PATIENT EDUCATIONGet tips and recommendations to improve your overall dental health.
Dental Health Tips
At the end of the day, are you too tired to take care of your teeth? Too busy to floss? If you’re tempted to skip these important practices, remember your smile depends on these simple dental health practices. Consistent brushing and flossing habits pay big dividends throughout your life. Work with us to learn how to promote your dental health and when to report problems to us as your dentist.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, three times a day is even better. It is essential to brush in the morning. During the night, the amount of saliva we produce decreases as we sleep. Saliva is important to buffer the acids that bacteria produce in our mouths. This makes our teeth more vulnerable during the early morning hours when we have less saliva to counter the acids. Brushing in the morning removes a large amount of acid filled plaque that covers our teeth. Brushing your teeth before bed significantly reduces the bacteria count in our mouths so less acid is produced as we sleep. Morning and evening brushing is essential. Even finding a time in the afternoon to brush your teeth will give greater protection to the enamel on your teeth. Remember, when you brush, don’t rush. Take enough time to do a thorough job.
Use the Proper Equipment. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Consider using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively. Dr. Beck and Dr. Haws highly recommend certain electric tooth brushes that have proven to be an effective aid in oral health care. At your next visit, ask the doctors about their recommendations.
Practice Good Technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle against your teeth and brush with short circular motions. Remember to brush the inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums.
Know when to replace your toothbrush. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for electric toothbrush every three to four months. This should be done sooner if the bristles become frayed or bent.
Flossing For Dental Health
You can’t reach the tight spaces between your teeth or under the gum line with a toothbrush, which is why flossing is a very important dental health tip.
When you floss:
Don’t Skimp. Break off about 18 inches of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger on one hand, and the rest around the middle finger on the other hand– leaving about 1 inch to floss your first tooth.
Take it one tooth at a time. Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently pull the floss from the gum line to the top of the tooth to scrape off plaque. Rub the floss against all sides of the tooth. Unwind to fresh floss as you progress to the next tooth.
Keep it up. If you have trouble getting floss through your teeth, try the waxed variety. If it’s hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder or an interdental cleaner–such as a dental pick or tooth stick designed to clean between the teeth.
Ask our Team. At your regular preventive cleaning appointments you have an expert to ask about your techniques in flossing and brushing your teeth. Our hygienists are happy to review your techniques and give tips and suggestions on what you can do better. You can consider us as your dental health coach.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
When you visit our office and have your teeth cleaned, Dr. Steve Beck and Dr. Lyle Haws will work with our hygienists to evaluate the health of your gums. Depending on the health of your gum tissues we will recommend a treatment that will help you maintain or improve your health. The main reason to have your teeth cleaned is to prevent or delay the progression of gum diseases and cavities. The dental hygienist will remove soft and hard deposits from your teeth that cause cavities and gum disease. The frequency of professional teeth cleaning depends on the health of your teeth and gums. We will recommend an interval that will be tailored to your personal health.
In recent years many electric toothbrushes have been developed. You may ask if an electric toothbrush is as effective as a manual toothbrush and if so, which brand is the best?
We know that most people can brush their teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush, but Dr. Beck and Dr. Haws feel that most people can benefit from the bristle movement of an electric toothbrush, which might remove more plaque from your teeth and improve your gum health. If you have arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to brush well, you may also consider an electric toothbrush. If you choose to invest in an electric toothbrush, make sure the toothbrush is comfortable and easy to use. You may ask Dr. Haws or Dr. Beck at your next visit their recommendations of a brand of electric toothbrush that would be beneficial to your oral health. We might suggest a model with a rotating-oscillating head. Other features such as adjustable power levels, timers and rechargeable batteries are up to you. Whether you choose an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush, what’s most important is daily brushing and flossing.
There are many causes of bad breath (also known as Halitosis). Certain foods, health conditions and habits are some of the most common causes of bad breath. In most cases, you can improve bad breath with proper dental hygiene and regular preventive cleaning appointments with our hygienists. But if simple self-care techniques don’t solve the problem, you may want to see Dr. Beck or Dr. Haws to make sure a more serious condition isn’t causing your bad breath. Remember that mints, mouthwashes and other products only mask the problem temporarily. Regular brushing (two to three times a day), and flossing along with regular preventative cleaning appointments with our hygienists are the healthy way to prevent bad breath.
Cavities are a concern for the young and old alike. The current movement in dentistry is prevention. We understand the process of dental decay and with that information we can help you avoid the destructive and costly action of decay. There are many reasons why a person may get cavities ranging from excessive sugar intake and irregular brushing to low immunity and dry mouth. Here are 4 ways that Dr. Haws and Dr. Beck recommend to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
- Brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing keeps your teeth clean of bacteria. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel as well as preventing the bacteria from producing decay forming acid.
- Reduce your intake of fermentable carbohydrates in quantity and frequency. Some of the most potent foods and liquids that cause cavities are sticky candies, soda and many of the new energy drinks. There are some foods which naturally fight bacteria, remove plaque and strengthen enamel. Here are a few suggestions of foods that you can easily add to your diet that are good for your teeth and gums: Celery, Carrots, Cheese, Kiwis, Onions, Parsley, and Water.
- When eating foods that do contain fermentable sugars, make sure to rinse with water soon after. Never go to sleep after eating sugary foods. Help your children develop habits of eating only a few desserts during the week and only after a meal where they can immediately brush their teeth. Limit between-meal snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly. When you visit our office on a regular interval, we can help coach you on your oral health. We can see areas that you may be missing with your tooth brush. If you do develop a cavity, we can catch it early. Our hygienist will remove tarter and plaque and help us monitor the health of your gum. Radiographs and x-rays, taken on an appropriate interval, will help us make sure cavities are not developing between your teeth in areas where we can’t see.
A frustrating problem is that teeth will crack. Heavily filled teeth, grinding, and clenching are three of the most common reasons teeth crack. Trauma and decay and are other reasons why our teeth may crack. Early diagnosis is needed to improve the chances of saving the tooth. Cracked Tooth Syndrome relates to a variety of symptoms and signs caused by a crack or many cracks in a tooth.
- Erratic and sharp pain upon chewing or after release of biting pressure; but remember not all cracks will cause pain.
- Difficulty in pinpointing which tooth hurts, either upper or lower.
- Sensitivity to cold or hot foods, drinks or sweets.
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