Dental Health Tips

dental-surgery1

Serving Cherry Creek and Denver, Colorado

The most important part of tooth care happens at home. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

If you're like most people, you don't look forward to facing a dental treatment. So wouldn't it be better to prevent cavities before they begin?

To prevent cavities, you need to remove plaque, the transparent layer of bacteria that coats the teeth. The best way to do this is by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Brushing also stimulates the gums, which helps to keep them healthy and prevent gum disease. Brushing and flossing are the most important things that you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Toothpastes contain abrasives, detergents, and foaming agents. Fluoride, the most common active ingredient in toothpaste, is what prevents cavities. So you should always be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.

About 1 person in 10 has a tendency to accumulate tartar quickly. Tartar is plaque in a hardened form that is more damaging and difficult to remove. Using anti-tartar toothpastes and mouthwashes, as well as spending extra time brushing the teeth near the salivary glands (the inside of the lower front teeth and the outside of the upper back teeth) may slow the development of new tartar.If you have teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure, you may want to try a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

The minimum time you should spend brushing your teeth is 2 minutes twice a day.

Here are some tips on how to brush properly:

Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Gently brush from where the tooth and gum meet to the chewing surface in short (about half-a-tooth-wide) strokes. Brushing too hard can cause receding gums, tooth sensitivity, and, over time, loose teeth.

  • Use the same method to brush all outside and inside surfaces of your teeth.
  • To clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth, use short sweeping strokes, tipping the bristles into the pits and crevices.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of your top and bottom front teeth and gums, hold the brush almost vertical. With back and forth motions, bring the front part of the brush over the teeth and gums.
  • Using a forward-sweeping motion, gently brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove the decay-causing bacteria that exist in these places.
  • Use an egg timer or play a favorite song while brushing your teeth to get used to brushing for a full 2 to 3 minutes. Some electronic toothbrushes have timers that let you know when 2 minutes are up.

Brushing is important but it won't remove the plaque and particles of food between your teeth, under the gumline, or under braces. You'll need to floss these spaces at least once a day, heres how:

  • Carefully insert the floss between two teeth, using a back and forth motion. Gently bring the floss to the gumline, but don't force it under the gums. Curve the floss around the edge of your tooth in the shape of the letter "C" and slide it up and down the side of each tooth.
  • Repeat this process between all your teeth, and remember to floss the back sides of your back teeth.

<

The Nutrition Connection

Eating sugar, as you probably already know, is a major cause of tooth decay. But it's not just how much sugar you eat — when and how you eat it can be just as important to keeping teeth healthy. When you eat sugary foods or drink sodas frequently throughout the day, the enamel that protects your teeth is constantly exposed to acids. Hard candies, cough drops, and breath mints that contain sugar are especially harmful because they dissolve slowly in your mouth. Many experts suggest that you take a 3-hour break between eating foods containing sugar.

Sugary or starchy foods eaten with a meal are less harmful to your teeth than when they're eaten alone, possibly because the production of saliva, which washes away the sugar and bacteria, is increased. Eating sugary foods before you go to bed can be the most damaging (especially if you don't brush your teeth afterward) because you don't produce as much saliva when you sleep.

For most people, it's hard to cut out sweets completely, so try to follow these more realistic guidelines:

  • Eat carbohydrates (sugars and starches) with a meal.
  • If you can't brush your teeth after eating, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash, or chew sugarless gum.
  • Don't eat sugary foods between meals.
  • If you snack, eat nonsugary foods, such as cheese, popcorn, raw veggies, or yogurt.

Click to see our recomendations for dental hygiene products here