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(734) 329-5284

Gentle Dental of Westland
825 S Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48186

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Dental Care Basics

We usually think of our oral health and our physical health as two separate and distinct aspects of our overall health, but, in fact, the two are inextricably linked. You can’t have good physical health if you have gum disease, cavities, an abscess, or any other oral infection. Conversely, your oral health may suffer if you have diseases such as diabetes. In order to ensure that your overall health is the best it can be, you need to maintain a regimen of good oral hygiene that includes regular dental cleanings and checkups.

Can I Avoid Developing Plaque?

Plaque accumulates in your mouth every day, but it should be removed at least daily, if not more often. After you eat or drink foods that are high in carbohydrates or sugar, a sticky film called plaque forms on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed through flossing and brushing, then it settles between your teeth and in the tiny fissures in your gums. Over time, plaque becomes tartar, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist. When plaque remains on the teeth, it begins to erode the tooth enamel and cause inflammation in the gums. The inflammation is the precursor to gingivitis, which is the first stage of periodontal disease. If you think you have gingivitis, then call our Westland office to schedule an appointment.

Can I Tell If I’m Developing Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is very common disease that will, at some point, impact more than 75 percent of adults and it’s the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. When it’s detected early, it can be cured and leave no permanent damage. However, if not treated early, gingivitis can develop into gum disease, which can lead to periodontitis, the final stage of gum disease. By this point, the disease may have caused loss of jawbone, loss of all or many of your teeth, and irreparable damage to your facial structure. For this reason, as well as many others, dentists recommend at least annual cleanings and checkups, so that if you are developing periodontal disease, it can be treated before it does irreversible damage.

Gingivitis often presents without symptoms, so if you have any of the following signs, make a dental appointment without delay:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Discolored or swollen gums
  • Sore gums
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Changes to your bite

Good oral hygiene is essential to deter the onset of gingivitis, so if you need to schedule an appointment, then call our Westland office.

Do I Have to Develop Cavities As I Age?

Cavities, also called dental caries, are caused by the same bacteria that cause gingivitis, and the best deterrent is good oral hygiene. The American Dental Association (ADA) calls cavities the most common chronic childhood disease, but adults can get cavities also. Like gingivitis, cavities are completely preventable with a regimen of good oral hygiene. If you notice any of the following, you may be developing a cavity and should see your dentist without delay:

  • Increased sensitivity to sugary or hot or cold substances
  • Painful chewing or biting
  • Sudden toothache
  • Tiny holes or pits in your teeth

In its early stages, you may be unaware that you’re forming a cavity, so it’s important to have regular checkups.

Don’t ignore the symptoms of a cavity. If not treated, then a cavity can worsen and require a cap and a root canal. The next step is an extraction, and then you may develop an abscess, which can be life-threatening. By treating your cavity early, you should be able to save your tooth and not need an artificial substitute. If you think you have a cavity forming, then call our Westland office for an appointment.

What Are the Best At-home Dental Care Habits?

Ideally, you should brush and floss after each meal or snack. However, the American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice daily and floss at least once daily. This will keep plaque to a minimum and help keep your teeth and gums healthy. They also recommend the following:


  • Brush for at least two minutes every time you brush
  • Brush your tongue as well as your teeth
  • Use a soft-bristled brush and gentle pressure
  • Replace your toothbrush immediately after you’ve been sick
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles are worn


Floss at least once each day, preferably before bedtime. This will remove any food detritus that may remain from the day because it wasn’t removed by your toothbrush. This will help prevent the onset of decay, bad breath, and tartar.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

Use an antibacterial mouthwash that bears the American Dental Association seal of approval. Using it at least once daily will help to eliminate residual bacteria that may be on the gums or tongue and cause bad breath. Swish it around your mouth for at least 30 seconds.

Dietary Habits

Rather than a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar, fast-food diet, focus instead on a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy products, and nuts. Drink plain, unflavored, and unsweetened water rather than sugary sodas that destroy your tooth enamel.

What Are the Reasons for Having a Regular Family Dentist?

When your dentist is familiar with your medical and dental history, then they’re better able to notice anomalies such as a cyst or tumor, the effects of bruxism, bone loss, changes in your bite, or the onset of gingivitis. Your dentist will also be able to recommend an oral hygiene regimen that’s tailored to your specific needs.

What Are the Reasons for Maintaining Consistent, Regular Dental Care?

Many dental complications have a much better prognosis when treated early, so regular dental checkups can catch issues before they escalate. Oral cancer is considerably more prevalent than it used to be, now accounting for 3 percent of new cancer diagnoses annually. It affects men twice as frequently as women, and is the sixth leading cause of cancer in men. Smoking or drinking increases the likelihood of developing oral cancer, so if you haven’t had a cancer screening recently, call our Westland office to schedule one.

Losing your teeth isn’t an inevitable part of the aging process. With a regimen of good oral hygiene, your teeth can last throughout your life. We provide affordable, compassionate, and dedicated dental care to our patients so that they can keep their natural teeth throughout their lives. If you need to schedule dental care, then call our Westland office at (734) 329-5284 and let us help you.

We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.

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Gentle Dental of Westland

825 S Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48186

(734) 329-5284