Keeping your mouth clean gives you a healthier mouth and brighter smile. Your teeth are usually stuck with you for most of your life so taking care of them regularly is important for your health and confidence. Damage such as cavities and gum infections accumulate over long periods of time so caring for your teeth and gums is important at every stage of life. Cleaning regularly is the best preventative measure for costly dental treatments! Here are some knowledge and tips to keep help you have the best smile you can.
Brushing and flossing on a regular basis are key to keeping your mouth in tip-top shape. A visit with your dental hygienist every 6 months for a professional cleaning will clean all the spots you cannot reach such as under your gums and serves as an oral health checkup. Good oral hygiene can be had at every point in life, it’s never too late to start brushing and flossing. Overdue? Just give us a call.
- Brushing keeps your mouth healthy by removing light plaque buildup, clearing leftover food particles, and stimulating your gums. Brush your teeth in a circular motion with the brush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums for about 3 minutes twice a day. Use your toothbrush to massage your gums and to clean your palate and tongue. Rinse your toothbrush after each use and place it in an upright container to drain and dry. Electric toothbrushes have been proven to do up to a 20% better job than a regular toothbrush. We have electric toothbrushes (Braun Oral B Genius) at our office (with company rebates of 20%). Replace your toothbrush or electric head about every 3 months, or once the bristles become a bit worn.
- Toothpaste works with your toothbrush to scrub stains and plaque off your teeth. It is made of small particles called abrasives that are kind of like giving your teeth a gentle polish. Any ADA accepted brand of toothpaste will serve you well to clean your teeth and stimulate your gums. However, there are certain types of toothpaste that may be helpful if you have certain conditions. Sensodyne is a common recommendation of ours if some of your teeth feel particularly sensitive. Sensodyne helps soothe sensitive teeth by re-mineralizing teeth. Parodontax is great for gum disease and Clinpro 5000 helps reduce decay.
- Flossing cleans and stimulates just like your toothbrush but reaches places your toothbrush can’t. To floss, slide your floss between a tooth, form a C-Shape around the tooth then move up and down (not back and forth) a little bit to remove plaque and debris. You can damage your gums by excessive movement here so just a few movements are enough when done on a regular basis.
- Mouthwash can get to places that your toothbrushes and floss can miss and helps reduce bacteria. Rinse using a mouthwash such as Listerine, Crest Pro-Health, or Act. Though it is helpful, mouthwash cannot replace brushing or flossing, however, because it does not scrub away plaque and stains.
- Additional tools that can help are water picks and floss threaders and, as always, a dental visit.
- Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are a must to help keep healthy and your smile beautiful.
Oral health and general health
Good oral health serves as a foundation for your general health. Studies have shown that oral infections can increase your chances of heart, kidney, liver and other organ problems by as much as 20%. By taking care of your teeth, you reduce the surface area your body has to protect. Your body prioritizes taking care of infections and damage in your mouth so by taking care of your teeth and gums, you allow your body to focus its healing power on other parts of your body. Regular dental visits can help you maintain a healthy oral environment and control oral infections from the body that can cause tooth and gum disease.
Some medical conditions have early oral manifestations or other complications that your dentist can alert you to. For example, people with diabetes who also have gum disease may suffer additional bone loss of the jaw or surrounding bone structure and are slower to heal. Leukemia will have oral manifestations. Additionally, patients who receive a potent form of bisphosphonates must maintain their oral health to prevent a serious complication called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Cancer patients are required to have all dental procedures completed prior to starting radiation therapy or chemotherapy because bad oral health can compromise recovery.