What is dental problems?

How can you help prevent dental problems?

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires good nutrition and regular brushing and flossing.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day—in the morning and before bed—and floss once a day. This removes plaque, which can lead to damaged teeth, gums, and surrounding bone.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Ask your dentist if you need a mouthwash that contains fluoride or one with ingredients that fight plaque. Look for toothpastes that have been approved by the American Dental Association.
  • Avoid foods that have a lot of sugar. Sugar helps plaque grow.
  • Avoid using tobacco products, which can cause gum disease and mouth (oral) cancer. Exposure to tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) also may cause gum disease and other health problems.
  • Practice tongue cleaning. You can use a tongue cleaner or a soft-bristle toothbrush, stroking in a back-to-front direction. Tongue cleaning is particularly important for people who smoke or whose tongues are coated or deeply grooved.
  • Schedule regular trips to the dentist based on how often you need exams and cleaning.

Caring for a loose tooth

Try these tips for caring for a loose tooth.

  • Protect a slightly loose tooth.

    Teeth that are slightly loose but still in their normal position should tighten up in 1 to 2 weeks.

    • Eat a diet of soft foods for 1 to 2 weeks.
    • Be gentle when you brush or floss.
    • Wear a mouth guard or face protection if you play sports.
  • Remove a very loose baby tooth in a child.
    • First, tilt your child's head forward and down so that when the tooth comes out, it doesn't fall to the back of the throat, causing your child to choke or swallow the tooth.
    • Grasp the tooth with gauze or a washcloth, and pull firmly with a twisting motion.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.