Dental Wellness Strategies – Part One we acknowledged that it is important to ‘recharge’ from life’s day to day stresses…this will prevent deterioration of both your general and oral health.
In this blog, we will continue our discussion of dental wellness. Please note: Items 1 – 3 were discussed in the previous blog.
In an ideal world, we should be brushing after every meal…makes sense because if you remove the food particles then there will be less ‘substrate’ for bacteria in the mouth to act on and start the decay process. At a minimum, we suggest brushing in the morning when you awaken and at night before you go to sleep.
a) In the morning to refresh your mouth: remember at night your salivary glands are sleeping and less saliva results in morning breath…You may want to read the blog “Proper Oral Hygiene Techniques – Part 1,” posted on February 19th, 2012.
b) At night, to clean out all of the food and plaque that accumulated during the day, consider this; going to sleep with food debris and plaque in close proximity to your teeth, combined with a lack of salivary flow that occurs at night – this is a sure fire recipe for tooth decay and gum problems too.
If you can only floss once a day, the ideal time is before you go to sleep. Please see the blog “Proper Oral Hygiene Techniques – Part 2,” posted on February 25th, 2012.
Don’t forget to give your gums a good workout. Initially your gums may bleed and hurt, but within a short time, they will toughen up. Your gums should be pink, tight and not bleed when touched with your toothbrush. They should not be red, swollen and bleed readily upon touch…Think well-done steak, not rare.
Helpful Hint: I advise people to keep their floss on their night tables next to them and not in their night table drawer or even in their washroom. This is where I keep my floss. I can’t forget to floss if it’s right there on my night table. At night while watching TV, I just reach over for the floss, which is right next to me, and I massage my gums for about 10-15 minutes…This is like spa therapy for my gums!
5) Last, but not least, we recommend regular visits to your dentist, the frequency of which is based on your individual needs. Even if you are brushing and flossing and maintaining good oral hygiene, you should still see your dentist. The reason for this is that the dental hygienist (with specialized cleaning instruments) will be able to get into those hard to clean areas and remove any food/debris left behind. In addition, by taking certain x rays called bitewings, the dentist will be able to determine if you have any cavities between your teeth. You can read more about bitewings in the blog, “Bitewing: A staple X Ray for Diagnosis in Dentistry” posted on May 13th, 2013
Depending on the condition of your gums and the state of the supporting foundation (periodontium) of your teeth, we will recommend 3, 4 or 6 month cleaning intervals. For a thorough discussion about the gums and periodontium, please refer to the blog “Periodontal Disease … What exactly is it?” posted on March 2nd, 2012.
In addition, if you are a smoker, have a history of gum disease or systemic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease; we may suggest that you see your dentist more frequently than every 6 months. This is because certain ‘medical conditions’ may affect the state of your oral health.
I hope that you enjoyed this basic two part series on dental wellness. I thought it would be a nice way to start off the New Year.
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist