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Taking Care Of Your Teeth


Registered on 2017. 09. 28
Taking Care Of your Teeth

Teeth for a Lifetime

Thanks to better at-home care and in-office dental treatments, more people than ever before are keeping their teeth throughout their lives. Although some diseases and conditions can make dental disease and tooth loss more likely, most of us have a good deal of control over whether we keep our teeth into old age.

The most important thing you can do to maintain good oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly.

Most mouth woes are caused by plaque, that sticky layer of microorganisms, food particles and other organic matter that forms on your teeth. Bacteria in plaque produce acids that cause cavities. Plaque also leads to periodontal (gum) disease, a potentially serious infection that can erode bone and destroy the tissues surrounding teeth.

The best defense is to remove plaque daily before it has a chance to build up and cause problems. Brushing removes plaque from the large surfaces of the teeth and, if done correctly, from just under the gums. Flossing removes plaque between teeth.


Brushing

Most of us learned to brush our teeth when we were children and have kept the same technique throughout our lives. Unfortunately, many of us learned the wrong way. Even if we learned the correct method, it's easy to become sloppy over the years. Brushing correctly isn't instinctive. Getting the bristles to remove plaque without damaging your gums is a little trickier than you might think.

There are different ways to brush teeth, and your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the method that he or she feels would be best for you. The modified Bass technique is among the most popular for adults and is very effective in removing plaque above and just below the gum line. Children, however, may find it difficult to move the toothbrush this way. A dentist or dental hygienist can explain to your child the best way to brush. Parents should supervise their children's oral hygiene until age 9 or 10.

Here are a few general pointers about brushing:

  • Brush at least twice a day: Many oral health professionals recommend brushing just before going to bed. When you sleep, saliva decreases, leaving the teeth more vulnerable to bacterial acids. Teeth should also be brushed in the morning, either before or after breakfast, depending on your schedule. After breakfast is ideal so food particles are removed. But if you eat in your car, at work or skip breakfast entirely, make sure you brush in the morning to get rid of the plaque that built up overnight.
  • Brush no more than three times a day: Brushing after lunch will give you a good mid-day cleaning. Remember, though, that brushing too often can cause gums to recede over time. Brush lightly —Brushing too hard can cause gums to recede. Plaque attaches to teeth like jam sticks to a wooden spoon. It can't be totally removed by rinsing, but just a light brushing will do the trick. Once plaque has hardened into calculus (tartar), brushing can't remove it, so brushing harder won't help. Try holding your toothbrush the same way you hold a pen. This encourages a lighter stroke.
  • Brush for at least two minutes: Set a timer if you have to, but don't skimp on brushing time. Longer is fine, but two minutes is the minimum time needed to adequately clean all your teeth. Many people brush for the length of a song on the radio. That acts as a good reminder to brush each tooth thoroughly.
  • Have a standard routine for brushing: Try to brush your teeth in the same order every day. Some oral health professionals feel that this helps patients remember to brush all areas of their mouths. If you do this routinely, it eventually will become second nature. For example, brush the outer sides of your teeth from left to right across the top then move to the inside and brush rights to left. Repeat the pattern for your lower teeth.
  • Always use a toothbrush with "soft" or "extra soft" bristles: The harder the brush, the greater the risk of harming gum tissue.
  • Change your toothbrush regularly: As soon as the bristles begin to splay, the toothbrush loses its ability to clean properly. Throw away your old toothbrush after three months or when the bristles flare, whichever comes first. If you find your bristles flaring much sooner than three months, you may be brushing too hard. Try easing up.
  • Electric is fine, but not always necessary: Electric or power-assisted toothbrushes are a fine alternative to manual brushes. They are especially useful for people who are less than diligent about proper brushing technique or for people with physical limitations that make brushing difficult. As with manual brushes, choose soft bristles, brush for at least two minutes and don't press too hard or you'll damage your gums.
  • Choose the right toothpaste for you: It can be overwhelming to face the huge number of toothpaste choices in the average supermarket. Remember, the best toothpaste for you may not be the best toothpaste for someone else.


Toothpastes don't merely clean teeth anymore. Different types have special ingredients for preventing decay, plaque control, tartar control, whitening, gum care or desensitizing teeth.

Most toothpastes on the market today contain fluoride, which has been proven to prevent, stop or even reverse the decay process. Tartar-control toothpastes are useful for people who tend to build up tartar quickly, while someone who gets tooth stains may want a whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes will remove only surface stains, such as those caused by smoking, tea or coffee. To whiten teeth that are stained at a deeper level, talk with your dentist.

Your needs will likely change as you get older, so don't be surprised if your hygienist recommends a type of toothpaste you haven't used before. Look for the ADA seal of approval, which assures that the toothpaste has met the standards set by the American Dental Association. Once these conditions are met, choose the toothpaste that tastes and feels best. Gel or paste, wintergreen or spearmint — these work alike, so let personal preference guide your decision.

Some people find that some toothpaste ingredients irritate their teeth, cheeks or lips. If your teeth have become more sensitive or your mouth is irritated after brushing, try changing toothpastes. If the problem continues, see your dentist.


Flossing

Many people never learned to floss as children. But flossing is critical to healthy gums and it's never too late to start. A common rule of thumb says that any difficult new habit becomes second nature after only three weeks. If you have difficulty figuring out what to do, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to give you a personal lesson.

Here are a few general pointers about flossing:

  • Floss once a day: Although there is no research to recommend an optimum number of times to floss, most dentists recommend a thorough flossing at least once a day. If you tend to get food trapped between teeth, flossing more often can help remove it.
  • Take your time: Flossing requires a certain amount of dexterity and thought. Don't rush.
  • Choose your own time: Although most people find that just before bed is an ideal time, many oral health professionals recommend flossing any time that is most convenient to ensure that you will continue to floss regularly. Choose a time during the day when you can floss without haste.
  • Don't skimp on the floss: Use as much as you need to clean both sides of every tooth with a fresh section of floss. In fact, you may need to floss one tooth several times (using fresh sections of floss) to remove all the food debris. Although there has been no research, some professionals think reusing sections of floss may redistribute bacteria pulled off one tooth onto another tooth.
  • Choose the type that works best for you: There are many different types of floss: waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, ribbon and thread. Try different varieties before settling on one. People with teeth that are closely spaced will find that waxed floss slides more easily into the tight space. There are tougher shred-resistant varieties that work well for people with rough edges that tend to catch and rip floss.


If you have any further questions regarding keeping your teeth healthy, please contact our dentist today!


List of Articles

Periodontal Disease: Causes and Prevention imagefile

  • Oct 01, 2018

What Is It? Periodontitis is a term used to describe a group of conditions that involves inflammation of the gums and other structures that support the teeth. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria found in dental plaque and often, but not always, starts as gingivitis. In trying to eliminate the bacterial infection, your body produces substances that destroy the structures that hold the teeth in the jaw, including ...
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Toothbrush Care and Replacement image

  • Feb 23, 2018

How can I take care of my toothbrush? To keep your toothbrush and yourself healthy, make sure you let it dry out between uses. Toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for germs, fungus and bacteria, which after a while can build up to significant levels. After using your toothbrush, shake it vigorously under tap water and store it in an upright position so that it can air out. To prevent cold and flu viruses from b...
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  • Nov 28, 2017

Dental implants have been used successfully for many years. Your implant should last for a very long time if you take the following points to heart. Smoking This is one of the greatest risks for implant-related complications. You should therefore try to quit smoking. Oral Hygiene Thoroughly cleaning and caring for the implant during all steps of the treatment is extremely important. Careful attention to your oral hygie...
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Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed? image

  • Nov 10, 2017

Jennifer Flach was a college junior when her wisdom teeth started making themselves known. "My other teeth started moving around," she remembers. "The wisdom teeth were pushing out and undoing some of the orthodontic work I had done in high school." At the same time, her brother — who's two years younger and was also in college — had no symptoms. But the family dentist suggested his wisdom teeth should come out ...
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Taking Care Of Your Teeth image

  • Sep 28, 2017

Teeth for a Lifetime Thanks to better at-home care and in-office dental treatments, more people than ever before are keeping their teeth throughout their lives. Although some diseases and conditions can make dental disease and tooth loss more likely, most of us have a good deal of control over whether we keep our teeth into old age. The most important thing you can do to maintain good oral health is to brush ...
Read more

Severe Tooth Pain imagefile

  • Sep 05, 2017

Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. In some cases, however, the cause of severe dental pain is not obvious. For example, pain that comes on suddenly may be caused by particles of food that got lodged in a cavity and have started to irritate the nerve inside the tooth. If you lose a filling or a crown, the nerve inside the tooth may be exposed, and you may feel severe pain when air...
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Keys to Controlling Bad Breath imagefile

  • Aug 02, 2017

If you’re serious about learning what’s causing your bad breath, consider scheduling an appointment with your dental professional. Given your full medical and dental history along with an oral examination, your dentist should be able to identify the culprit. The causes of bad breath are numerous and include certain foods, alcohol or cigarettes, poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, diabetes, dry mouth, sinus or ...
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Diastemas and Treatment Options imagefile

  • Feb 28, 2017

What is a Diastema and How do I Treat It? A diastema is an area of extra space between two or more teeth. The two front teeth of the upper jaw area is where diastema is most frequently seen. Many children experience diastema as primary teeth fall out, though in most cases these spaces close when the permanent teeth erupt. Diastemas may also be caused by a tooth size discrepancy, missing teeth or an oversized...
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The Import Reasons for Mouth Guards imagefile

  • Jan 23, 2017

A mouth guard is a soft plastic or laminate device used in sports to prevent oral injuries to the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. The American Dental Association projects that one third of all dental injuries are sports related. The use of a mouth guard can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year. The types of dental injuries that can occur without the use of a mouth guard are chip...
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What Is Fluorosis? imagefile

  • Jan 02, 2017

Your permanent teeth form under your gums in the jawbone during early childhood. Except for your wisdom teeth, the crowns (the part you see in the mouth) of all of the permanent teeth fully form by the time you are about 8 years old. If you consume too much fluoride as a young child, the extra fluoride can disrupt the formation of the enamel (outer part) of your permanent teeth and lead to fluorosis, which...
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Paul Kim, DDS. is a Federal Way Dentist providing dental implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, ClearCorrect®, dental surgery, and emergency dentistry as well as cosmetic dentistry for years.

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