The Red, White, and Blue of Proper Oral Health

July 11, 2016

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With the nation in a patriotic mood this month, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to discuss “the red, white, and blue” of good oral health. After all, living in the land of the free and the home of the brave has to bring a smile to your face, so why not make it a bright one?

The Red

While the inside of your cheeks, gums, roof of your mouth and tongue should all be a bright pink color under most conditions, seeing red inside your mouth can be a sign of trouble.

Usually, red indicates inflammation or bleeding, both of which are symptoms of potentially serious problems that you should not ignore. Here are some common causes of “the red” inside your mouth, and what to do about them:

  • Red, swollen, painful gums - This could be a sign of periodontal disease or an impacted tooth, and should definitely be checked out by a dentist as soon as possible. Not only can it wreak havoc on your day-to-day life, it can also spread to other parts of the body and become more dangerous.
  • Red-rimmed sores or ulcers - While canker sores are fairly common and can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication, any unidentifiable red spots or more serious sores could be signs of oral cancer or other serious conditions. This is another time to have your dentist check out the issue.
  • Red blood at the gum line - If there is no obvious cause, like an injury, bleeding of the gums is likely a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease, both of which require professional help. If it occurs when you floss, it’s likely a sign that you need to floss more regularly to acclimate your gums, or apply less pressure.

The White

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There are many ways to keep teeth healthy and improve their shade. 

"The fact is, perfectly healthy teeth can come in many different shades..."

Bright white teeth can be an obvious sign of good oral health and have been listed to be among the first physical attributes people deem “attractive” in an individual. For these reasons, many people focus on keeping teeth as shiny white as possible.

But, there’s a caveat here. It’s important to be balanced in your pursuit of “the white.”

The fact is, perfectly healthy teeth can come in many different shades ranging from bright white to a dull yellow. Although yellow teeth may not be considered traditionally attractive, it’s the health of the teeth that matters most.

And, although FDA-approved over-the-counter teeth whitening kits and professional bleaching services provided by dentists have proven to be safe and effective for most users, some have experienced sensitivity or pain as a result. Usually this occurs when someone uses the approved products too often or leaves them on their teeth too long in an effort to speed up or brighten the results.

The Blue

Hopefully, there’s nothing naturally blue in your mouth that you didn’t put there and can remove just as easily.

In this case, we’re referring to “the oral health blues”:

  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breath

Sure, there are plenty of other problems in your mouth that can make you miserable, but these are the big three. While it’s impossible to guarantee you’ll be free from “the blues” if you follow a certain oral hygiene regimen, doing so is definitely going to improve your chances of avoiding these painful issues.

  1. Brush at least twice a day, for at least two minutes each time.
  2. Use an antibacterial mouthwash daily.
  3. Floss at least once each day.
  4. Use a tongue cleaner daily (especially to fight bad breath).
  5. Visit your dentist once every six months for a thorough cleaning and exam.

It’s really that simple to give yourself the best chance to either avoid “the blues” altogether or at least receive the very best professional treatment so you don’t need to suffer with them for long.

We hope you enjoyed our patriotic nod to “the red, white, and blue” of proper oral health. Don’t ignore any of the warning signs outlined above, and make visiting your dentist a priority if any of them appear. A dental discount card can help with expenses so you can focus on staying healthy this summer.
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