Information = Prevention + Power!
Hygiene & Nutrition
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle toward your gum line and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth as well as the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach, dental floss is the most effective way to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.
Brushing and flossing is essential for optimal oral health, but the foods you choose to eat can also make a big difference. A healthy diet can reduce tooth decay and promote healthy gum tissue.
Consider these basic tips:
- Drink plenty of water (to wash away food particles left behind)
- Eat a variety of healthy foods from the five major food groups
- Cut down on snacking in between meals
- Limit snacks and drinks that are high in sugar
The decay process begins when bacteria present in the mouth breaks down the components of saliva and adheres to tooth enamel. This is the start of dental plaque. This plaque enables bacteria to linger on your teeth. If it’s not removed frequently (at least once a day) by proper brushing and flossing, the plaque becomes tightly attached to the tooth. Inside this dental plaque, the bacteria, fueled by carbohydrates (sugars and starches), begins to produce acids that eat away your tooth enamel, and thus, a cavity beings to form.
Foods that are high in fiber, such as certain meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, promote saliva flow, which help clean and rinse the teeth of sugars and food particles while chewing. In addition, saliva neutralizes the acid. While fresh fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates that can be fermented by bacteria, they also contain fiber, which counteracts fermentation, and in addition keeps the teeth clean and protects from cavities.
Most people enjoy snacks that tend to be high in simple sugars, such as raisins, candy bars, pop, etc. While it isn’t necessary to completely avoid these foods, it is very important to include other, healthier snacks such as yogurt, cheese, meats, peanut butter, fresh fruits and vegetables, popcorn, unsweetened cereals or breads, etc. Foods with artificial sweeteners are good too as they do not contribute to tooth decay.
Calcium and Vitamin C
Nutrition makes a difference in the prevention of gum diseases. Calcium and Vitamin C have been proven to keep gums healthy and ward off diseases such as gingivitis. Vitamin C, found naturally in citrus fruits, helps maintain and repair healthy connective tissue. It’s also loaded with antioxidants. Calcium builds density in the bone that supports the teeth. If your intake of calcium is below recommended dietary allowances, you may be up to two times more likely to develop gum disease.
We recommend that our patients – both children and adults – come in for a regular professional dental cleaning (link to Preventive Page) and check up every six months. People at a greater risk for oral diseases should have dental check up more than twice a year. Tobacco and alcohol use, diabetes, pregnancy, periodontal (gum) disease, poor oral hygiene and certain medical conditions are some of the many factors that we take into consideration when deciding how often you need your professional dental cleaning and check up.
Regular check ups will help to keep your gums and teeth healthy as well as detect any early problems such as gum disease, oral cancer and cavities.
Good oral hygiene is important. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a variety of dental and medical problems, such as gum disease, infection, bone loss, heart disease, stroke and more. Regular check ups and professional dental cleanings can prevent these problems.
Visit us regularly…
- To prevent gum disease
Gum disease (link to Preventive Dentistry page) is an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place and is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. If diagnosed early, it can be treated and reversed. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage of gum disease may follow. Regular professional dental cleanings and check ups, flossing daily and brushing twice a day are key factors in preventing gum disease.
- To prevent oral cancer
According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States alone. When you have your routine dental exam, we also screen you for oral cancer (link to preventive dentistry page), which is highly curable if diagnosed early.
- To avoid losing your teeth
Since gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults, regular dental check ups and professional dental cleanings, along with brushing and flossing, are vital to healthy teeth. Keeping your teeth means better chewing function and ultimately, better health.
- To prevent dental emergencies
Many toothaches and dental emergencies can be easily avoided by regular dental visits. Your dentist can detect early signs of problems with your teeth or gums. With early detection, cavities, broken fillings and gum disease are easily treatable. If these problems are left untreated, root canals, gum surgery (link to General Dentistry Page) and removal of teeth are possible treatment options.
- To help maintain good overall health
Recent studies have linked heart attacks and strokes to gum disease, often resulting from poor oral hygiene. A professional dental cleaning every 6 months helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy and could possibly reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes.
- To prevent bad breath
Dental studies show that about 85 percent of people with persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis, have a dental problem that is to blame. Good oral hygiene is essential in preventing bad breath. Regular check ups and professional dental cleanings are the best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene.
New scientific research supports what dental professionals have long suspected: infections in the mouth are often connected to a variety of health problems that occur throughout the body. This is one more reason to pay close attention to your dental health and to visit the dentist regularly.
The incidence of untreated periodontal disease is closely linked to life-threatening conditions. Believe it or not, an unhealthy mouth may increase your risk of serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular disease, poorly controlled diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and preterm labor.
Appropriate treatment of mouth inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases, but may also help optimize your overall health. Learn more by clicking on the Education Links on our website.