Honestly, any toothpaste you like is fine with me. Learn more about fluoride ingredients below. I have two small caveats: 1. Please please please do not use an abrasive, gritty toothpaste. 2. If you notice any burning feeling, or sloughing of your gum/cheek/lip tissue, switch to a different kind of toothpaste.
I feel the same way about toothbrushes as I do about toothpaste. My biggest concerns are: 1. Are you using it, and 2. are you using it properly. When you come in, we can discuss my tips for using an electric toothbrush. In addition, you can bring your toothbrush in when you come in for your cleaning. Let us see how you’re brushing and what your bristles look like.
If you’re using an electric toothbrush, don’t move your hand like you’re using a manual toothbrush. With an electric toothbrush, it is doing the work for you, so you only have to direct it to the correct spot. In your imagination, split each tooth into thirds: a rear, a middle, and a forward third. Hold the toothbrush in each third for a second or so (roughly 2 seconds per tooth), starting on the cheek side of the tooth, moving from one end of the quadrant to the other, and then repeat on the inside of the tooth.
Brush for 2 minutes, twice a day, followed by floss, followed by mouthwash. The kind I use isn’t burn-y so you can actually rinse for 30 seconds.
Fluoride helps by bonding to the outer layer of your teeth, called enamel. Enamel is primarily made of hydroxyapatite, which is a crystal itself. It, in turn, is made of calcium, phosphorous, hydrogen, and oxygen. Fluoride bonds with hydroxyapatite, making it less porous and less susceptible to cavities. Fluoride can stop minor decay and even reverse it by remineralizing the enamel! Fluoride is best utilized when applied topically which means toothpaste, mouthwash, and an in-office application twice a year that occurs at the end of your cleaning appointment. Using fluoride is easier and less expensive than getting a filling!
The only exception to this is children under the age of 6. If your child is under the age of 2, I recommend a non-fluoridated toothpaste. If your child is between 2-6, you may consider a children’s fluoridated toothpaste, if your child can reliably spit the toothpaste out and not swallow it. If you are suspicious your child is swallowing the toothpaste, continue using non-fluoridated toothpaste until they are old enough to remember to spit it out.
If you have concerns about fluoride, please don’t hesitate to bring them up. I am happy to talk with you about them! You may also consider toothpaste with nano-hydroxyapatite in it. This will be more difficult to find, but it provides a very efficient non-fluoride option that has also been shown to remineralize teeth. If you’re interested, here’s a research article on nano-hydroxyapatite.
Start with about 18-inches of floss and hold it tightly between the thumbs and forefingers. Gently insert it between your teeth and rub the floss gently up and down keeping it pressed against the tooth.
Yes, yes you do. Flossing removes the debris that collects between your teeth. If it’s left there, it will collect bacteria that will lead to gum disease. Click here for instructions on how to floss your teeth.
Ultimately, our goal is to keep your mouth so healthy, you don’t need any fillings or crowns. In order to make this happen, we need to work together. Come see us for cleanings twice a year; eat a healthy, balanced diet; brush, floss, and mouthwash twice a day. Dr. Virdi will encourage remineralization of teeth whenever possible, and if you do need additional treatment, she will present options. If she recommends a certain treatment, it is because it really is in your best interest. But remember: your mouth belongs to you and you get to decide what you do with it.
Poor dental hygiene at home and never visiting your dentist can lead to cavities and gum disease. According to the American Dental Association, “Cavities, or tooth decay, is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. It can be a problem for children, teens and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel can break down. This is when cavities can form.”
The American Dental Association defines a cavity is a little hole in your tooth that, if left untreated, can grow bigger and deeper over time. Like gum disease, cavities are formed by plaque, that sticky film of bacteria that produces acids that attack the tooth enamel.
It seems like when you go to the grocery store, there’s only one or two kinds of floss available. But honestly, there are so many kinds! Just use it! Floss differs in that there are types that can be better suited for each individual. In the office, we carry Listerine brand; it is what I prefer for me and my patients. I like a floss that has some texture to it to get all the gunk out from between the teeth, is comfortable when it wraps around the fingers, and is easy to maneuver around the teeth. It should also be efficient, meaning that it should cover a decent amount of area between the teeth. Not sure if you’re flossing correctly?
Personally, I use ACT mouthwash but I recommend any mouthwash with sodium fluoride as the active ingredient. If the sodium fluoride is 0.02% it is to be used twice a day. If it is 0.05%, use it once a day.