Do you ever feel like you don’t know enough about your oral health and hygiene practices? If so, then you’re not alone. Plenty of patients come to our general dentistry clinic wanting to learn more about oral health. So, if this sounds like you, then stick around. Our Dallas, Texas, dentist will tell you everything you need and want to know about oral health and hygiene.
Before we dive into this blog, let us ask you a quick question: Have you used all of your dental insurance benefits this year? If not, then get the most out of your plan by scheduling an appointment at Lakewood Dental Group today. New patient? No problem! All patients can contact our Dallas dentists here, or they may call (214) 827-1885 to get started.
Now, back to your oral health and hygiene FAQs. In this blog post, we have our trusted Dallas, Texas, dentist demystify general dental care to help you get your healthiest smile yet!
How often should I brush my teeth?
Ideally, we should be brushing after every snack, meal, or beverage (excluding water). But, that is much easier said than done. Many of us just do not have the time to brush after every sneaked treat!
So, the American Dental Association (ADA) considered this while constructing its current guidelines. They found that the minimum requirement for appropriately removing plaque on the teeth and around the gums is, at the very least, twice-daily brushing.
They also recommend brushing for two minutes each time, and using an ADA-approved toothbrush with soft bristles (always avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes).
Our Dallas, Texas, dentist recommends brushing once upon waking and once before bed. Brushing in the morning helps remove plaque that may have formed overnight, and it freshens your breath for the day. Brushing before bed helps remove plaque that forms during the day, and reduces the amount of plaque that accumulates while we sleep.
Please note: If you wear orthodontia (like braces or Invisalign®), then your brushing standards may be slightly different. Patients with traditional braces should brush to remove food debris from their brackets and archwires after eating. Similarly, patients with clear aligners should always brush their teeth after eating and before reinserting their trays.
Is chewing gum bad for my teeth?
It depends. Sugar-containing chewing gum isn’t exactly a smile-friendly option. The sugar in the gum sits on the teeth, which fuels cavity-causing bacteria. So, if you’re looking for healthier ways to increase saliva production or stave-off hunger pangs, then skip sugary gums and mints.
However, sugar-free chewing gum may be an easy way for you to keep your smile clean and free from cavity-causing bacteria. Recent research suggests that some artificial sweeteners in chewing gums, like xylitol, may inhibit the growth of certain oral bacteria.
Moreover, gum can squish into tiny crevices, which can help draw out food debris between the teeth. So, if you’re looking for easy ways to keep your smile healthy and clean, then reach for the sugar-free gums and mints during your next shopping trip!
How do I brush my tongue?
Believe it or not, our tongues can collect plaque just like our teeth. But, many of us frequently neglect to brush or scrape our tongues when we conduct daily oral hygiene. This means that we may be leaving behind millions of disease-causing bacteria, even after thoroughly brushing our teeth.
While it is acceptable to use the same toothbrush that you use to brush your teeth on your tongue, you may want to use a separate tool. Using a toothbrush on your tongue and then your teeth may deposit bacteria into periodontal pockets, eventually leading to gum disease.
A tongue scraper is a specialized tool that removes plaque on the tongue without accidentally transferring it to the teeth and gums. Just be sure to go as far back on your tongue as you can. Odor-causing bacteria love to inhabit this hard-to-reach area of the tongue.
Does mouthwash really work?
Well, it depends on which mouthwash you use and which oral health issues you’re trying to manage. Simply put–make sure you’re using a mouthwash that suits your needs the best.
For example, if you want to address tooth sensitivity, then consider a fluoride-containing mouthwash. Other mouthwashes may eliminate bacteria, but they may not strengthen thinning tooth enamel as fluoride-containing blends do.
Similarly, if you want to address xerostomia (chronic dry mouth), then you may not be able to find a store-bought mouthwash strong enough to help. Instead, you may need a prescription-strength mouthwash to get lasting relief.
Many mouthwashes work as intended. But, if you don’t choose the right one for your needs, then you may not see any improvements. Ask our Dallas, Texas, dentist about which mouthwashes might be right for you at your next dental check-up.
If I don’t care about discoloration, then why should I stop smoking?
By now, we all know that tobacco products (including smokeless tobacco products) can yellow our pearly-white teeth. For some of us, discoloration is a big issue. For others, not so much.
But, even if you don’t mind having a slightly yellow smile, there are far more reasons to stop using tobacco products besides cosmetic motives.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that tobacco use is the top, preventable cause of cancer and cancer-related deaths, including:
- Oral cancers
- Throat and esophageal cancers
- Lung cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Kidney and pancreas cancers
- Liver cancer
- Urogenital cancers
- Colorectal cancers
Experts believe that tobacco products may be responsible for over a million cancer deaths since 1990. But, sadly, this number actually may be much, much higher. So, if yellow teeth don’t bother you, then stop using tobacco products so that you can live a long, healthy life. Your loved ones will thank you!
Have more questions? Ask our Dallas, Texas, dentist!
Want to ask more questions or meet our friendly team? Contact Lakewood Dental Group today to schedule an appointment with our Dallas, Texas, dentist. You can submit an appointment request here, or you can call us at (214) 827-1885 to get started.