Dental professionals recommend getting yearly general dentistry treatments–like routine exams and dental cleanings–for optimal oral health. These treatments help keep our smiles healthy and functional, but what about other dental preventative care? What else should we be doing between dental visits to ensure a strong and beautiful smile for life?
Whether in our office or your own home, the team at Lakewood Dental Group is here to help you enhance your oral health. With comprehensive treatments in an educational atmosphere, our patients can feel confident trusting us with their smiles. Meet our team today by calling our dental office in Dallas, TX, at (214) 827-1885, or send us a quick message here.
In this post, Drs. Mihir Patel and Shaun Sigurdson reveal five tips about how to pursue dental preventative care, both in and out of our Dallas dental clinic.
1. Brush at Least Twice a Day
Brushing removes residual food debris and bacteria (collectively called ‘plaque’) from the teeth. Without daily brushing, plaque accumulates on the teeth and around the gum line. Over time, the plaque hardens, leading to solidified tartar (also known as calculus) on the teeth. Once tartar develops, patients cannot remove it on their own with brushing.
Therefore, patients must remove plaque every day to prevent the formation of tartar on the teeth and gum line as a form of dental preventative care. Otherwise, patients may develop devastating oral health conditions, like pervasive cavities, advancing gum (periodontal) disease, and, ultimately, tooth loss.
While brushing after every snack, meal, or beverage is optimal, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients brush their teeth at least twice a day.
Here are some helpful hints on how to get the most out of your tooth brushing:
- Only use soft-bristled toothbrushes: Toothbrushes with harder bristles can wear away tooth enamel prematurely, which may lead to increased sensitivity and cavities
- Get the right brush for your mouth: A toothbrush should fit well in your mouth and reach all of your teeth, including the molars.
- Replace toothbrushes often: The human mouth is teeming with bacteria (over 700 different kinds, in fact!). Subsequently, we recommend changing brushes every three to four months or after illnesses to prevent bacterial overgrowth.
- Consider an electric toothbrush: While manual brushing is good, brushing with an electric toothbrush is best. The rapidly oscillating bristles reach more crevices and remove more plaque compared to manual toothbrushes.
- Brush all tooth surfaces gently: Patients should be sure to brush all surfaces of their teeth (front, back, and chewing surfaces) with gentle, sweeping motions. Brushing too hard may result in worn tooth enamel and receding gums.
2. Use Remineralizing Toothpaste
Tooth enamel is remarkably durable, as it contains up to 96% mineral components (like calcium and phosphate). While it may be easy to think that minerals and tooth enamel are immune to damage, they are not. And, indeed, tooth enamel is one of the only bodily structures that cannot repair itself once injured.
Unfortunately, tooth enamel also naturally thins as we age due to regular wear and tear. So, if tooth enamel doesn’t erode due to accidental damage, then it erodes with time. But, remineralizing toothpastes can slow or even reverse thinning enamel.
Toothpastes that contain minerals like fluoride or hydroxyapatite effectively remineralize compromised teeth. The minerals in these toothpastes fuse to the teeth, which patches areas of weak enamel and strengthens the entire tooth structure.
As a result, dentists widely consider remineralizing toothpastes the optimal choice for excellent dental preventative care.
3. Consider Different Ways to Floss
Of course, it is always optimal to floss after every snack or meal, but the ADA recommends that patients floss their teeth at least once every day. But, what if the floss you’re using isn’t the right floss for you?
Most patients are familiar with traditional, string floss, but dental hygiene products have made splendid advancements since the floss of yesteryear. Indeed, patients have more flossing options than ever before!
From interdental flossers to waterpiks, patients have new and more comfortable ways to remove plaque between their teeth. And, with studies proving the unbelievable effectiveness and necessity of flossing, it’s more important than ever to find your preferred method of flossing.
Not sure which floss is best for your dental preventative care at home? Take a look here to view your options.
4. Consume More Probiotic Foods and Beverages
The mouth and body work in delicate harmony with each other. But, this intrinsic link between the mouth and body is subject to upheaval from outside factors, like a poor diet, illness, and harmful bacteria. Simply put–an unhealthy mouth cannot foster a healthy body, and vice versa.
Probiotic foods and drinks, however, can help keep the mouth and body in balance, leading to better oral and overall health. Our Dallas dentists recommend incorporating the following probiotic items into your diet to enhance your at-home dental preventative care:
- Plain yogurt
- Sourdough bread
- Probiotic supplements
5. Be Consistent with Dental Preventative Care
All of the aforementioned tips are only effective if patients practice them daily. Therefore, the best way to prioritize dental preventative care is to conduct it routinely. But, this is often much easier said than done.
To experience better success with dental hygiene, our dentists in Lakewood recommend creating a dental hygiene schedule. For example, patients who want to transition from brushing once a day to twice a day should set a reminder on their phones to brush at regularly-scheduled intervals.
Alternatively, patients can create a dental hygiene checklist to mark off daily. From brushing to flossing, physically ticking tasks off of a list can help keep patients on track.
But, consistent dental preventative care does not stop at the home.
Patients must visit a Dallas dentist at least once a year for routine exams and dental cleanings. These visits give patients a deeper clean than ordinary brushing and flossing, which significantly improves patients’ dental hygiene practices at home.
Schedule Dental Preventative Care in Dallas, TX
If it has been longer than a year since your last dental exam and cleaning, then it’s time to contact Lakewood Dental Group. Our gentle and effective dental preventative care treatments can help you get the luminously healthy and strong smile you deserve.
Patients can request an exam and cleaning online here, or they may call our dental office in Dallas, TX, at (214) 827-1885 for scheduling.