Back to the Basics: Dental Tips from your Dentist
From a young age, most people are taught the importance of oral hygiene – you know, brushing twice a day and even flossing. But have you ever wondered whether you were doing it right? Have you wondered whether or not the products you were using were effective? Maybe you’ve always wanted to have a sneak peek into your dentist’s or hygienist’s oral care routine. Their teeth are so very white they must be doing something right. Right?
Here’s your chance. Dr. Andy Engel (Dr. Andy) shares his top dental tips to keep your chompers in tip-top shape.
Tip 1: Use the right toothbrush. Dr. Engel’s favorite toothbrush is a Sonicare. Why? It does what it says it will do, plus it holds all the patents to the best technology currently available. Yep, he even likes it more than its main competitor, Oral-B. Over the years, he has helped patients address chronic tooth problems simply by changing their toothbrushes to Sonicare. It is that effective. Does that mean you need to go out and buy a new toothbrush today? Not necessarily. But when it is time to replace your toothbrush, consider an upgrade to a Sonicare toothbrush.
Tip 2: Floss first, then brush. Most people wrap up their oral hygiene routine by flossing. Well, not really. But for those who do floss their teeth regularly, they do it in the wrong order. Is your head blown? Flossing first helps loosen plaque and food debris from between the teeth, but it doesn’t get all of it out of your mouth. That’s where toothbrushing comes in. Brushing after flossing allows you to brush away the debris. Plus, toothpaste with fluoride is more effective when the tartar is removed – and flossing helps take care of some of this!
Tip 3: Use the right mouthwash. A lot of mouthwash will kill bacteria, but that burning sensation you feel is the tissue in your mouth burning. WHAT? Strong chemical-based mouthwashes can have adverse effects on your oral health. Instead, Dr. Andy recommends Crest ProHealth and ACT fluoride rinse.
Tip 4: Understand how pH can impact your oral health. Have you ever wondered why some people with terrible oral hygiene don’t get cavities while others who do all the right things are cavity-prone? A bacterial imbalance in the mouth is the primary cause of cavities, and brushing and flossing alone can’t balance it. The pH levels inside your mouth can create a lovely environment for decay-causing bacteria. And the food and drinks you enjoy every day impact your pH levels. Just like the Three Bears, the pH inside your mouth should be not too high and not too low. Dr. Andy recommends CariFree for some patients prone to cavities as it helps control harmful bacteria without adversely affecting the healthy bacteria in your mouth.
Tip 5: Be mindful of what you are drinking. As mentioned above, the foods you eat and the drinks you consume can impact your oral health. While sipping coffee throughout the day may help you stay alert, it does terrible things for your teeth. So too for LaCroix lovers (and other carbonated beverages). These drinks lower the pH in your mouth. A pH lower than 5.5 promotes bacteria due to acid demineralization of the tooth’s enamel. Every time you drink something that has acid or sugar in it, your pH drops for 20 minutes. If you drink over a long period, you keep your pH low for an extended time. But if you drink a LaCroix quickly and then chase it with water, it will bring your pH back to 7. You can still drink coffee. Dr. Andy certainly does. But switch up your routine and drink it over a short period. Once you are done, rinse and switch to water. Your mouth, teeth, and body will thank you. And sleepiness is often a sign of dehydration, so you may find that you are more alert by drinking more water throughout the day.
Tip 6: If you are in braces, don’t forget about your dental visits. It is not uncommon for people to get hyperfocused on orthodontic care, and the visits required that they fail to have regular dental exams and cleanings. Your orthodontist is not looking for cavities. That’s your dentist’s job, so putting off care while in braces only makes your life more difficult in the long run. Why? One reason is that braces make it harder to keep your teeth clean. Most orthodontists recommend a professional dental cleaning three times a year when you are in braces. If possible, coordinate your cleaning and orthodontic appointments for the same day so the orthodontist can remove your wires for more effective cleaning. Another reason is that if a cavity goes untreated for the length of your orthodontic treatment, you may end up needing a more serious treatment when you finally make it back in to see the dentist.
Tip 7: If you are having chronic dental issues, consider getting a new dentist. It is your dentist’s job to identify and treat the underlying cause of your oral health problems. They should be listening to fully understand your concerns to figure out why these problems are happening. If your dentist isn’t hearing you or is only treating the symptom, it may be time for a new one. Dr. Andy prides himself on the time he takes to understand the needs and challenges of his patients. He is a problem solver and would love the opportunity to help you.
Your oral health is a top priority at Living Dental Health. We hope these tips help you take better care of your teeth. If you are due for a dental examination or cleaning, give us a call to schedule your appointment today.