3 Things Your Dentist Wants You To Know

Posted on: 1 May 2018

From brushing and flossing to eating a well-balanced diet and scheduling routine exams, maintaining the look and underlying health of your smile can be overwhelming at times. However, having a healthy and appealing smile is not only beneficial to your physical health, but it also benefits your emotional well-being and self-esteem. Thankfully, dentists are available to help improve and maintain your mouth, teeth, and gum tissue. Here are a few things your dentist wants you to know.

They Know You Don't Actually Floss

During a routine exam, your dentist will most likely ask you if you are flossing as recommended, but they actually already know the answer just by looking at your teeth and gums.

Flossing is essential for removing food, bacteria, and plaque from in between, under, and behind your teeth, since your toothbrush is not capable of reaching these hidden trouble areas. If left in place, this residue and buildup can lead to stains, cavities and decay, and even periodontal disease that causes pain and even the loss of one or more teeth.

Fortunately, flossing every time you brush is not necessary. Most experts believe you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time, but flossing just once per day is sufficient. You can choose from traditional flossing string or flossing tools/picks that are capable of removing food and residue from your teeth and gums.

New Toothbrushes Are Provided for a Reason

Many dentists provide their patients with a goodie bag at the end of their appointment. This parting gift is filled with items you need to maintain your oral health, such as toothpaste, floss, and even a new toothbrush. In many cases, the items are thrown into the bathroom drawer without giving it much thought. However, the items are provided for a reason.

Most people are surprised to  learn they should replace their toothbrush every 3 or 4 months. This recommendation is based on the fact that an enormous amount of bacteria builds up on the toothbrush in a short period of time. Continuing to brush your teeth with an old, worn toothbrush will increase your risk of plaque and gum disease.

Of course, your toothbrush may even show signs of distress. If the bristles are discolored, frayed, or bent, the toothbrush needs to be replaced. These dirty, haphazard bristles will not be able to remove food and bacteria from the teeth. In addition, brushing with a worn toothbrush can irritate and damage the gum tissue, causing bleeding, pain, and infections.

Dental Cleanings Are Necessary in Addition to Brushing

Another fact your dentist wants you to know is that professional cleanings are necessary even if your brush and floss properly.

These cleanings usually occur during your routine exams. After a complete inspection of the mouth, teeth, and gums, the hygienist uses a specialized tool to scale away plaque and tartar before brushing the teeth with a high-powered electric brush. This removes food residue, surface stains, and heavy buildup of plaque and tartar. Then, the teeth are flossed in a detailed manner.

The flossing may cause some slight bleeding, since your gum tissue may not be accustomed to the detailed care. You will then be asked to rinse out the mouth, ridding it of blood, residue, and leftover toothpaste.

Finally, fluoride is applied to the surface of the teeth. Fluoride protects the tooth by creating a strong layer or barrier over the tooth enamel, reducing your risk of stains, decay, and cavities.

You may feel you are brushing and flossing sufficiently, but most dental professionals recommend detailed cleanings twice a year.

Your oral health should be a priority. This guide will teach you a few things your dentist wants you to know about flossing, your toothbrush, and dental cleanings so you can enjoy a healthy and appealing smile. Talk to a dentist at offices like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock for more tips.