The Importance of Good At-Home Care
Most of know that a good at-home hygiene routine includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. There are also some finer points to keep in mind to take care of your oral health on a daily basis. Patients should consider:
- The bristles of your toothbrush: Harsh or damaged bristles can irritate and even damage the gums. Patients are encouraged to choose softer bristled toothbrushes, and replace their toothbrushes every three months to keep their gums healthy.
- Toothpaste with fluoride: This mineral is well known to help reduce the risk of cavities by strengthening tooth enamel. Toothpaste fortified with fluoride is a great, simple way to improve the health of your teeth.
- Eating a healthy diet: Teeth need certain minerals – especially phosphate and calcium – to stay strong and durable. Eating foods and drinking beverages laden with sugar can fuel oral bacteria and acid production, which destroys tooth enamel and puts you at risk for decay.
Dr. van Zyl and his team can also review your at-home hygiene practices to ensure you are brushing and flossing properly.
Professional Teeth Cleaning and Exams
Your regular dental cleanings and exams are one of the building blocks of preventative dentistry. During your visit, your hygienist will thoroughly remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth, and below the gum line. When plaque remains on your teeth, it calcifies and becomes tartar. This insoluble substance cannot be removed by brushing and flossing at home – a dental professional uses special equipment to successfully free the teeth of tartar build-up.
To help keep plaque and tartar under control, patients should come in twice a year for routine cleaning, or more frequently as recommended by your dentist. Patients at risk for developing gum disease or tooth decay, for example, may need professional maintenance more often to prevent irreversible damage to the gums and tooth structure.
Other Helpful Preventative Treatments
In addition to great at-home hygiene and regular dental exams, sealants and fluoride treatments can help you prevent plaque, tartar, and dental decay. Fluoride can be topically applied to the teeth via a simple and quick treatment that can easily be added onto your regular exam. In a similarly convenient therapy, sealants can be placed along the chewing surfaces of your molars to help keep bacteria and acid from penetrating the tooth. This is a particularly helpful treatment for children and other patients who are prone to developing cavities.