Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?
You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat.
Additionally, a cleaning performed by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach and can actually help to prevent periodontal and heart disease.
How Often Should I Brush and Floss My Teeth?
You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss at least once a day as well.
What Is the Proper Way to Brush My Teeth?
The following guidelines are important for brushing correctly:
What Is the Proper Way to Floss?
The following guidelines are important for flossing correctly:
What Is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, clear film that forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental checkups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss.
What Are the Signs of Periodontal Disease?
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact our dentist if you experience any of these:
How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
Why Do Our Teeth Turn Yellow?
While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.
What Are the Different Types of Teeth Whitening Options?
Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today:
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in a short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is performed at a dental office, where the dentist applies a high-concentration peroxide gel onto the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
These whitening kits are purchased from a dentist for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually, the trays are worn for a couple of hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks depending on the product.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleaching and take-home kits purchased from the dentist. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than professional methods because of the low-concentration gel. Additionally, over-the-counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in uneven results or irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.
How Long Does Teeth WhiteningLast?
Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only “touch-ups” are required to maintain their whiteness.
Other Common Questions
What Can I Do About Bad Breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Seeing our dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath so that you can take steps to eliminate it.
Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups at the dental office will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. They will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease) caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in an antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.