July 27, 2016
We assume that all our patients want to keep their teeth for as long as possible, preferably for their entire lives.
You can improve your chances of doing that by following some simple steps that will help you maintain your smile. The American Dental Association recommends doing three things as part of your dental health routine.
These includes your at-home oral hygiene routine and regular visits to the dentist. If you live in or near Fairfax, VA, we welcome you to visit Laura Y. Ki, DDS, PC, for your routine dental cleanings and examinations.
Today, we will be reviewing the ADA recommendations and explaining why each step is important for you and your healthy mouth.
Step One — Brushing Your Teeth
The first step is one that most people are already doing. Brushing your teeth is good for your oral health, and it helps to freshen your breath.
Even if you are brushing regularly, it’s worth reviewing the ADA’s guidelines on the proper way to brush.
You need to make sure you have two things, a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride. You should use these tools twice a day for two minutes at a time.
When you brush, add a squeeze of toothpaste about the size of the pea. That’s really all you need to clean your whole mouth. As you brush, be sure to scrub your teeth on all sides to remove as many bacteria and as much plaque as you can.
When you are finished, brush your tongue and spit out the toothpaste.
If you are doing this, you are off to a good start as far as your oral health is concerned, but you still have more to go before you reach the finish line.
Step Two — Flossing
When your brush, you clean most of the surface of your teeth. That’s is great, but you are still missing the spaces between each of your teeth and below your gumline.
This is why the ADA recommends flossing your teeth every day. If you are one of the 40 percent of Americans who say they floss daily (according to a recent ADA survey), then please continue doing so.
If you are in the majority, then consider this a nudge to start following the ADA guidelines. In case you need some motivation, consider this fact. Tooth decay causes a lot of cavities, but gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
Flossing is how you clean the parts of your teeth that you cannot reach with a toothbrush. You can use any kind of dental floss that you like. It can be flavored or not. It can be fine, average, or thick. It can be waxed or unwaxed. Whatever kind you prefer is great … as long as you use it.
You will need about a foot and a half of floss, which you should wrap around your middle fingers. Grip the floss between your index fingers and thumbs. Then, gently rub it on both sides of your teeth and under your gumline. Wrap and unwrap the floss as needed so you have a clean section as you move between teeth.
Dental floss is the most common way for people to clean between their teeth and under their gums. However, you do have other options if you either can’t or won’t use dental floss.
Flossers, short handles with a piece of floss on one end, are more convenient for some people. Water flossers can be equally effective at cleaning between your teeth.
Now matter what tool you use, please remember that brushing alone is not enough.
Step Three — Visiting The Dentist
Now matter how well you brush and floss, you may miss something. This is why professional cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist are important. We will remove any tartar or plaque build up, and we will polish your teeth when we are finished.
The cleaning is only part of the visit, however. We also perform an examination when you come to see us. If we see signs of tooth decay or gum disease, we will advise you on the best course of action to handle the problem before it becomes worse.
Make An Appointment Today
Preventive care is the best approach to keeping your mouth healthy. That’s easier if you brush, floss, and visit Laura Y. Ki, DDS, PC, for routine cleanings.
If you have not yet scheduled your next dental cleaning, call us at 703-552-2530, or fill out our online form to make an appointment at our dentist office in Fairfax, VA.