The key to a bright, healthy smile in adulthood is the combination of proper oral hygiene at home, regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning twice a year.
Even adults can develop tooth decay but especially gum disease – both diseases can develop into serious problems. In adulthood, it is therefore important to conscientiously adhere to the following household oral hygiene rules:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque, which is the main cause of tooth decay. In addition, the toothpaste should contain an antibacterial agent and it should be proven to protect against inflammation of the tooth supporting structure (periodontitis)
- Clean your teeth daily with dental floss or an interdental brush to remove the plaque between your teeth and below the gum line, preferably before brushing your teeth so that the toothpaste active ingredients can also get into the interdental spaces. By cleaning the spaces between your teeth, you also prevent tartar build-up – this is plaque that hardens into tartar. If tartar has already formed, it can only be removed by professional cleaning in the dental practice.
- Limit the consumption of sugary snacks. The more often you also eat or drink between main meals, the more often plaque acids are formed, which attack your tooth enamel.
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and have a Periodontal Screening Index (PSI) taken and professional cleaning carried out on a regular basis.
What specific mouth problems should an adult look out for?
Even if you brush your teeth regularly, you can face certain dental problems as an adult. Fortunately, your dentist can help you deal with most of these problems successfully.
- Periodontal diseases begin as inflammation of the gums, which can heal completely in their initial stages. The symptoms of gingivitis are red, swollen gums that tend to bleed when you brush your teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist before serious problems develop. Advanced stages, ie periodontitis, can lead to tooth loss.
- The health of your gums can affect your overall health. New studies have shown a connection between periodontitis (an inflammation of the teeth supporting structures) and general diseases such as diabetes, infarct diseases and premature births. To prevent the onset of gum disease from the onset, practice adequate oral hygiene twice a day. Brush your teeth with a good toothbrush, use dental floss, interdental brushes or dental sticks every day, and have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months.
- Caries around existing fillings (called secondary caries) and caries on tooth roots are more common in adults, especially with increasing age. Therefore, it is particularly important to brush your teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride, to clean the interdental spaces with dental floss and interdental brushes and to visit the dentist regularly.
- As you get older, tooth sensitivity can also be an increasing problem. Once the gums recede – many still mistakenly assume this is a normal problem of aging – the neck of the tooth is exposed, which is not protected by tooth enamel. Exposed tooth necks are particularly prone to pain with cold or hot food or drinks. In severe cases, cold air as well as sour and sweet drinks and foods can cause symptoms. If you discover hypersensitivity, visit your dentist who will treat the hypersensitivity (e.g. with a fluoride varnish, with desensitizing polishing pastes or with plastic fillings) or determine whether the hypersensitivity may also have another cause (e.g.
How can I make my teeth look whiter?
Everyone has an individual tooth color. Almost no one has naturally white teeth. The fact that the teeth are naturally yellower or grayer depends on the composition of the non-mineral components in the tooth enamel and dentin. In addition, accumulated color pigments from smoking, drinking tea, coffee or red wine or from food can impair the appearance of the teeth. As you get older, your teeth also get a little more yellow all by themselves. The specialist calls this “stains of age”. Whether the teeth should be brighter or whiter is of course a question of personal attitude and aesthetic perception.
When cleaning by a dentist or appropriately trained specialist staff, most of the external discoloration is removed. The use of a so-called whitening toothpaste cannot lighten the natural tooth color, but it can also help to reduce this superficial discoloration between visits to the dentist. As a result, the teeth shine again in their “natural white”.
Correct whitening of the tooth color can only be achieved by bleaching the teeth. The dentist is the specialist for this treatment. There are also other options available to him to make your smile even whiter or brighter. Your dentist will advise you on the advantages and disadvantages of these treatment methods, or whether a bleaching treatment is even possible for you. It is best for you to decide together with him which treatment is suitable for you.
How does diet affect the health of my teeth?
In addition to the fact that proper nutrition affects your overall health, it is necessary for healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet provides your gums and teeth with the nutrients and minerals they need to be healthy and fight off infections such as gum disease. In addition, solid, fiber-containing foods such as fruits and vegetables help clean the teeth. Soft, sticky foods stick in the pits and between the teeth, causing more plaque to build up.
Every time you eat sugary foods, the acids produced by the plaque bacteria attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more. To limit the damage to your tooth enamel, limit the number of snacks and sugary drinks as much as possible. For snacks in between meals, choose foods that are as tooth-friendly as possible, such as cheese, raw vegetables, yoghurt or fruit.