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You should visit your dental hygienist and dentist at least twice a year (once every six months). In order to maintain a healthy smile, it is vital to have professional cleanings and regular check-ups. Your dentist will examine your teeth and provide an evaluation of existing dental problems and proposed treatment. If you have a dental emergency, you should call your dentist immediately.
Fluoride is a relatively recent but important advance in dental and oral health. Studies consistently show that a moderate but consistent exposure of teeth to fluoride helps strengthen and rebuild tooth structure, and helps prevent future decay.
It is important to note, however, that like any medical treatment, fluoride should be taken in moderation. Overexposure to fluoride can result in a cosmetic condition known as fluorosis: thin white lines, streaks or spots on the tooth enamel that start usually darken later. The risk of fluorosis is most pronounced in infants and children whose teeth have not yet fully developed and erupted from the gum line, which is why extra care must be taken to monitor how much fluoride a child ingests. Many, if not most, public water sources contain fluoridated water, and a common cause of fluorosis in children is powdered formula prepared that is prepared with fluoridated water. There are also many kinds of toothpaste, mouthwashes and even some flosses that contain fluoride.
The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.
Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.
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