Teeth are strong, durable structures that endure massive amounts of pressure each day. It is important to protect the teeth and keep them strong through daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional care from a licensed and experienced general dentist.
General dentistry involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a wide range of dental conditions, as well as the maintenance of overall oral health for patients of all ages. This comprehensive care from a general dentist is usually the only source of care patients require for their dental needs. There are several different dental specialties, but general dentistry encompasses the basics of these specialties.
Habits to Avoid
In many cases, bad oral habits of children may persist into, or develop during, the adult years, particularly during periods of stress. Common adult problems include:
- Crunching hard foods or ice
- Sipping sugary drinks over prolonged periods
- Using the teeth as tools
- Grinding the teeth, known as bruxism
- Cleaning the teeth irregularly or improperly
Crunching on ice or chewing on popcorn kernels may seem harmless, but it can lead to damaged enamel and even tooth fractures. Sipping sugary beverages over the course of the day causes decay and possible infection. Although in some cases it may seem natural to use the teeth to tear off a bit of thread or open a plastic wrapper, using the teeth as tools can cause serious problems. Similarly, teeth grinding, which normally occurs during sleep, can lead to a number of difficulties, including headaches, jaw pain, and worn teeth. Bruxism usually responds well to the use of a bite plate designed to keep the upper teeth from making direct contact with the lower teeth.
Perhaps the most common bad oral habits of adults are not cleaning the teeth properly with both toothbrushes and floss and failing to visit the dentist as regularly as needed. Any dentist or dental hygienist will happily instruct patients in proper methods of dental hygiene. If dental phobia is keeping a patient from regular checkups, this warrants a serious conversation with the dentist and possibly a referral to a dentist who deals with such problems.