Doctor’s Secrets to Healthy Teeth
April 1, 2018
Many of the patients who come into our office with cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, or tooth decay are shocked when their hear of their questionable areas.
“But I brush my teeth twice a day!”
Unfortunately, just brushing teeth twice or visiting the dentist twice a year doesn’t fully protect your mouth against dangerous bacteria. Here are a few dentist-approved methods to maintain healthy teeth.
Brushing your teeth gives you some sense of instant gratification – your teeth feel clean, your breath improves, and your mouth feels fresh. Flossing, however, doesn’t provide the same kind of fulfillment. In fact, most people don’t even notice any difference in their mouth after they floss!
Flossing is the number one piece of advice from dentists to their patients. Plaque and tartar, the main cause of tooth decay, build up on all five surfaces of your teeth (top surface and four sides). Brushing can only remove bacteria from three of those surfaces: the top of your tooth, the surface facing your lips, and the surface facing your tongue. This leaves two surfaces of your tooth uncleaned if you forgo flossing – that’s 40% of your tooth! No matter how often you use a toothbrush, almost half of your teeth will remain unclean if you don’t floss as well.
Take Care of Your Gums
Ultimately, the health of your gums will determine how healthy your teeth (and even body!) are. Gingivitis or gum disease puts patients at a higher risk for medical conditions, such as heart disease, dementia, and diabetes, and can even leave to premature birth in pregnant women.
If not removed, plaque on the teeth will calcify and spread to below the gum line. That bacteria is what causes gums to swell and bleed as our immune systems fights off disease. Brushing twice a day, routine flossing, and even a gentle mouth rinse can all help remove plaque and protect your gums against disease.
Smokers and tobacco users are also at the highest risks for gum disease.
Protect Your Teeth Against Grinding
Most people who grind their teeth during sleep don’t even realize they do it. It’s often brought up by a loved one who hears the grinding at night. There are a few ways you can tell if you grind your teeth.
- Flatness of teeth – teeth that are very flat or all appear to be the same length are a sign of grinding. This happens because the teeth get worn down from the constant nightly friction.
- Tenderness or soreness of your face or jaw – grinding can irritate the muscles in your head and neck, causing pain or soreness in the morning when you wake up.
- Tendency to chew on things during the day – those who grind their teeth tend to chew on objects during the day, whether it be gum or the pen you use. This action strengthens the jaw muscles and reinforces night time grinding.
If you suspect you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist! They’ll likely recommend getting fitted for a night guard to prevent your teeth from being worn away. You can also buy mouth guards from your local pharmacy, but custom-made guards will be much more protective and comfortable to sleep in.
Been A While Since Your Last Appointment?
It’s time you took control of your oral health. Set up an appointment with us today! Dansville Dental Professionals serves residents of the Southern Tier in all branches of General and Family Dentistry.