Q & A on Tooth Decay
The basics are widely known: brush your teeth twice a day; floss at least once; and use fluoride mouthwash at least once as well. But despite wide spread knowledge of these oral health staples, dental caries is still a national epidemic. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, at least 92% of adults aged between 20 and 64 have had dental caries in their permanent teeth at some point.
So in this post, we’ll take oral health knowledge to the next level by adding details to the known oral health tenants of brushing, flossing, and mouthwash use.
Brush Twice a Day, But When?
Brushing too soon after a meal can actually cause more damage to your enamel. When sugars and/or acids damage enamel, they remove its minerals and make it soft. Enamel can re-mineralize itself given time and a fluoride boost (from a rinse with regular tap water for example). If you brush too soon after a meal, however, you may brush away the prone enamel and reduce the success of the re-hardening.
So when is the best time to brush? Recent research indicates you should wait for 30 minutes to an hour after drinking soda or eating a meal before brushing.
True or False: I Brush, Floss, and Use Mouthwash So I Can Skip a Check-Up
Patently false! The American Dental Association recommends 2 to 4 visits per year, depending on your particular dental health. The reason for this recommendation is because a professional dental cleaning can reach areas of the mouth your routine may miss. This is especially true for the back teeth, which have uneven surfaces that are hard to clean all the way through.
By skipping a check-up, you may be letting plaque sit in these crevices and eat away your enamel. This can cause cavities and periodontitis, the first stage of gum disease. So while skipping an appointment may seem like a good idea at the time, keeping the schedule is a wise investment and actually helps you save money (and your teeth!).
I Floss, but My Gums Still Bleed. Why?
The key to successful flossing is technique. Many people hurry through the process, which hurts its effectiveness.
So what is the right way to floss? Here is the Academy of General Dentistry’s detailed procedure:
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
- Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
What Type of Mouthwash Should I Use?
A mouthwash that contains fluoride will give your teeth the most benefits. It helps prevent decay, especially around older dental restorations that may no longer be perfectly sealed. Fluoride also helps protect the softer roots of teeth that are exposed when there is gum recession. Sensitivity is also reduced. Fluoride also protects against the tendency toward decay when “dry mouth” is present.
Contact Us for More Tips
We have plenty more oral health tips for our Jacksonville community. If you’re worried about the effectiveness of your routine, Contact our office, message us on Facebook, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment. We’ll be happy to help!