It is easy to keep your teeth and gums in good health with a simple routine of brushing and cleaning between the teeth every day. Having a healthy diet and regular dental check ups can prevent many dental problems. Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Following a meal or snack, the bacteria in the plaque release acids that attack the tooth enamel and over repeated exposures can lead to cavities. Plaque that is not removed can also build up and harden into what is called calculus or tartar, which can lead to periodontal or gum disease. This is why we must remove the plaque from our teeth by twice-daily brushing and cleaning between the teeth with dental floss or other interdental cleaning aids such as waterpiks.
Brush with an ADA-accepted toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste and ask one of our hygienists about which techniques to use with brushing and flossing. You should replace your toothbrush about every three months. Here are a few other things that can help prevent dental problems-
Prescription fluoride toothpastes can be helpful in patients that are at higher risk for cavities due to frequent soda intake, dry mouth conditions, poor oral hygiene, and in patients that have issues with root sensitivity. We use a toothpaste called "Clinpro" made by 3m or we can write a prescription for generics.
Various mouthwashes can be helpful in preventing cavities and periodontal disease. A rinse such as "Act fluoride rinse" can be helpful for patients that are at higher risk for developing cavities or have weak areas of enamel that may progress into cavities. We also can dispense or prescribe higher fluoride rinses when indicated. A rinse such as "Listerine" can be helpful in combatting gingivitis and help maintain patients that have struggled with periodontal disease. There are other rinses both over the counter and prescription that can be helpful depending on what we recommend.
Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco, as it puts you at much higher risk for periodontal disease and oral cancer.
Cut down on your intake of sugary foods and acidic drinks such as soda, including diet sodas. These foods in particular put patients at much higher risk for developing cavities.
If you are experiencing a dry mouth on a regular basis, make sure to bring it to our attention as it can be a very strong risk factor for developing cavities. Technically known as Xerostomia, a dry mouth, frequently caused by various medications, can lead to agressive decay and a multitude of problems. One line of products, which includes toothpastes, rinses, gels, sprays, and gums, and is particularly helpful for dry mouth patients is "Biotene", and can be found over the counter at most pharmacies.
Chewing a xylitol containing gum (sugarless) for a few minutes after meals can be helpful in reducing the harmful bacteria in the mouth and also stimulate saliva production which buffers acids and claens the mouth.
Sealants can be helpful in preventing cavities on the tops, or chewing surfaces of the teeth, particularly the permanant molars and bicuspids. We can tell you if they are indicated for you or your children.
Orthodontics, when indicated, can be extremely beneficial in preventing dental problems down the road. If the teeth are in the right places and have a good bite, they will be easier to clean, have less fractures, be less likely to develop periodontal disease, and last longer.
Mouthguards can be very helpful in protecting the teeth during high risk sports such as basketball, football, and soccer.
Please ask us any questions you may have about taking care of your teeth and smile.