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment? Read the Foods and Habits That Stain Your Teeth article. Where Do People With Special Needs Obtain Dental Care?
The ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations suggests the following tips for finding dental care if you have special needs:
■ Inform the dentist about your special health or financial conditions.
■ Ask if the dentist has training and/or experience in treating patients with your specific condition.
■ Ask if the dentist has an interest in treating patients with your specific condition.
■ Find out if the dentist participates in your dental benefit plan (dental insurance program).
■ Ask if the dental facility is accessible to the disabled.
In addition, the Council suggests that patients with special needs:
■ Contact the dental director at your state department of public health. The ADA's web site provides information on locating this person.
■ Contact the nearest dental school clinic or hospital dental department, especially if it is affiliated with a major university.
Contact the Special Care Dentistry, formerly Federation of Special Care Organizations in Dentistry.
*Information courtesy of WebMD.com