Do you take good care of your teeth or could your oral hygiene routine benefit from a little TLC? Silver Spring, MD, comprehensive family dentist, Dr. Alice Charland Bassford, explains how preventive care will keep your smile healthy.
A strong oral hygiene routine reduces your cavity risk
There's no way to avoid plaque. The sticky film constantly forms on your teeth during the day and night. Although plaque can make your teeth feel a little rough, that uncomfortable feeling isn't the only drawback of plaque. The film contains bacteria, which contributes to tooth decay. If you eat a handful of chips or indulge in a candy bar, the bacteria interacts with sugars in those foods and produces strong acids capable of creating cavities.
Brushing your teeth removes the bacterial film, reducing your tooth decay risk. Getting rid of plaque prevents it from turning into tartar. Tartar, a very hard deposit, is responsible for gum disease. These tips can help reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease:
- Brush Twice a Day: Brushing in the morning and evening helps keep plaque from damaging your teeth. Worried that you'll miss some spots? Brush for at least two minutes.
- Floss Once a Day: Flossing removes plaque that forms between your teeth. Use a gentle up-and-down motion when you floss, and be sure to clean around the base of your teeth, too.
- Brush Your Tongue: Bacteria doesn't just form on your teeth, but also grows on your tongue. Brushing your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper will get rid of it before it can transfer to your teeth.
- Use Mouthwash for Additional Protection: Rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash offers an additional layer of protection for your teeth.
- Stay Away from Sticky Candy: Caramels, gummy worms and other sticky candies expose your teeth to sugar for long periods, increasing your tooth decay risk. Long after you finish that gummy worm, tiny pieces may still remain on your teeth.
Regular dental visits are essential
One of the best ways to protect your smile is with twice yearly visits to our Silver Spring office. During your visit, plaque and tartar will be removed with a thorough dental cleaning. Regular visits also include examinations of your teeth, mouth, jaw and neck, and a fluoride varnish application and oral cancer screening. We will also discuss your health and how your mouth/gums may be affecting your Systemic Health and screen for Sleep Apnea using a simple 8 question interview. Sometimes, no matter how carefully you care for your teeth, cavities can still occur. Luckily, prompt treatment will mean you'll only need a small filling (Bonding).
Has it been a while since you've seen the dentist? Call Silver Spring, MD, comprehensive family dentist Dr. Bassford at (301) 593-5500 to schedule your visit.