How long has it been since you’ve been to the dentist? Months? Years? Decades?

Maybe you were “too busy.” Maybe you didn’t think it was important. Maybe you have some dental anxiety.

Whatever the reason, we would love to see you in our dentist office in Monroe, LA. If you live in or near Ouachita Parish, we want you to know that we welcome new patients and ones we haven’t seen in a while.

You may think you are doing what you need to do to keep your teeth healthy, but professional care can make a big difference in your oral health.

It Usually Starts Small

You will not to go to bed with perfect teeth and wake up with yellow teeth, gum disease, and a toothache. Oral health problems develop slowly, so slowly that you may not notice what is happening until it is too late.

Brushing and flossing your teeth are important, but preventive care goes a little further than that. Regular professional cleanings and examinations by a dentist or dental hygienist will reduce your risk of developing big problems down the road.

The bacteria that cause plaque lives inside your mouth. These bacteria are constantly trying to build plaque, which can lead to tartar buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Bacteria use the sugars in our food to create acids that can eat through the enamel of our teeth. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and its purpose is to protect our teeth.

If the bacteria can wear down your enamel, then your real problems are just beginning.

How The Infection Grows

The reason dentists encourage patients to brush and floss every day is to remove bacteria that cause plaque and to prevent plaque buildup.

You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. You should use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You need to scrub your teeth on all sides each time to brush.

Now, think about where bacteria could hide to stay away from your toothbrush. That’s between your teeth and between your teeth and gums.

This is why you should be flossing every day, too. Flossing allows you to remove bacteria and plaque from the places you just can’t reach with a toothbrush.

More than likely, you aren’t flossing every day.

According to a 2014 survey, 40 percent of Americans said that they floss daily, which means 60 percent do not. The survey also found that 20 percent of Americans never floss.

Even if you brush and floss, you may not be doing it correctly. You may have places that you miss without realizing.

That’s where bacteria can build plaque, which can turn into tartar. Tartar can’t be removed by brushing, but it can be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.

If it’s not removed, tooth decay and gum disease can start to grow.

Don’t Wait For The Pain

As tooth decay and gum disease are growing, you may not realize that you have a problem.

Tooth decay attacks the outside of your teeth first, where you don’t have nerves. If you do get a toothache, there’s a good chance that the decay has reached the softer pulp inside your tooth. If you haven’t been to the dentist, you definitely will need to go at that point.

Gum disease is often pain-free during the early stages as well. If bacteria can grow under your gumline, this can cause inflammation of your gum tissue. The tissue may start to bleed easily. Your gums become swollen, and they may develop pockets where the infection can spread both in your gums and at the roots of your teeth.

When you come for routine cleanings at least twice a year, our dentist or dental hygienists will take a close look at your mouth. We know the early signs of tooth decay and gum disease.

We can treat problems before they get out of hand, and we can show you the best ways to keep them from coming back.

Using cutting-edge technology, we can identify cavities much earlier than ever before. This can save you from needing root canals and fillings, or in the worst case scenarios, from needing teeth removed and replaced.

See Us Sooner, Not Later

We would much rather see you twice a year instead of once in a blue moon because you can’t stand your toothache any longer.

Routine, preventive care — along with brushing and flossing daily — keeps your mouth as healthy as possible. This could mean the difference between having your teeth for a lifetime or deciding which foods you will need to give up when you get your dentures.

If you haven’t scheduled your next cleaning, call (318) 302-4236 today or use our online form to make an appointment at Bayou Dental Care in Monroe.