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Oral Healthcare and a Healthy Lifestyle

You can maintain good oral healthcare by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Some suggestions include the following:
 
  • Eat healthy meals. Cut down on tooth decay by brushing after meals and not snacking on sugary or starchy foods between meals.
     
  • Don't smoke. Smoking raises your risk for gum disease, oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infections.
     
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation -- no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men. Heavy alcohol use raises your risk for oral and throat cancers. When alcohol and tobacco are used together, your risk for oral cancers is even greater than using one of these alone.
     

Regular Exams as Part of Oral Healthcare

Having an oral exam twice each year will help find signs of problems early. During regular checkups, dentists and other types of oral healthcare providers can find signs of nutritional deficiencies, diseases, infections, immune disorders, injuries, and some cancers.
 
Make an appointment right away to see your dentist if:
 
  • Your gums bleed often
  • You see any red or white patches on the gums or tongue
  • You have mouth or jaw pain that won't go away
  • You have sores that do not heal within two weeks
  • You have problems swallowing or chewing.
     
Besides your dentist, other types of oral healthcare providers include:
 
  • Dental hygienists. These people work as part of your dentist's staff. They clean gums and teeth, and instruct patients on ways to prevent oral disease and to maintain oral health.
 
  • Periodontists. These are dentists who treat gum disease and place dental implants or artificial teeth to replace lost teeth.
 
  • Oral surgeons. These are dentists who can perform biopsies (taking a sample of tissue in your mouth to look at under a microscope) or surgery on your mouth and supporting tissues if you have a serious problem.
     
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