Daily dental hygiene is just as important as maintaining your routine dental appointments. Brushing every morning and night for two minutes, will help properly remove plaque buildup. Your dental provider may suggest increasing the amount of times to brush, depending on your diet and the spacing of your teeth.

Use a fluoridated toothpaste. Your dental provider can make a recommendation if you have questions about which toothpaste to use.

Be sure to angle the bristles toward the gum line, brush the outside surface, inside surface, and chewing surface of each tooth thoroughly. Brush your tongue to prevent bad breath and buildup of bacteria. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months, and after being sick.

Flossing and Mouthwash

Floss between your teeth at least once per day. Flossing alone can clean about half (40%) of the tooth surface. The area between teeth that can be cleaned by flossing, is the most frequent area where cavities begin to develop!

After consulting with your dental professional, you may also use a mouth rinse after brushing. 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.

Denture Care

  • If your dentures are loose, your dental provider may recommend denture glue to help keep them in place.
  • Take out dentures at night to let your gums ‘breathe’
  • Ensure your dentures are always clean from food and other deposits. Rinse dentures thoroughly after meals.
  • Soak dentures in water when you are not wearing them. Letting dentures dry out can alter their fit.
  • Clean dentures in a solution at least once a week, preferably with a denture brush.

Dry Mouth

Saliva production significantly decreases as we age and with use of certain medications. This condition is called dry mouth and is common among older adults. Dry mouth can be uncomfortable. You may experience a burning sensation in your mouth and altered taste. Dry mouth also increases your risk for tooth decay.

If you are experiencing dry mouth, ask your dental provider or doctor about products that might help stimulate saliva flow. Your dental provider or doctor might recommend products such as a mouth rinse, spray, toothpaste, and gel.

Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis is an infection of the soft tissues that hold your teeth in place. If left untreated, it can spread to the bones surrounding the gums, making it painful to chew. In worst case, teeth may become loose or need to be removed.

Healthy gums are firm, pale pink, and fit snugly around teeth. Signs of periodontitis include:

  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Tender/sore gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Difficulty flossing
  • Recession of the gums, (this is noted by visible space in between your teeth)
  • Tooth sensitivity when drinking cold water, and
  • Loosening of teeth

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Signs of Cavities

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

  • 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.

Teeth 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.