Healthy teeth and gums make it easy to eat well and enjoy good food. There are a number of problems that can affect the health of the mouth, but careful care will keep teeth and gums strong.

Dental caries

The teeth are covered by a hard outer layer called enamel. Every day, a thin layer of bacteria called dental plaque is formed on the teeth. The bacteria in the dental plaque produce acids that can begin to damage the enamel. Over time, acids can create holes in the enamel. These gaps are known as cavities. Brushing and flossing can protect against tooth decay, but once it decays, a dentist has to repair the damage.

You can protect your teeth against decay by using fluoride toothpaste. If you have a higher risk of developing tooth decay (for example, if you have a dry mouth because of medicines you take), you may need more fluoride. Your dentist or dental hygienist can treat you with fluoride during a visit to the office or the dentist may suggest that you use a fluoride gel or mouthwash at home.

Gum disease

Gum disease begins when a dental plaque forms along and under the gum line. This plaque causes infections that damage the gums and bones that hold the teeth in place. Sometimes gum disease causes the gums to become tender and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be solved by brushing and flossing daily.

A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, needs to be treated by a dentist. If left untreated, this infection can ruin the bones, gums and other tissues that support the teeth. Over time, you may have to remove your teeth.

To prevent gum disease:

Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Floss once a day.
Visit your dentist regularly for review and cleaning.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of developing a gum disease. Visit for more information.

Cleaning teeth and gums

There is a correct way to brush your teeth and floss. Everyday:
Brush gently on all sides of the teeth with a soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.
Use small circular motions and short back and forth movements.

Take the time to brush carefully and gently along the gum line.

Brush your tongue slightly to help keep your mouth clean.
For people who have arthritis or other conditions that limit hand movements, it may be difficult to hold and use a toothbrush. The following are some helpful ideas:

Use an electric toothbrush or battery.
Place the rubber grip of the handle of a bicycle or a tube of foam material on the handle of the toothbrush.
Buy a toothbrush with a larger handle.
Keep the toothbrush tied to your hand using a wide elastic band.
You also need to clean the area around your teeth with floss every day. Careful cleaning with dental floss will remove plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can not reach. Be sure to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth.

Visit your Tampa dentist if brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or cause mouth pain. If you are having problems with flossing, a special dental floss holder can help. Ask the dentist to teach you the correct way to floss.


Sometimes it is necessary to use dentures (false teeth) to replace severely damaged teeth. Partial dentures can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Dentures may feel strange at first and your dentist may want to see you frequently to make sure your dentures look good. Over time, the shape of the gums will change and your dentures may require adjustment or replacement. Be sure to let the dentist make the adjustments.

When you are learning to eat with dentures, it may be easier for you if:

Start with soft, non-sticky foods.
Cut your food into small pieces.
Chew slowly using both sides of the mouth.
Be careful when putting dentures on because it may be more difficult to feel foods and drinks that are too hot or that you notice bones of food in your mouth.

Keep your dentures clean and free of foods that cause staining, bad breath or inflamed gums. Brush the dentures every day with a special cleaning product. Remove dentures at night and place in denture cleaner or water.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Many common medications can cause a dry mouth. That can make it difficult to eat, swallow, taste and even talk. A dry mouth can cause tooth decay and other mouth infections.

There are some things you can try that may help you with the problem of a dry mouth. Try sucking water or other sugar-free drinks. Do not smoke and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Sucking sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free chewing gum can help. Your dentist or doctor may suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth moist or they may have other ideas on how to treat a dry mouth.

Author's Bio: 

My name is PAM SilverBurg and I am cosmetic dentist in Tampa FL USA.