At 24th Street Dental Biltmore, we prioritize your oral health above all else. Although we excel in cosmetic and restorative procedures, we want to emphasize the significance of good dental hygiene and preventive dentistry. Throughout his career, Dr. Donnelly has treated numerous patients with issues that could have been easily prevented. With proper education, most individuals can avoid the pitfalls of tooth decay and periodontal disease. We have provided the following information to assist you in gaining a better understanding of dental hygiene and enhancing your daily routine.
What Constitutes Good Oral Health?
In simple terms, good oral health means having a mouth that appears and smells healthy. This means having clean teeth without any food particles or dirt, as well as gums that are pink and not painful or bleeding when you floss. If your gums do hurt or bleed during brushing or flossing, you might have untreated gum disease. Additionally, persistent bad breath can be a sign of poor oral health.
When your teeth are misaligned or crowded, they can have negative effects on your oral health. It becomes more challenging to clean and take care of these teeth properly, which puts you at a higher risk for dental issues. Having straight teeth is essential for good oral health. The same goes for your bite – if it is misaligned, it can cause problems with your jaw. These issues are known as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).
The Importance of Good Dental Hygiene
It is essential to maintain proper oral hygiene to ensure healthy teeth and gums and to maintain a beautiful smile. Additionally, this helps in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. These bacteria usually form in the form of plaque, which constantly accumulates on and around our teeth. If not addressed, this plaque buildup can eventually harden into tartar, which is much more challenging to remove. In fact, tartar usually requires professional cleaning to be effectively removed.
The bacteria present in plaque and tartar are responsible for causing the most prevalent dental issues in the United States: tooth decay and periodontal disease. These bacteria thrive on the sugars and other simple carbohydrates we consume. While feeding, they release acids that attack the enamel, leading to tooth decay.
While most people are aware of the consequences of tooth decay, fewer are knowledgeable about the significant risks associated with periodontal disease. Also known as gum disease, it is an infection that specifically targets the tissues supporting our teeth, such as the alveolar bone, gingiva, and connective ligaments.
The disease can be divided into two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the most prevalent type of gum disease, characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily during oral hygiene practices. Fortunately, gingivitis can be easily treated and reversed.
However, if the disease progresses to periodontitis, some effects may be permanent. Periodontitis can lead to rapid deterioration of the underlying bone and surrounding tissues. To prevent further damage, a procedure called scaling and root planing can be performed. Nevertheless, this procedure does not restore already damaged tissues.
How Often Should I Brush and Floss?
Revised: Maintaining a clean and healthy mouth requires regular removal of plaque from your teeth and gums. A good rule to follow is to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen your tooth enamel by aiding in the remineralization process. Flossing is also important, and it is recommended to clean in between your teeth once a day using dental floss, preferably at night. If you find it difficult to use traditional floss, we may suggest using a floss pick as an alternative.
How Often Should I Brush and Floss?
A scaling and root planing procedure may require multiple appointments to complete. After the procedure, you may experience some minor discomfort or soreness. We will schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor the healing of your gums and the condition of your pockets. In most cases, the procedure is successful, and your red and swollen gum tissue will become firm and pink again.
Your periodontal pockets will also return to a healthy depth. If everything goes well, you may not require any further treatment. However, if your periodontal disease persists, you may need additional procedures such as a gum graft or a bone graft to restore deteriorated bone. Fortunately, a scaling and root planing procedure typically reduces the need for extensive surgery to restore your gums.
Proper Brushing Technique
While brushing your teeth, it’s important to remember the purpose behind it. The main goal is to effectively eliminate as much plaque as possible. Plaque, a thin layer of biofilm that consistently builds up on and around the teeth, contains detrimental bacteria responsible for eroding the enamel and causing tooth decay. By removing the plaque, you significantly decrease your likelihood of developing cavities.
- Here are some tips for brushing your teeth effectively and efficiently:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums.
- Use gentle pressure, as vigorous brushing can cause gum irritation.
- Brush the inside, outside, and top surface of every tooth using short, back-and-forth strokes.
- Don’t forget to clean your tongue and gum line to remove bacteria and reduce bad odor.
Proper Flossing Technique
While brushing your teeth is a great way to get rid of most plaque, it’s not enough to clean the spaces between your teeth. This is where flossing comes in. It’s important to floss every day because it breaks up the bacteria colonies that form along the gum line. Flossing also stimulates your gums, which helps prevent gum disease.
To correctly floss, start by pulling out approximately 18 inches of floss. Then, wrap the majority of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving a small section free. Use your index fingers to gently guide the floss between your teeth. Move the floss back and forth in a gentle motion, ensuring that the floss curves around the bottom of your teeth. Each time you move to a new tooth, use a clean section of the floss. Be cautious not to exert too much pressure as this may result in cuts or irritation.
Professional Cleanings and Regular Checkups
Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are crucial for maintaining oral health because periodontal disease often develops unnoticed and progresses slowly. It is common for patients to be unaware of their condition until they are diagnosed. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize regular check-ups to ensure early detection and effective treatment of periodontal disease.
During your appointment, Dr. Donnelly, at 24th Street Dental Biltmore, will perform a comprehensive examination of your teeth, gums, throat, and jaws. If any abnormalities are detected, we may request X-rays or additional diagnostic procedures. Even if you maintain excellent oral hygiene at home, there may be issues that are not visible or perceptible. For instance, periodontal disease and other oral health problems may not become apparent or cause discomfort until they have advanced. Regular appointments enable us to identify early signs of disease when they are more easily treatable.
Professional cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing cavities and oral diseases. Our hygienist will carefully remove plaque and tartar from your teeth during the cleaning process. In addition, we will polish your teeth to restore the natural luster of your enamel. After your visit to 24th Street Dental Biltmore, you’ll have a brighter, shinier, and healthier smile.