Proper oral hygiene combined with professional dental care is the best way to achieve optimal dental health. When you take care of your teeth and see your dentist for teeth cleaning on a recommended schedule, you can keep your teeth healthy and in place for your lifetime.
What is the recommended schedule for brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist? Here are the recommendations from dental professionals.
Brushing Your Teeth
Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Usually once in the morning and once at night before going to bed is enough. However, if you are at a higher risk of tooth decay or gum disease for any reason, it may help to brush after each meal. Removing food particles from your teeth and gums is the first step in preventing the buildup of tartar and plaque. Bacteria feed on these, which leads to cavities and gum disease.
Is it possible to brush too much? Believe it or not, yes. There are negative consequences to brushing your teeth too frequently. Brushing excessively can wear away the enamel on your teeth, which weakens them, causes sensitivity, and increases the chances of developing cavities. Brushing too frequently can also damage your gums, causing them to become irritated, inflamed, and start to recede (pull away from the teeth). Avoid brushing more than 3 times a day.
Flossing Your Teeth
Most dentists recommend flossing your teeth once a day. Flossing removes food particles, tartar, and plaque from between your teeth and below the gum line. The area between your teeth, especially the back molars, is a prime spot for food to get stuck, which then turns into tartar and plaque. That feeds the bacteria in your mouth that can eventually cause cavities.
Flossing also strengthens your gums, making them more resilient to irritation and gum disease. Gums are less likely to recede when you are flossing daily. Since your gums hold your teeth in place, if they start to pull away your teeth can become loose. Severe gum recession can even lead to the loss of teeth.
As with brushing, flossing your teeth too much may damage your gums, so stick with a once a day schedule.
Visiting the Dentist
The recommended schedule for regular dental cleanings is every 6 months. Most dental insurance plans cover two dental appointments for teeth cleaning each year. A routine teeth cleaning at the dentist’s office usually includes a thorough oral examination, removal of plaque, teeth polishing, flossing, and sometimes X-Rays. X-Rays of teeth are typically done only once a year, which is usually covered by dental insurance plans. The purpose of taking x-ray images is to identify cavities as well as to see below the gum line for any root issues.
For some patients who are at a higher risk for oral health issues, the dentist may recommend that you have your teeth examined and cleaned more often. If you need any restorative procedures, such as cavity fillings, root canals, or crowns, you may have to go to the dentist between your scheduled cleanings to have those done. But once the procedure is complete you can usually resume your regular schedule.
Stay on Schedule With Savannah Dental Solutions
Maintaining good dental health is much easier when you follow the recommended oral hygiene and teeth cleaning schedules. Whether you’re in need of a children’s dentist or one for the whole family, Savannah Dental Solutions is accepting new patients and welcoming former patients back. If you’ve let your dental care lapse due to lack of insurance or other reasons, we are glad to welcome you and help you restore and maintain your dental health. Whether or not you have insurance, we offer payment options to make your dental care more affordable.
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you at Savannah Dental Solutions.
If you’re typical, you probably brush your teeth at least twice a day (once in the morning and once before you go to bed.) You probably know you should be flossing your teeth regularly, too … but if you’re honest you’ll probably admit you don’t do it nearly as often as you should. In fact, statistics indicate that almost 80 percent of people fail to floss.
Flossing takes time. It can also be uncomfortable or even painful (which actually means you should be doing it more often.) If you understand exactly why dentists recommend flossing your teeth once a day and how to floss the right way, you’ll be more likely to fit this important step into your daily routine.
Why Dentists Recommend You Floss Your Teeth Daily
Flossing is the term dentists use to refer to the act of cleaning between the surfaces of the teeth using dental floss. Dentists recommend that people floss their teeth regularly (in addition to brushing their teeth regularly) because flossing has repeatedly been shown to improve oral health and prevent cavities and gum disease. Brushing your teeth removes plaque and decay-causing material from the tooth surfaces the toothbrush bristles can reach.
Flossing removes plaque and decay-causing materials from the crevasses between the teeth that toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If these materials are not removed, they degrade and turn into microbes that cause cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
Compelling Research Proves the Benefits of Flossing
For a study published in a 2008 issue of the Journal Periodontal, researchers at New York University studied 51 pairs of twins between the ages of 12 and 21 to assess the effects of flossing on oral health. Half of the twins participated in a regimen of tongue brushing and tooth brushing. The other half of the twins participated in a regimen of tongue brushing, tooth brushing, and flossing. Researchers collected samples from participants to assess how prevalent 26 plaque-causing microbe species were in the mouths of each participant before the study began and after the study ended.
The results were conclusive: the group that did not floss as part of its oral-hygiene regimen had “overabundant” amounts of cavity- and periodontal-disease causing microbes in their mouths. Researchers concluded that twins who flossed for 2 weeks reduced the amount of microbes associated with oral disease.
How to Floss Properly
Dentists agree and research backs up the fact that flossing is an important step in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Why do so many people forego this step? One reason is that they’re flossing incorrectly, thus causing themselves pain and discomfort that leads them to eventually skip this important step altogether.
Choose the right type of dental floss. If your gums are sensitive, choose a waxed or single-filament floss that will slide easily between the teeth without shredding.
Choose the right amount of dental floss. Ideally, cut an 18-inch or so length of floss for each flossing session.
Employ proper flossing technique. Wind most of the dental floss around the middle fingers of each hand (divided equally between the left and the right hand). You should have about an inch or two left to work between your teeth.
Firmly grip the inch or two of floss between your thumbs and index fingers. Gently and slowly work it between teeth in a vertical motion. Curve the dental floss around the bottom of each tooth, gently slipping it beneath the gumline to lift out debris. As you move from one tooth to the next, release more floss from your middle fingers so each tooth segment uses a clean section of floss.
After you have gently and thoroughly flossed between all teeth, discard the dental floss. Gently rinse your mouth with lukewarm water, swish, and spit. This will remove any residual food particles and microbes from your mouth.
If you can’t floss, use a floss alternative. Life is unpredictable and busy, and there will definitely be times when it’s not convenient or possible to perform a “textbook floss.” In these situations, you can improvise.
- • Flossing picks or sticks are not as effective as dental floss but are acceptable in a pinch.
- • Sugar-free gum chewed for 20 minutes after a meal will help dislodge decay and encourage saliva production.
- • Last but not least, swish water forcibly between your teeth to clear away food particles, then spit out the water.
We’re all born with one set of permanent teeth. When they’re gone, they’re gone! Flossing regularly is one of the most effective ways to ensure the health of your teeth and gums, and ensure your natural pearly whites will last and serve you well as long as possible.
Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.