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Couple brushing their teeth

Basic Dental Care in South Hampton Roads

Couple brushing their teeth

Good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to ensure that you have good physical health. Statistics have shown a direct correlation between good oral health and good physical health. Conversely, there’s a direct correlation between poor oral health and poor physical health that encourages the onset of serious diseases such as diabetes, dementia, and heart disease.

Avoiding these diseases may be as simple as brushing your teeth. Well, you also need to include flossing, regular dental exams, and teeth cleaning, but maintaining good oral health is one of the best ways to achieve longevity and good physical health. 

If you haven’t had a dental exam and teeth cleaning in a while, click here to schedule one.

What’s Considered Good Basic Dental Care?

According to the American Dental Association, good basic dental care should encompass the following at the minimum:

  • Brushing at least twice each day
  • Flossing once each day
  • Using toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Getting annual dental checkups and teeth cleanings

Of course, more of any of these helps, but the above are the minimum guidelines published by the ADA.

Is Brushing Twice Daily Effective?

Brushing twice daily is the absolute minimum for good oral hygiene. Ideally, you should brush and floss after each meal or snack to remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth and between your teeth.

After you eat or drink anything, food particles and bacteria remain on your teeth. If they’re not removed through brushing and flossing, the bacteria begin to attack your tooth enamel and cause decay. Also, if the food particles aren’t removed from between your teeth, they harden and become plaque, which is a very tough substance that can only be removed by a dentist. When plaque remains on your teeth, it causes inflammation, and that’s the first stage of gum disease. Brushing and flossing just before bedtime is the best way to remove the bacteria and food particles from your teeth, so they don’t remain on your teeth overnight.

When you brush, be sure to spend at least 30 seconds in each quadrant using gentle pressure, a circular motion, and a back-and-forth stroke. Your brushing regimen should last two full minutes. If it doesn’t, brush some more. The quadrants of your mouth are as follows:

  • The upper right side of your jaw
  • The lower right side of your jaw
  • The upper left side of your jaw
  • The lower left side of your jaw

The order in which you brush doesn’t matter as long as you brush all four quadrants for at least 30 seconds each. Remember to brush your tongue also. Although many people don’t, your tongue can harbor millions of bacteria on its rough surface, and brushing can remove many of them.

Make sure to use the correct toothbrush. Unless your dentist recommends otherwise, you should use an appropriately-sized toothbrush with soft bristles of uneven lengths. This enables your toothbrush to reach the maximum area during your brushing procedure. The longer bristles act similarly to floss, while the shorter bristles can thoroughly clean the surfaces of your teeth. Remember to use gentle pressure. Using firmer pressure and faster motions doesn’t work any better – in fact, it doesn’t work as well – and it can cause striations in your tooth enamel.

Replace your toothbrush every three months or more often if you’ve been sick and recovered or if your toothbrush bristles start to deteriorate or splay.

Is Using Fluoridated Toothpaste Beneficial?

Fluoride began to be added to toothpaste in the 1950’s as an experiment. When the level of cavities began to decline, it became industry practice. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and discourages the onset of decay. However, most municipalities now fluoridate their water supply, so some individuals are concerned about getting too much fluoride in their bodies. This doesn’t usually happen. However, over fluoridation has symptoms, so if you’re concerned about it, ask your South Hampton Roads dentist.

Is Flossing Daily Beneficial?

Other than brushing, flossing is one of the most important activities that should be in your oral hygiene regimen. Whether you prefer a water flosser, traditional dental floss, or floss picks, flossing removes the food particles between your teeth and deters the formation of plaque and gum disease.

Even if you’re able to floss during the day, you should floss just before you go to bed and don’t eat anything after flossing. This ensures that no food particles remain between your teeth during the night and provides a good defense against plaque and gingivitis.

What Are Some Basic Dental Care Tips?

Mouthwash is an excellent addition to your basic dental care routine. The flavor doesn’t matter, and either the regular or non-alcoholic formulas will work well. This is strictly a personal preference. However, a mouthwash can remove bacterial residue that brushing and flossing missed and provide you with the freshest breath possible.

Your dietary habits can also impact your dental health. For example, rather than snacking on junk food with high sugar content and no nutritional value, consider snacking on fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Their crunchy texture will help clear your mouth of food particles, while the increased nutrition will make your body healthier. Drink plain water rather than sugary sodas or sports drinks. More than half of your body is comprised of water, so drinking water will help maintain your body’s health.

What Are Good On-the-Go Tips?

If you spend much of your time on the road or away from home, it might be convenient to assemble a dental to-go kit that includes travel-sized versions of your favorite dental products. That way, no matter where you are, you can have good dental hygiene. However, if you’re in a situation where brushing and flossing aren’t feasible, then rinse your mouth well with plain water and resume your dental routine when it’s convenient.

What Are Good Prevention Habits?

Your best dental prevention habit is an annual dental checkup and teeth cleaning. Your dentist can be your staunchest ally in the war on tooth decay and gum disease if you let them. Even if you have an excellent oral hygiene routine, you can have a disease without being aware of it, such as oral cancer, for instance. Oral cancer presents asymptomatically, and by the time you’re aware of it, it has spread. Your dentist can spot issues while they’re minor and address them before they escalate.

We recommend that all our patients get screened for oral cancer during their annual exams. The screening is non-invasive and painless, but the incidence of oral cancer is quickly rising and now accounts for more than three percent of all new cancer diagnoses.

Ready for a healthy mouth? Click here to schedule your cleaning and exam!

We Can Help You

If you need to schedule a dental exam and teeth cleaning, a screening for oral cancer, or any other dental procedure, then call Konikoff Dental Associates at , and we can help you. We’re among the best in the area, and our patients’ well-being is our only priority, so we’re sure you’ll be happy with the service you receive.

Call us today. You’ll be glad you did.

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