Your part of the equation: What you need to do to keep your teeth
1. Floss properly at least once a day
Notice that I list flossing first. That’s because fluoride cannot penetrate plaque. (Plaque is the sticky white substance that builds up on your teeth. It is made of food debris, bacteria and dead skin cells) So, brushing with a great fluoride toothpaste or rinsing with a fluoride containing rinse simply doesn’t work until you have removed the plaque from in between your teeth.
2. WaterPik (unless your dentist says otherwise)
No, I do not own stock in WaterPik. These machines are simply that good. My advice is to stick with WaterPik brand and to use it at least once per day to flush toxins from around the periodontal pocket and in between the teeth. Yes, this is what your parents or grandparents were told to use in the seventies. Then, for some reason, they fell out of favor. Well, they’re back and patients who use them have the nicest looking gums I have ever seen!
These days, we’re all about getting rid of inflammation. In the mouth, Waterpik use really reduces inflammation around the gums.
Just remember three things. First, please read the directions. Second, start on a low setting and stay below 80 percent for a year or so. Third, use lukewarm water. Not hot, not cold – but lukewarm.
3. Brush Properly, 2 – 3 times a day
By properly, I mean slowly and gently, but thoroughly. Start with your upper teeth and brush cheek side of each tooth. Then brush the palate side of each tooth and finally, the biting surface of the back teeth. After that, you are ready to do the same on the lower arch.
For most people, an electric toothbrush (Sonicare or Oral B) can do a better job than an old-fashioned toothbrush.
4. Watch your sugar intake
Sugar is sneaky. It’s in everything! Or so it seems….
Every time you consume sugar, so do the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria convert it to acid and this acid eats holes in your teeth. That simple! That is how you get cavities. Also, be careful of highly acidic drinks such as colas or other sodas.
Unexpected sources of sugar include but are not limited to:
- Coffee – specialty coffees often contain syrups… syrup means sugar
- Sports drinks – yep, often a source of sugar
- Breath mints
5. Consider fluoride
Yeah, yeah… I know that many people think that fluoride is from the devil. However, just like so many other things in life, I believe it is about the amount you use. Too much fluoride is a very bad thing. So, keep fluoride-containing products away from young kids.
If you are past 18 or 19 years of age, you no longer need to swallow fluoride supplements. But, you do need to use topical fluoride on your teeth.
6. Of course, see your dentist and hygienist regularly
Do all of the above and your future dental problems should decrease greatly. Just remember that while prevention plays a very important part here, you do still need to see us. Most people need to see their dentist and hygienist twice a year. Some people can cut back to once a year but some people need to be seen three or four times per year.
It is your responsibility to remove plaque and left over food from your teeth several times a day. That is the reason for the toothbrush, floss and WaterPik. Plaque is soft and easily removed.
Tartar or dental calculus is hard and not so easily removed. That is your hygienist’s job.
If tartar is not removed regularly, it can greatly increase the occurrence of gum disease (periodontal disease) and/or dental decay (cavities).
I sincerely hope this helps,