Healthy Teeth

You can’t have healthy teeth without a basic knowledge of not only how teeth work, but also how to take care of them. Here is a list of questions and answers specifically to help you to maintain your healthy teeth!

1. What is plaque?

Many foods cause bacteria which, in turn, produce acids. Sugary foods, such as candy and cookies, are definitely problematic, but so are starches, such as bread, crackers and cereals. If you snack often, chances are good that the buildup of these acids, or plaque, is significant. Plaque contributes to tooth decay.

Plaque also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red and tender. Sometimes they even bleed. After awhile, the gums start to pull away from the teeth. Pockets can form and fill with even more bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed. The teeth may become loose or have to be removed. Many people are surprised to hear that gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss in adults.

2. How can I prevent tooth decay formed by plaque?

One way is to eat a balanced diet and to limit the number of snacks. If you need a snack, choose nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, or a piece of fruit. Another way is to brush and clean between your teeth every day.

3. How often should I brush?

Twice a day.

4. How long should I brush?

At least 2 minutes.

5. What sort of toothbrush should I use?

A soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth so you can reach all the areas easily.

6. How often should I replace my toothbrush?

Every 3-4 months or when the bristles appear worn.

7. What kind of toothpaste should I use?

Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.

8. What’s the best way to brush?

Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums. Move the brush back and forth gently in short, tooth-wide strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces and also the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Also, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

9. How do I clean between my teeth?

By flossing. There are many varieties of floss, and you should choose one that works for you. There are also many flossing techniques. Most people break off about 18 inches, wind it around a finger on each hand, and guide it between their teeth, using a gentle rubbing motion on each side of the tooth. Never snap the floss into the gums.

10. What if I can’t get the hang of flossing in the standard way?

You may prefer to use another kind of interdent cleaner. These aids include special brushes, picks, or sticks. You should ask us how to use these if you are unsure, so as to avoid injuring your gums.

11. There are many dental products on the market. How do I know if the products I am using are good?

Always look for the American Dental Seal of Acceptance on the label, which is an important symbol of safety and effectiveness.

12. In addition to brushing, flossing and eating a healthy diet, is there anything else I can do to maintain good dental health?

Avoid cigarettes, snuff, and chewing tobacco. They can cause cancer of the mouth. Also, do not chew hard candy or ice. Be alert to changes in your mouth. Always call us if you have red, swollen or bleeding gums.