It’s often been said that the best defense is a good offense. You may have heard this phrase used in the context of football, but it’s just as true for your dental health.
By being proactive about your oral care, you can go a long way toward preventing you opponents (tooth decay and gum disease) from “scoring” inside your mouth.
But also like football, good dental care is a team effort. It starts with you and your family, but it should also include your dentist.
Our staff at Atlanta West Dentistry wants to be part of your team. Our goal is to provide the best preventive care possible.
Good hygiene starts at home
You want your family to have the healthiest teeth possible. Treating tooth decay or tooth loss can be expensive. We know you would rather take the preventive steps to keep your loved ones smiling and happy.
That’s why we encourage you to follow the recommended guidelines to brush twice a day and floss once each day. This is important to prevent plaque buildup, which can lead to bigger problems, such as:
• Bad breath — This problem can be embarrassing, but it could also be an early warning sign that you have gum disease.
• Plaque buildup — Bacteria inside your mouth can form plaque, a sticky film that can build on your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can remove much of this plaque. On the other hand, poor oral hygiene can lead plaque buildup to turn into tartar. Tartar is a harder substance that is more difficult to remove and opens the door to bigger problems.
• Tooth decay — Too much plaque and tartar can harm the protective enamel on the outside of your teeth. This enamel helps to keep you teeth healthy. When it’s damaged, you have a greater risk of getting an infection, which may cause tooth decay.
• Gum disease — Just as plaque and tartar buildup can lead to tooth decay, it can also create an opportunity for gum disease to take hold. Bleeding gums and sore and swollen gums are signs of gingivitis, which if left untreated could turn into periodontitis.
• Tooth loss — This is a potential outcome of either tooth decay or gum disease. One affects your tooth from the inside, while the other affects the bone and gums that hold your teeth in place.
How to brush and floss?
We’ve already mentioned that you should brush twice a day and floss once a day. We’ve described some of the bad things that can happen if you don’t have a regular routine to care for your mouth.
But do you know how to brush and floss? If you do, here is a quick refresher, and if you don’t, here are the steps to follow.
When brushing, use a soft bristled brush and toothpaste with the ADA Accepted seal. Every time you brush, remember to brush for two minutes. Make sure you get every part of your mouth, and scrub your teeth on every side.
When flossing, tear off 18 inches of dental floss. Wrap one end around one middle finger, and the other end around your other middle finger. Hold the floss with your pointer fingers and thumbs with about an inch between them.
Then, gently rub the floss up and down between your gums and teeth. This removes plaque that you can’t get when you brush.
Now, if you are a parent, you may have found that little ones don’t always brush for as long as they should. If you need a little help to encourage them, you may want to try the iTunes App Store for your iPhone or iPad or the Google Play store for Android devices.
There you can download some free apps that can provide timers for brushing, and some even guide your kids through the process. Here are few examples:
– Aquafresh Brush Time
– Brush DJ
– Chomper Chums
– Disney Magic Timer
See the dentist
The last step in maintaining your dental health is regular visits to the dentist. Your dentist or hygienist can give your teeth a professional cleaning to remove any plaque or tartar that you couldn’t get at home.
They can also recognize the early signs of tooth and gum problems. Many times, they can help fix the problems before they require more serious intervention.
We like to start seeing our youngest patients when they are 3 years old, but we hope they will continue to visit our office throughout their lives. Good dental care isn’t a one-time thing. It takes a lifetime commitment.
We want to you and your family to experience the difference that a good dental care can make in keeping your mouth healthy. Call 770-744-4619 today to schedule an appointment at Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta, or use our online form to plan a time to visit us.