Here at ABG Dental, it is our top priority to provide the best dental care for all of our patients. And while dental checkups twice a year are extremely important for keeping up with your oral health, for the other 363 days a year, it is your responsibility to take care of your teeth. To help you maintain a healthy smile, here are some tips for practicing good oral hygiene year-round.
When picking out a toothbrush, you should choose one with soft bristles. Dentists rarely recommended medium and firm bristle toothbrushes because they can damage your gums and strip the protective enamel from your teeth. While electric toothbrush manufacturers boast their many benefits, for most people, electric toothbrushes aren’t necessary. They are great for getting to all of the hard-to-reach places and can be especially helpful for people with physical disabilities. But, when used with the proper technique, a manual toothbrush works just fine and is significantly more affordable. No matter what toothbrush you choose, you should replace it every three as the bristles become worn and frayed. Over time, microscopic bacterial and fungal growth on your toothbrush can cause bad breath and the worn bristles remove less plaque.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each is always recommended. You should brush once in the morning after breakfast and once at night before you go to bed. You should start with the outer parts of your teeth first, brushing in small circular motions. Then, brush the tops of your teeth before moving to the insides. You should focus on one tooth at a time, to make sure you brush every tooth. Be careful not to use too much pressure or brush too often, as it can do more harm than good. According to Colgate, “You can overbrush, so make sure you are using a gentle touch when wielding your toothbrush. Overly vigorous brushing can lead to abrasion, gum recession, and sensitivity.”
Flossing is also very important. In addition to removing any pesky food particles stuck in between your teeth, flossing also removes plaque and harmful bacteria. Floss gets to all of the places between your teeth that your toothbrush simply can’t get to. All of this helps you to prevent cavities, but that’s not the only health benefit. Studies have shown that flossing helps prevent gums disease (WebMD). And since gums disease can develop into heart disease, flossing really benefits your overall physical health. Dentists recommend flossing every day. However, if you do not floss daily, please do not floss on the day of your dental appointment. You aren’t going to fool us into thinking your floss regularly and will only irritate your gums and make your mouth more sensitive for your appointment.
Choosing the right toothpaste will help you fight cavities and gums disease. Dentists will generally recommend Colgate, Crest, or Sensodyne toothpaste, depending on your specific needs. Colgate Total helps fight plaque for 12 hours and is great for fighting gingivitis. Crest Pro-Health whitens your teeth, reduces sensitivity, and helps prevent cavities and gingivitis. And Sensodyne ProNamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste is great for whitening your teeth and preventing tooth decay. There are countless options but you should always choose an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. When choosing a toothpaste, you should avoid ones that contain triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), baking soda, abrasive microbeads, and charcoal.
Tongue rings and mouth piercings should be removed before a visit to the dentist. Dentists never recommend getting these piercings as they can cause many problems for your teeth. Tongue rings have been known to cause oral complications such as gum damage, tongue swelling, and cracked teeth. According to Colgate, “When you first get your tongue pierced, you may develop a habit of bumping your jewelry against your teeth when talking or eating or even biting it. This common habit can injure your gums and lead to cracked, scratched, or sensitive teeth. It can also damage fillings. While you might wish for tongue rings or piercings that don’t damage teeth, all tongue piercings put your mouth at risk.” Any oral piercing, as well as tongue splitting, can cause nerve damage and/or bacterial infections. If left untreated these infections can be life-threatening.
Everyone should visit the dentist twice per year. At ABG Dental, our kind staff understands that treating a little one is much different than an adult. We generally treat patients at least 5 years of age and encourage parents to bring their children in for a visit so that they can become familiar with the dental chair and our team members. We want them to know that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Dental care is important throughout life because it impacts your overall health and wellness, not just your teeth. While tobacco, alcohol, and HPV are the leading causes, anyone can be at risk for oral cancer. Every year, almost 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Regular dental checkups can help you prevent and detect it early. Adults 20-40 years old should get an oral cancer screening every 3 years and those over 40 should have annual screenings.
Toothaches are common, but not normal and should be promptly addressed. You should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible if you are experiencing a toothache or other oral discomfort. Until your appointment, you can manage your pain by taking anti-inflammatory medicine, using a cold compress, and gargling saltwater. By scheduling an appointment to see your dentist at the first sign of pain or discomfort, you can prevent tooth loss and detect gums diseases early.
To make an appointment for yourself or a family member contact us at abgdental.net or at (574) 389-8300. We have been serving both English and Spanish-speaking communities of Elkhart and Goshen, IN for over 17 years. We are always here to help you have a more perfect smile.