How to Properly Brush Your Teeth
It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time. Most people fall short when it comes to how many times a day one brushes as well as the length of time one takes to brush his or her teeth. Two full minutes might seem like a long time to do something as simple as brushing your teeth but the easiest way to hit this time is to divide your mouth into four sections (top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right) and give each section a good 30 seconds of brushing. In no time, you'll hit your two minutes and be left with a healthy and clean smile.
To properly brush your teeth, angle your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gumline of the outer surface of your teeth and while using short gentle strokes, sweep away any plaque that's build-up at the base of your teeth. Pay attention to your gumline and make sure to thoroughly brush around dental fillings, crowns and any other dental restorations. Now do the same thing but to the inner surfaces of your teeth and along the inner gumline. Next thoroughly brush the biting surfaces of your teeth again paying special attention to any dental restorations you might have to ensure they're cleaned of any plaque and food build-up. Finally brush the surface of your tongue to remove bad-breath-causing bacteria and gain that clean mouth feeling.
If you do not regularly brush your teeth, it can be common for your gums to bleed as the bacteria pockets open up and get cleaned out. Bleeding gums will go away after a very short time of regular brushing and flossing.
Don't Overdo It
You actually CAN brush your teeth too much. Brushing more than three times a day doesn't mean you'll have even cleaner teeth or even healthier gums. Brushing too much can actually damage your gums and wear down tooth enamel which can actually cause additional dental issues.
How to Floss, the Right Way
Flossing removes bits of food and any plaque build-up that is caught or stuck in the tight spaces between teeth and just below the gumline where a toothbrush cannot easily reach. Proper daily flossing combined with regular brushing is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Floss is cheap, so don't be stingy. Wind about 18 inches of floss evenly around each of your middle fingers until one to two inches of floss is left between the two finders. Using your thumbs and index fingers, firmly grip the floss and slide the floss between your teeth. Curve the floss around the base of your tooth while using a gentle up-and-down motion, remove food particles and any plaque build-up between the two teeth. Take special note to make sure the floss reaches just below the gumline to ensure proper and thorough cleaning.
Repeat this step for all of your teeth and unwind a clean section of floss between your fingers as you move between teeth.
NEVER "saw" at your gums with dental floss or force the floss between teeth as this can damage gum tissue and be extremely painful.
Fluoride for Children
Fluoride, a substance that's found naturally in water, plays an important role in healthy tooth development and cavity prevention.
Fluoride combats tooth decay in two ways:
1) It strengthens tooth enamel, a hard and shiny substance that protects the teeth, so that it can better resist the acid formed by plaque.
2) Fluoride allows teeth damaged by acid to repair, or re-mineralize, themselves.
Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that these fluoride supplements be given daily to children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The dosage will change as your child grows. Only children living in non-fluoridated areas or children who drink only non-fluoridated bottled water should receive supplements.
Most children get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements. Too much fluoride before 8 years of age can cause enamel fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the permanent teeth. This condition is unsightly but harmless and often can be treated with cosmetic procedures.
How Much Fluoride Is Too Much?
Fluoride is perfectly safe when used as directed by our dental office however there are some issues that can arise from using too much fluoride. Toxic levels of fluoride depend on person-to-person so it is important that you speak with us first before considering using a questionable amount of fluoride or if you have a child whose teeth are currently developing.
Fluorosis is a condition where exposure to too much fluoride causes defects in the tooth's enamel layer that often look like white patches or streaks across a tooth. In severe fluorosis cases, these patches or streaks can be brown in color making them a severe cosmetic concern and are often embarrassing for many people who have this condition. Fluorosis is most common in children with developing permanent teeth where fluoride levels are not properly applied and/or monitored but can become a problem to virtually anyone at any age.
If you think you have or have been told you have a mild to severe case of fluorosis, we want you to know that we can help lighten or remove the stains to teeth caused by excessive fluoride exposure. Request an appointment or call our office directly at 619-482-5555 to come in and have us take a look at your condition. In just one appointment we can significantly reduce the cosmetic blemishes of fluorosis.
Sealants are a proven way to help prevent cavities. Although sealants do not take the place of proper oral hygiene, they do prevent bacteria from getting into the deeper crevices in a tooth's biting surface and therefore keeping the tooth cavity-free.