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When it comes to your oral health, you probably know the basics to keep your mouth healthy: brush your teeth a couple times a day; floss once a day; go to the dentist twice a year for checkups. Although we all try to do this, sometimes it’s easier said than done. Did you know most people don’t floss? And that only about a third of Americans go to the dentist regularly? If you fit into these statistics, you might be in danger of some of the biggest threats to your smile! Here at 1st In Smiles, your Plano, TX dentist Dr. Barfield focuses on preventative dentistry so that you’re never embarrassed by your smile or in pain from damage.

Read on to find out four huge threats to your oral health … and why brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly really matter.


It shouldn’t surprise you to see that sugar can be bad for your teeth and gums. But do you know why? To understand, we first need a short biology lesson on bacteria.

Bacteria is everywhere – including your mouth! But that’s not always a bad thing. Healthy bacteria prevents infection and disease by fighting off bad bacteria. However, if the wrong bacteria starts to take over, your mouth is in danger of disease and decay.

So where does this unhealthy bacteria come from? You guessed it: sugar! Bacteria thrives on sugar as its food source, and it uses sugar to multiply. All these bacteria start to produce acid that eats away at your teeth, leading to cavities and gum disease. Worse still, it doesn’t take long for bacteria to produce this harmful acid. In fact, that’s why the ADA recommends brushing at least twice a day with fluoride and flossing every day. You can get rid of the bacteria and interrupt its growth cycle by cleaning your teeth this often.

Check out last month’s blog on food tips that can help you prevent decay and disease.


Cigarettes contains nicotine, carcinogens, and other toxins that are harmful for your health. Many people who smoke think they aren’t susceptible to problems like other people are – maybe their great uncle smoked like a chimney until he was 102 and died from old age. However, statistically speaking, this is a big risk to take. Aside from all the other problems associated with tobacco use, it significantly raises your risk of mouth cancer and gum disease. Both can lead to pain, tooth loss, and expensive treatment.

Don’t be fooled by smokeless tobacco, either. Studies show that everything from cigarettes (even natural ones!) to e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco all increase your risk of health problems. Plus, they can add years to your teeth from discoloration.
If you use tobacco and want to quit, don’t be afraid to let us know. It’s a huge obstacle to overcome, but with help, it is possible. And the benefits extend beyond your mouth’s restored health (and your wallet or pocketbook).


Hold on a second, you might be thinking. Why are dentures in this list? How can dentures be bad for your oral health?

The truth is, dentures are a great way to replace missing teeth. If you have several missing teeth, it’s better to replace them than leave gaps in your mouth. These gaps can increase your risk of gum disease, cause your jawbone to deteriorate, make it uncomfortable to eat what you want – including healthy food! – and can cause other teeth to shift out of place and become loose. Dentures can help solve these problems.

But not forever!

Dentures sit on top of your gums, so they don’t replace the tooth roots, gums, and bone that are both lost when your teeth come out. It’s the bone that provides support for you to eat and speak without any problems. Also, the bone maintains the structure of your face, so with dentures, your face will slowly but surely begin to sag.

Not all dentures cause these problems, however. We can place implants – permanent tooth roots that stimulate bone growth – to support your dentures! If you know someone who is missing teeth, from one to a full mouth, then give us a call and ask about dental implants.

Gum Disease

Earlier we talked about sugar and tobacco contributing to gum disease. The longer these two products sit on your teeth, the more bacteria has the opportunity to reproduce. Eventually, it can settle on your gums and even underneath them, where you can’t reach with even the best toothbrush on the market. The bad thing about gum disease? You may not even know it’s happening. The symptoms can be completely unnoticeable to anyone but a dental professional, or so obscure that you won’t think of them as anything out of the ordinary.

If you have chronic bad breath, bleeding gums, tooth discoloration, swelling, or sensitivity to hot or cold foods, call us right away! Let us catch gum disease before it leads to gum recession or tooth loss. If you think it’s too late for you, then stop thinking that way! We can help erase the damage from gum disease and any embarrassment or shame you’ve felt because of your teeth.

If you come in for regular checkups, we will always check your gums for signs of disease and can treat it early, even with just a cleaning, or prevent it entirely.

If you’re afraid to go to the dentist, our office couldn’t be a better place for you to feel comfortable about your care! We offer FREE sedation and other comfort options, and we can provide easy financing. Plus, we never judge you about the condition of your teeth!

Contact Us!

To prevent these four problems from destroying your smile, contact us today! Even if your smile is already damaged, we have solutions to restore your oral health and smile!