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Couple brushing their teeth

Basic Dental Care in Western Massachusetts

Couple brushing their teeth

Although good oral hygiene may not seem very exciting, it is the basis of a long and healthy life. Research has shown that good dental health positively affects physical health, and those who have poor oral health also have poor physical health. In addition, poor dental health has been directly linked to serious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and others. Fortunately, maintaining good dental health is easy, especially when you partner with your Western Massachusetts dentist.

To make a dental appointment for an annual exam or any other reason, click here.

How Is Basic Dental Care Defined?

According to the American Dental Association, your good oral hygiene regimen should include the following at a minimum:

● Twice-daily brushing

● Once-daily flossing

● Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride

● Regular dental checkups and cleanings

Of course, you can brush and floss after each meal and snack – and you should – and get dental checkups twice yearly rather than once, but these guidelines are the minimum you should follow for good dental health.

Make sure that all your dental products carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, so you know you’re using a quality product that’s also safe.

Is Brushing Twice Daily Enough?

The American Dental Association states that brushing twice daily is the minimum standard. Optimally, you should brush each time you eat a meal or snack. However, since this isn’t always feasible, they recommend that you brush a minimum of once in the morning and once before bedtime. Don’t eat anything after your bedtime brushing, or you’ll defeat the purpose of brushing.

When you brush your teeth, spend a minimum of 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth, which is defined as:

● The upper right side of your jaw

● The upper left side of your jaw

● The lower right side of your jaw

● The lower left side of your jaw

In total, your brushing routine should take two full minutes.

It doesn’t matter whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, but it should have soft bristles of uneven lengths, and it should be sized appropriately for your mouth. It’s okay if you’re an adult with a small mouth and need a child-sized toothbrush. It’s also okay if you’re a child who needs an adult-sized toothbrush. Buy according to your needs, not what the package says about the contents.

Use gentle pressure when you brush. Use back-and-forth strokes and a circular motion to cover the most tooth surface when you brush. The uneven lengths of the toothbrush will work similar to dental floss and reach areas that shorter bristles can’t. The shorter bristles will clean the surfaces of your teeth. Using firmer pressure and faster strokes will damage your tooth enamel, so be sure not to do that.

To get rid of even more bacteria, brush your tongue. Although many people don’t do this, it’s an excellent method for removing the maximum number of bacteria that may be lodged on the rough surfaces of your tongue.

Replace your toothbrush every three months. If you’ve been sick and have recuperated, then replace your toothbrush. If the bristles start to splay or look frayed, replace your toothbrush.

Is My Toothpaste Fluoridated?

Most brands of toothpaste now contain fluoride, a practice that began in the 1950’s and has continued to the present. Fluoride was shown to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce cavities, so it continues to be a part of most toothpaste brands. Many municipalities also began to add fluoride to their water supply, so there has been concern about over fluoridation. However, that’s unlikely, and there are symptoms of over fluoridation, so if you have any concerns, be sure to address them with your dentist.

Is Daily Flossing Necessary?

Flossing should be an integral part of your daily hygiene, but it doesn’t matter whether you brush and then floss or floss and then brush. Both are equally effective. It’s a strictly personal preference. The ADA recommends that you floss once daily at a minimum, but brushing and flossing after each meal or snack is optimal. If you floss only once each day, it should be just before bedtime so that you remove the majority of food particles and bacteria from your mouth. Don’t eat anything after you floss at night, or it will defeat the purpose of flossing.

Several types of floss are available, and it doesn’t matter which you choose. Some people prefer water flossers, some prefer traditional dental floss, while others prefer floss picks. Your dentist can give you some pointers, but it’s basically personal preference.

Additional Tips for Good Basic Dental Care?

Mouthwash can boost a good oral hygiene routine to a great one, especially if you use it just before bedtime. Whether you opt for non-alcoholic mouthwash or the regular type, it can remove residual bacteria from your mouth and tongue so that you have the cleanest mouth possible as well as fresher breath.

Your daily diet can also become part of your oral hygiene regimen. For example, rather than snacking on junk food like candy and chips, start snacking on fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Their crunchy texture will help remove bacteria and plaque, while their nutritional content will make your teeth and your body healthier. Also, consider drinking plain water rather than sugary sodas or other drinks.

Would On-the-Go Tips Be Helpful?

If you spend a considerable amount of time on the road, a travel kit might help you maintain good oral hygiene habits when you’re away from home. Assemble a kit containing travel-sized versions of your favorite dental products so you can use them while away from home. Remember, though, that even if you can’t use your regular dental routine, you can rinse well with plain water until it’s convenient to use your dental routine.

Do You Have Good Prevention Habits?

One of the most important aspects of your good oral hygiene regimen is regular dental exams and teeth cleanings. Your dentist is your most valuable resource for maintaining a healthy mouth. Even if you have an excellent dental hygiene routine, you may unknowingly develop problems. For instance, oral cancer presents without symptoms, and you won’t know you have it until it has spread. For this reason, we recommend that all our patients have an oral cancer screening along with their annual exam. The screening isn’t painful, and it’s non-invasive. Your dentist will conduct the screening when they do the exam.

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We Can Help You

Your dental health is our only objective, and we’re sure you’ll be happy with your sparkling smile. Call us today. We look forward to speaking with you.

If you need to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or any other dental procedure, click here.

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