An Overview of Dental Care By Steven Lin, DDS | Reviewed by a board-certified physician Updated September 09, 2016 Print Your dentist is there to make sure your teeth and smile are in the best shape they can be. But it’s your everyday habits and routines that will ultimately determine your dental health. Whether you visit your dentist regularly or it’s been a while since your last check-up, there are certain sure-fire ways to help keep your dental health in top shape.Look Out for Bleeding GumsOne of the most common signs that you need a dental check-up is that your gums are bleeding. You may notice blood when you eat or on your tooth brush. This is a sure sign you’re overdue for a dental check-up. Bleeding gums or gingivitis are signs that your mouth is inflamed and is the first stage of a long-term chronic disease process called gum disease. If you notice your gums are bleeding, you should book an appointment with your dentist immediately to assess the cause.Gum Disease May Be a Sign of Disease ElsewhereOver time, gingivitis and bleeding gums can turn into a chronic inflammatory process known as gum disease. Article Natural vs. Supermarket Brands: Which Mouthwash Is Best For You? Article Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health? But the key to having healthy gums is to get the condition diagnosed in its early stage. Gingivitis can be treated and reversed. If left undiagnosed, gum disease can progress, making your gums recede and potentially leading to eventual bone loss that can result in loose, mobile teeth. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and keeping up-to-date with dental check-ups is the best prevention against gum disease.If You’re Afraid of the Dentist, You’re Not AloneFor the best dental care, you need to see your dentist regularly. But if you’re putting off your appointment because you’re afraid of the dentist, don't worry, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is one of the most common reasons that people avoid regular check-ups. Unfortunately, this can mean disaster for your dental health.What you often don’t realize though is that your dentist sees people who experience dental anxiety every day. In fact, dentists are highly trained in easing nerves and helping patients slowly settle into realising that the dentist isn’t actually that bad. If you do suffer from dental anxiety, it’s important to let the office know before your check-up. They will often schedule an appointment that will focus mainly on discussing why you fear professional dental care. Modern dental offices are setup with the newest equipment that is both fast and painless, so you will often be surprised with how pleasant a trip to the dentist really is!Make Dental Visits a HabitA dental care routine that involves regular check-ups and cleanings is one of the most important factors in maintaining good oral health. Regular check-ups can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and other dental conditions. Article 4 Ways Dentists Can Stop Dental Anxiety for Their Patients Article 5 Surprising Foods for Healthy Teeth Dental diseases are easily addressed if diagnosed early, so it’s important not to wait until you have a problem before you see your dentist. It's best to prevent dental problems before they even happen.Cut Down on SweetsThe link between sugary, sweet food and tooth decay is well known. If you think about it, every meal or snack you have is performing some sort of dental care or damage to your teeth. But the real problem is that sugar is often hidden in foods that you don’t realize. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to talk to your dentist about how to eat more fresh, unpackaged foods and check labels for sugar content before eating processed food.Keep Your Toothbrush HandyIt’s common knowledge that you need to brush your teeth—at least twice a day to control the plaque and bacteria that may cause tooth decay. Plaque accumulates on your teeth within 12 hours. Flossing daily will also remove the plaque from in between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. Removing plaque from your teeth also helps to prevent gum disease. Bad Breath Could Be the Result of a Dental ProblemA large proportion of people who identify as having bad breath, or who are told they have bad breath, have a problem with their dental health. Monitoring your dental care includes being aware of signs like bad breath which can indicate an issue that needs addressing. Remember that your dentist will understand. They are trained and familiar with bad breath and will often be able to help you resolve it by identifying an underlying dental condition.Don’t Forget to FlossWhile some people are great brushers, few people use floss to clean the food debris that gets stuck between their teeth. In fact, 35 percent of plaque builds up between your teeth. If you don’t floss, you’re leaving it there which may put you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease, both of which start between the teeth. So, a great dental care regimen includes flossing at least once a day.If You Have a Dental Problem, Don't WaitOne of the biggest misconceptions that people have about their mouths is that they think problems will fix themselves. Article How Men's Dental Health Is Linked to Snoring List What Are the Most Common Dental Problems? Nearly every problem that occurs in the mouth will get worse and may reach a point in which your dentist cannot repair it. But, if you do receive a treatment plan, it’s important to know that any delay can result in the treatment being ineffective due to an advancement of the condition. For example, cavities will continue to grow until they reach the nerve inside your tooth, potentially resulting in an abscess.Good Dental Health Is a Life-Long RewardWhile dental care can often seem like an effort, it’s important to see it as a healthy habit that will keep giving back for life. Building habits around maintaining your oral health—like avoiding harmful foods, eating the right diet, recognizing the signs of dental disease, keeping up with your oral hygiene, and visiting your dentist regularly—will keep you smiling well into old age.