Posts for tag: Oral Hygiene
So…you faithfully brush and floss your teeth every day. Kudos to you! Along with regular dental visits, daily hygiene is the best thing you can do to keep your teeth and gums disease-free.
Dental plaque, that thin film of bacteria and food particles that builds up on teeth, is the number one cause for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Thoroughly removing it daily through brushing and flossing drastically reduces your chances for disease.
But just the acts of brushing and flossing aren’t enough—both are skills requiring some level of mastery for truly effective plaque removal. Otherwise, any leftover plaque could be an invitation for infection.
So, how can you tell if you’re getting the job done? One way is a quick swipe of the tongue across your teeth after brushing: If they still feel gritty rather than smooth, chances are you left some plaque behind.
A more comprehensive method, though, is with a plaque disclosing agent, a product found in stores that sell dental care items. These kits contain liquids, tablets or swabs that when applied to the teeth right after brushing or flossing temporarily dye any leftover plaque a particular color. You’ll be able to see the results for yourself in the mirror.
A plaque disclosing agent can also reveal patterns of remaining plaque that indicate where you need to improve your hygiene efforts. For example, a scalloping effect along the gum line could mean you’re not adequately reaching high enough in these areas with your brush as well as your floss.
The dye effect is temporary, but it might take a few hours for the staining to fade away. You should also avoid swallowing any solution and avoid getting it on your clothes. And while disclosing agents can help improve your hygiene skills, your dentist or hygienist is still your best resource for dental care advice—so keep up those regular dental visits.
If you would like more information on best hygiene practices, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Plaque Disclosing Agents.”
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy doesn't require an elaborate plan. It's simple: Besides twice-a-year dental visits, the most important thing you can do is brush and floss every day to remove accumulated dental plaque.
The bacteria that live and breed in this thin biofilm is the main catalyst for both tooth decay and gum disease, the top two diseases that endanger teeth. Brushing and flossing removes this buildup and thus reduces the long-term risk for either disease.
Unfortunately, the message on these important hygiene tasks hasn't resonated with “Millennials,” the first generation to reach adulthood in the 21st Century and new millennium. One recent survey of 2,000 members of this age group found only about 30% brushed their teeth at least once a day, with many skipping the task for two days at a time.
If brushing has taken a beating among millennials, you can well imagine the state of flossing. Unfortunately, the news media has helped this along: Just a few years ago, the Associated Press reported a study that concluded flossing's role as a dental disease deterrent hadn't been proven. A follow-up study a year or two later by the University of North Carolina pushed back on the original AP story with findings of lower risk of tooth loss among flossers than non-flossers.
This decline in oral hygiene practices among millennials has had an unsurprisingly negative effect. Recent statistics indicate that one in three people between the ages of 18 and 34 have some form of untreated tooth decay. As this generation ages this may inevitably result in more extensive dental treatment and higher rates of tooth loss unless the trend toward hit and miss dental care makes a complete U-turn.
The good news is that it may not be too late for many of those slacking on daily care. All that's needed is to heed the same dental advice their grandparents and parents were given: Brush twice and floss once every day.
No matter what your age, consistent daily brushing and flossing still remains essential to keeping potential dental disease at bay. These twin hygiene tasks remain the solution to good dental health throughout your life.
COVID-19 containment restrictions could put a kink in many of our vacation plans this summer. With leisure air travel discouraged and popular attractions like Disney closed, this may be the year for a “staycation.” But however your summer plans turn out, be sure you keep up with the essentials—like taking care of your teeth and gums.
Vacations, whether a road trip or a camping getaway in your own backyard, are times to recharge the “mental batteries” by temporarily leaving everyday life behind. But not everything—you still need to take care of life's necessities, including daily dental care. Not to sound like a schoolmarm, but there is no vacation from brushing and flossing.
Actually, it's not that onerous: Just five short minutes a day is all you need to effectively perform these two essential hygiene tasks before you head out for your vacation activities (or non-activities, as the case may be). During those five minutes, though, you'll be removing built-up dental plaque, a bacterial film that's the top cause for tooth decay and gum disease.
You should also keep an eye on your vacation diet. For many people, seasonal getaways often come with an increase in sweet treats like pastries, ice cream or, the perennial campfire favorite, s'mores. But increased sugar may also raise your risk for dental disease. So, limit those sweet treats, consider alternative snacks without sugar, and brush after eating to keep tooth decay or gum disease from getting a foothold.
An equally important measure for maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a regular dental visit at least twice a year. During these visits we'll clean your teeth of any missed plaque or tartar (hardened plaque) and check for any signs of dental disease. Our goal is to keep you in the best oral health for the long haul.
Everyone needs a break from the routine now and then, even if it's a creative alternative to the traditional summer trip. Just be sure you have your dental care covered before your vacation.
If you would like more information about daily and regular dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Daily Oral Hygiene” and “The Bitter Truth About Sugar.”
Are your oral hygiene habits sufficient to keep your teeth and gums healthy? Your Eau Claire, WI dentist, Dr. Christopher Poss, wants your at-home practices and your in-office care to work together to give you an excellent smile for the rest of your life. Learn the details of excellent hygiene here.
Brush and floss
Your toothbrush is one of your best friends. Used twice daily with a quality fluoride toothpaste, its soft bristles remove food residues, or plaque, and prevent the formation of calculus. Also called tartar, this hard substance degrades gum tissue and can lead to tooth decay.
Along with your brush, keep your floss handy. The American Dental Association advises you use it once daily to capture and remove the sticky plaque brushing can miss. Whether you choose plain or flavored floss, or a flossing tool such as a Y-flosser, interdental pick or water flosser, this simple process benefits gum tissue and those hard to reach interdental spaces.
A tooth-friendly diet supports strong tooth enamel and vibrant gum tissue. What is a tooth-friendly diet? Well, it's low in processed sugars and carbs and high in:
- High-calcium dairy
- Low-fat meats, fish, and poultry
- Water (drink several glasses daily to increase beneficial saliva and avoid dry mouth)
Yes, what you put in your mouth definitely changes its acid content. Additionally, avoid tobacco in all forms. It stains tooth enamel and harms gum tissue and bone. Of course, oral cancer risk increases with both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
Your semi-annual check-up
It provides both you and Dr. Poss an accurate picture of your oral health. He performs several key oral health assessments, including:
- Checking for tooth decay and gum disease
- An oral cancer assessment (it takes just a couple of minutes)
- Checking the condition of fillings, veneers, crowns, and tooth replacements such as implants
- Looking at the dental bite
- Assessing jaw joint function
With your professional cleaning, your hygienist will scale your teeth and gum line, count your teeth, perform X-rays as required and polish all tooth surfaces with a rotary brush. Also, she'll recommend ways to improve your at-home routine. This is your opportunity to ask about your brush, floss and other hygiene tools you may use, says the Academy of General Dentistry.
Your dentist in Eau Claire encourages his patients to ask questions and fully participate in their care plans. After all, they're your teeth and gums!
Your best habits
Everyone can improve their oral health care. Start today with your best brushing and flossing, and call Dr. Poss to schedule your semi-annual visit in Eau Claire, WI. We look forward to seeing you! Phone (715) 833-2223.