Regular visits to your general dentist will help ensure your teeth stay healthy, but the majority of the work needs to happen every day at home. Maintaining dental health does not need to take up all of your time, but making it a priority will help you avoid time-consuming and expensive procedures in the future.
Three tips to avoid cavities
Since brushing is such a well-known piece of dental hygiene, it can sometimes fall to the wayside. Brushing is essential for removing sugars and starches from your teeth, both of which contribute to tooth decay. Sugary drinks, especially those high in acid, along with candy, pasta, bread and other refined carbohydrates, can wreak havoc on your teeth. To avoid losing enamel or developing tooth decay, make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. Here are a few tips from a general dentist for successful brushing:
- Softer bristles will give you a better and more comfortable clean than hard bristles
- Consider investing in an electric toothbrush for optimal gingivitis and gum disease defense
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- Make sure you brush every side of your teeth and get into the corners; lack of thorough brushing will leave pieces of food and bacteria behind
- Replace your toothbrush three to four times a year, as this will help you avoid bacteria buildup on your toothbrush, and make sure your teeth are being treated to soft bristles regularly
Just because brushing and flossing are often said together does not mean that everyone flosses. For some, flossing may seem like an additional or optional step to add to your dental hygiene routine. The reality is that flossing and brushing together help prevent cavities and dental decay better than brushing alone will.
Daily flossing will help you reach the places your toothbrush cannot, like in the small gaps between teeth, along the gum line and tight or narrow spaces. Without flossing, you are risking leaving food and other bacteria to build up in the nooks and crannies of your mouth, and even with daily brushing, you will not be able to get rid of it all. Here are a few tips for adding flossing to your daily dental hygiene routine:
- Use plenty of floss, around 18 inches, so you will be able to use clean floss for every part of your mouth
- Be gentle, especially when you are first starting; your gums may be sensitive, so try not to push harder than is comfortable
- Be thorough, and focus on each tooth individually before moving on to the next, to ensure that you clean your entire mouth
In addition to brushing and flossing, using a fluoride rinse can significantly reduce your chance of cavities and help your enamel remain intact. Fluoride can be found in low concentrations in our drinking water, which has been shown to significantly reduce cavities and tooth decay for the drinker. A higher level of fluoride in the form of mouthwash can help your teeth stay strong and is an excellent addition to your daily dental hygiene routine.
Remember that checkups matter!
Visit your general dentist regularly for optimal oral health. Call or visit our office if you have any questions about cavity prevention or other dental procedures.
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