Simple daily oral hygiene will provide you with a lifetime of smiles.
Brushing your teeth after meals and between-meal snacks not only gets rid of food particles, it removes plaque, the sticky film that forms on teeth. Plaque is made up of bacteria that produce acids that cause tooth decay and gum disease, so thorough removal of plaque is the main goal of brushing. Using fluoride toothpaste is also important because the fluoride reduces bacteria levels, as well as re-mineralizes tooth surfaces, making them stronger.
Your dentist or dental hygienist at Distinctive Dentistry can instruct you on the proper method for brushing and recommend the best toothbrush for you. Generally, a brush with soft, rounded or polished bristles is less likely to injure gum tissue or damage the tooth surface. The size, shape and angle of the brush should allow you to reach every tooth. Worn-out toothbrushes cannot properly clean your teeth and may injure your gums. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months or when the bristles show signs of wear.
To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, plaque must be thoroughly removed from all tooth surfaces. Unfortunately, your brush can’t reach effectively between your teeth and under the gum line. Because tooth decay and periodontal disease often start in these areas, it is as important to floss on a daily basis as it is to brush.
Flossing is a skill that needs to be learned. Do not be discouraged if you find it difficult at first. Your dentist or dental hygienist can help you learn to floss properly and give you tips on how to make it easier. With practice, you will find that flossing takes only a few minutes of your time each day.
There are also other types of interdental cleaners, such as thin spiral brushes or disposable, one-time use dental flossers, that can be used to help keep your gums and the spaces between your teeth clean and healthy. Your dentist or dental hygienist can help you choose, and instruct you on the proper use of the oral health aides that are best for you.
There are a variety of products available to help support your daily dental care steps. Toothpastes with fluoride, mouth rinses, gels and can be used to help prevent decay. Some mouthwashes and toothpastes contain ingredients with antibacterial properties and can help prevent or control gingivitis (gum inflammation). Others contain ingredients to reduce the formation of tartar, the hardened plaque that forms on teeth over time. Gum and mints containing xylitol, a natural sweetener that reduces decay causing bacteria, can be used as part of an overall strategy to help reduce cavities.
If you are already using an over-the-counter product for your on-going dental care, it is always a good idea to consult with your dentist or hygienist on its appropriateness for you. Depending on your individual situation, your dental care provider may recommend use of a specific product.