Brushing

Daily dental care is just as important as maintaining your routine dental appointments. Brushing morning and night for two minutes is required to properly remove plaque buildup. Depending on your diet and the spacing of your teeth, your dental professional may suggest that you increase the number of times you brush per day.

Angle the bristles toward the gum line, brush the outside surface, inside surface, and chewing surface of each tooth. Brush your tongue to prevent bad breath; the white film you find on your tongue is bacteria buildup.

Toothbrushes do have a limited life span, so, be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months and after being sick!

Flossing and Mouthwash

Flossing alone cleans 40% of the tooth surface. Flossing at least once per day helps clean areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. It can help remove plaque build-up and remaining food particles which can cause cavities and gum disease.

Using a mouth rinse (also called mouthwash) may be a helpful addition to a daily dental hygiene routine for some people.  A mouth rinse has active ingredients that kill bacteria and can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. A mouth rinse with fluoride helps prevent or reduce tooth decay.

Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious oral health condition that can damage the hard and soft tissue around the teeth.

Gum disease can range from a mild form known as gingivitis that has signs such as red, irritated gums that can bleed easily to a serious condition that causes the gums to become swollen and pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected known as periodontitis.

Healthy gums are firm, pale pink, and fit closely around teeth. If you have:

  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Tender/sore gums
  • Persistent bad breath, or
  • Difficulty flossing

Make an appointment with your dental provider as soon as you can.

Signs of Cavities

In between your routine visits to a dental provider, it is useful to perform regular visual inspections of your teeth.

  • White and brown spots on your teeth are early signs of cavities.
  • Black spots, and holes in your teeth are signs of moderate to severe tooth decay.
  • Sensitivity to foods high in sugar.
  • Pain near your ear or the bottom of your jaw

When signs of moderate to severe tooth decay are visible, it is wise to schedule a visit with your dental provider, to prevent the infection from spreading.

Signs of Recurrent Cavities or Damage to Nerve of Tooth

It is possible for new cavities to form on teeth that have previously been treated for dental decay. Signs to look out for are:

  • Pain/sensitivity to eating sugary or hot foods
  • Lingering pain for more than 10 seconds
  • A piece of filling has broken off
  • Food or floss gets caught around a filling

Signs of Grinding

If you suffer from:

  • Sore cheek muscles
  • Sore jaw
  • Sensitive teeth

…and you notice the length of your teeth shortening, you may be grinding or clenching. Let your dental provider know of these signs so that they can provide or recommend a preventive appliance to protect your teeth.