Your mouth and your teeth see a lot of action. Smiling, eating, smooching; the list goes on. So, you need your teeth to be at the top of their game. Here are ten things you need to know about your teeth.
1. Plaque is coating the surfaces of your teeth with bacteria right now.
Plaque is very thin so you can’t always tell just by looking or feeling. It sticks to all parts of your teeth and gums, and plaque is at the root of tooth decay and other dental disease. It builds up every day which is why it’s important to brush and floss every day.
2. Bacteria grow even faster in super dry mouths.
Saliva is an important tool for fighting cavities and keeping teeth clean. A dry mouth, sometimes caused by medication, can be very bad for your teeth. Saliva can neutralize acids and it has antibacterial properties. What can help? Drink lots of water, but you can also use saliva increasing toothpaste and mouth rinses.
3. Don’t forget to brush and floss in the morning.
Sure you brushed and flossed before you went to bed, but plaque can still coat your teeth while you are sleeping. One reason is because your mouth can become dry overnight. (See#2) Whether before or after breakfast, make sure you brush and floss.
4. You might be flossing the wrong way.
Hurray! You’re using floss. But if you are not doing it right, you are not getting the benefits of your actions. Many people quickly run the floss between their teeth and move on to the next one. Try holding the floss at an angle and wrap it around the tooth so you scrape the plaque off when you move it up and down.
5. Brushing hard can hurt your gums.
If soft is good, harder is better right? Not when it comes to brushing. Brushing too hard can wear away the surface of your gums and teeth causing more problems down the road. Always use a soft bristle tooth brush and use a circular motion when close to the gum line.
6. Get chipped teeth fixed right away.
When you chip a tooth you expose the dentin, a soft tissue that covers the root. This can lead to decay when bacteria gets inside the chipped part of the tooth.
7. Fluoride really does make a difference.
According to the American Dental Association, ingesting fluoride and using fluoride toothpaste or rinses has been proven to reduce up to 40% of tooth decay. Fluoride is naturally found in most all water sources, rivers, lakes, wells and even the oceans. For the past 70 years, fluoride has been added to public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay.
8. Teach your children well.
Ok parents, as with many things, you are the primary role model for your kids when it comes to dental care. Teach them good habits to prevent issues now and in the future.
9. Take care of your teeth, take care of your health.
Disease and bacteria that start in your mouth, can affect your overall health. Issues with your mouth can make eating difficult, which can lead to poor nutrition and all that that may bring. Some research shows a link between gum disease bacteria and heart disease.
10. See your dentist every six months for a cleaning.
Brushing and flossing every day? Great! Keep it up. But see your dentist at least once every six months for a full cleaning. Your dentist can provide a deeper cleaning and help uncover small problems before they become bigger ones. (And then you get to keep your real teeth.)
See you at your next visit!
Dr. Schlueter & Team