When it comes to your smile, your dental health plays a crucial role. One or more problems or missing teeth can cause you to hide that smile as well as cause other issues in your day-to-day life. It may be time, then, to consider your options, and two of these are dental implants and dentures.
Knowing how these two options differ and how you can benefit from either one is essential to making the best decision for you personally. This is where your trusted dentist here at Lifetime Dental Health can help explain the differences and help you find the right solution. To get started, though, here is what you need to know.
What are the Main Differences Between Dental Implants and Dentures?
Knowing the differences between dental implants and dentures will help give you further insight into which will work better with your lifestyle and particular needs. Each has its advantages but also some disadvantages. Weigh each of these pros and cons with your dentist, and choose the one that benefits you the most.
Dental implants are permanent, long-lasting replacements for missing teeth and require regular maintenance similar to your natural teeth. They are also strong, providing you with confidence when eating the foods you love.
The procedure for dental implants is highly involved, however, and will take some time to complete. Your dentist will start by creating a synthetic anchor in your jawbone to act as the root of a natural tooth. From there, a crown-type tooth or bridge is attached, with the final result looking and feeling much like a natural tooth.
Dentures are removable teeth replacements, usually made from either porcelain or acrylic resin. They can be complete or partial replacements, depending on your particular needs. Made to resemble your natural teeth and gums, you will have to add an adhesive to hold them in place.
The procedure for dentures also takes time. First, your dentist takes impressions of your lower or upper gums, or both if needed. Next, your overall bite and alignment will be analyzed to help in correcting the denture length to allow you to eat normally and also not interfere with speech. The dental lab will then create a preliminary denture for you to try and for your dentist to observe for alignment or length adjustments. From there, your final dentures will be crafted and provided.
Once you receive the final dentures, your dentist will go over how to use an adhesive and how to care for them. Occasionally, you may need to be fitted for new dentures as your bite changes throughout your life. Common complaints about dentures include sores on the gums and the dentures slipping and not staying in place.
If you’re not sure if either of these options is for you, discuss with your dentist the newer possibility of hybrid versions known as implant-supported overdentures.
What Factors Do I Need to Know When Choosing Between Implants and Dentures?
Choosing between dental implants and dentures involves the consideration of several factors, such as bone structure and density, number of missing teeth, age, and lifestyle.
Bone Structure and Density
Your bone structure and density are factors that may eliminate one choice over the other for you, depending on your particular circumstances. To be a candidate for dental implants, your jawbone must be able to support the necessary posts. Unfortunately, bone loss often occurs due to age, injury, gum disease, or the very tooth loss you are attempting to correct.
In addition, the structure of your jaw may shift eventually. This happens when the nearby teeth try to compensate for the missing tooth and try to shift over to fill the open space. This leads to instability in your mouth structure and can lead to more tooth loss or decay.
Your dentist will evaluate you for all of this and determine if implants are even an option for you. In many instances, you can choose a bone grafting procedure to bolster the density of the jawbone. However, this will involve several visits, higher costs, and be a more invasive type of surgery.
Once chosen, dental implants or dentures can help maintain and preserve your bone structure going forward.
Number of Missing or Damaged Teeth
Much will depend on the number of missing teeth and the overall health of the surrounding ones. Cost can be a significant factor here as well. If you need more than one tooth, the expenses will naturally be higher. At a certain point, a partial or full denture may be a better option for you financially than a set of dental implants.
Dental implants require a more invasive, time-consuming process. Such a process takes considerable time to heal, and as you grow older, this may take even longer. Older adults often find that dentures are a more acceptable and beneficial choice. Younger adults, considering a lifetime of needing their teeth to eat, smile, and talk, often lean more towards dental implants.
When choosing between dental implants and dentures, it is essential that you consider your lifestyle. Practicing good oral hygiene is necessary to maintain your teeth, and either of these can add to that. Dental implants require similar brushing and flossing as your natural teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, require continuous special care and cleaning.
Ask yourself how ready you are to take on this extra task and keep your dentures in good shape. The use of adhesive is necessary, especially if you enjoy such activities as swimming or playing football with friends. Be honest when it comes to what you are willing to do as far as oral hygiene is concerned.
Why Should I Replace Missing Teeth?
Whether to replace your missing teeth or not is an individual decision. Every circumstance is different, and your decisions are your own. Consider the following reasons and benefits to replacing one or more missing teeth.
To protect and maintain bone structure and the jaw
Support for your facial muscles
Maintain or improve your speech
Increase your ability to eat normally and chew foods better
Boost confidence in your smile
Avoid the additional risk of bacteria and food sticking in areas of missing teeth, potentially leading to infections and gum disease
Replacing missing or damaged teeth is an important decision, so discuss your options with your dentist, so you’ll be ready to take this next step.
Schedule an Appointment with Lifetime Dental Health Today
If you’ve experienced tooth loss, you’re not alone. Many people experience this type of loss, either as young adults or as they grow older. You can trust the compassionate staff with Lifetime Dental Health here in Columbus, Ohio to help. We provide thorough information to help you make your choice and stay with you throughout the entire process and beyond. Call us today at 614-321-1887 to get started.
You’ve scheduled your dental hygiene exam, now what? How can you be sure you get the most out of it and benefit your overall health as well? There are different answers to this question, and knowing them ahead of time can help you prepare for a better experience.
Get the Most Out of Your Next Dentist Appointment
Instead of viewing your appointment as just another routine cleaning or exam, it has the potential to be so much more. Here are five proactive ways to get the most out of your next dentist appointment.
1. Assess Your Dental Health Before Arriving at Your Appointment
Before you arrive for your appointment, assess your dental health at the present moment. You don’t need to know all the symptoms or names for dental issues, just identify what you experience daily while eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Things to look for include:
Are any specific teeth sensitive to hot or cold? While you may not be aware you have a cavity, a tooth may seem overly sensitive to that morning coffee or ice cream dessert after dinner.
Do your gums bleed while flossing? Perhaps you floss, and a certain area of your gums bleeds, indicating gum disease might be present.
Do you have sores in your mouth? If so, consider how long you’ve had them. Normally mouth sores disappear on their own, but those that don’t may be an issue, including an abscessed tooth or a possible indicator of oral cancer.
Is your bad breath not responding to toothpastes and mouthwashes? Chronic bad breath not treatable by brushing and using a mouthwash can be a condition of a more serious oral health issue.
Are any teeth noticeably darker than others? Glance in a mirror and see if there are any tooth discolorations. If so, is this making you self-conscious? Several things can cause tooth discoloration, from staining to health issues.
Is your jaw tired or sore upon waking in the mornings? If so, mention this to your dentist. You might grind your teeth while sleeping or clench your jaw unknowingly.
While your dentist will look for these also, you may forget to mention symptoms if not prepared. A way to smartly get around this is to write down a list of issues you are experiencing as well as any questions you may have.
2. Identify Any Changes to Your Medical History
The condition of your mouth is part of your overall health, and symptoms displayed here can be connected to medical issues elsewhere in your body.
Whether this is your initial appointment with a new dentist or you’ve been with them for years, every appointment is the best time to update any medical information in your file.
Changes in your health can happen between dental visits. You may be diagnosed with a certain condition, prescribed new medications, or choose a new vitamin and supplement routine to follow. All of these can affect your dental health as well, so letting your dentist know can help speed up a diagnosis.
For instance, issues affecting your teeth and gums can be an indicator of diabetes. Any diagnosis for respiratory or gastrointestinal disease can be the cause of your chronic bad breath. If you receive a diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome, a common symptom is dry mouth, which can lead to cavities as well.
Are you taking any different medications since your last visit? Bring the bottles with you to the appointment or write them down, including the dosage information. Since many prescriptions can have side effects, some of these can directly affect your oral health.
For example, blood-pressure regulating medication, a prescription to help with depression, or a prescribed allergy medication can lead to dry mouth. If you take blood thinners, your dentist will need to know this before any procedure which may cause you to bleed.
Also, inform your dentist of any vitamins and supplements you’ve added to your diet recently.
By knowing your most updated medical history, your dentist can better determine when a dental issue is isolated to your oral health and when it may be connected to another health issue.
3. Reveal Any Anxiety You Feel at the Appointment
If dental appointments make you anxious, you’re not alone. Even scheduling a dentist appointment can make many patients nervous long before stepping inside the office.
You don’t have to hide your anxiety. When you schedule your appointment, mention it to the staff and ask them to relay it to your dentist. Once you arrive for your appointment, openly discuss any anxiety with your dental hygienist and your dentist directly.
A few ways to reveal your apprehension are to:
Tell them you feel nervous, anxious, or scared. If you have a particular reason, such as a bad past experience with a dentist, let them know.
Express any fears, such as the fear of injections or shots.
If pain is a concern, start off by revealing any current pain or sensitivity you experience, so your dental team will know to take special care in those areas.
Explain you are protective of your personal space, and it’s difficult to let anyone get close to you.
Working together, you can come up with ways to alleviate the anxiety, fear, or apprehension. For example, choose a signal to use to alert your dentist you want to take a break during a procedure. This solution gives you more control during the appointment and can help you avoid feeling panicked at any time.
You may also want to discuss undergoing sedation during a procedure. While you won’t be asleep and completely unaware of what is going on, you will remain calmer throughout. Another option is to bring a trusted companion with you to the appointment.
Essentially, learning to trust your dental team is the key to overcoming many of these fears and apprehensions.
4. Develop a Suitable Treatment Plan
Following your exam, if further procedures are necessary, develop a treatment plan that works for you. Learn what your options are and how much time each one will take. Also, ask about costs and payment options available.
Seek out explanations for anything you don’t understand. Ask for details, or choose to accept an overview of a procedure if the details make you overly anxious.
Schedule appointments before you leave, so you’ll know what to expect going forward.
5. Ask What You Can Do to Continue with Good Oral Health
Even if you already practice good oral hygiene, your dental team may have other suggestions on how to maintain your teeth and gums. Ask for recommendations, such as the best mouthwash to use for your sensitive teeth, occasional bad breath, or congregating bacteria.
Your dental health may differ from others in your household, so knowing unique ways to keep and positively affect your own is essential. Knowing how to continue with good oral health can also lessen the number of appointments you’ll likely need in the future.
Contact Lifetime Dental Health for All Your Dental Needs
Making the most of a dental visit is a valuable way to spend your time and can also benefit your overall health. Let Lifetime Dental Health help you get the most out of your next visit by scheduling an appointment with us today. Our team of compassionate and experienced professionals is here to help with whatever dental needs you have now and in the future.
Dental cavities, which dentists may refer to as caries, or tooth decay represent holes in the teeth forming when acid in your mouth (oral cavity), erodes your tooth enamel. Untreated cavities or tooth decay can not only cause toothaches, but they can result in infections and tooth extractions. Individuals of all ages can have tooth decay.
Having the proper dental care, including flossing, brushing, and regular checkups with a dentist in Columbus, OH, can help prevent tooth decay.
Causes of Tooth Decay
Our mouths are chock-full of bacteria. While some good bacteria are certainly helpful, others can be harmful, including those that play a tooth decay role. The food combines with these bacteria to form a sticky, soft film named plaque. The bacteria present in plaque use the starch and sugar in the foods and drinks we consume to produce acids.
The acids begin to erode the minerals in the enamel. Over time, the plaque can turn into tartar. In addition to damaging the teeth, plaque and tartar can also irritate your gums and cause gum disease. If you don’t take care of your teeth and/or eat and drink too much sugar or starch, your enamel will continue to lose minerals. This leads to tooth decay.
Symptoms of Cavities
At the onset of tooth decay, there are usually no symptoms. As tooth decay worsens, it can cause:
Brown or white spots on the tooth’s surface
Sensitivity of the teeth to sweets, heat, or cold
Diagnosis Cavities/Tooth Decay
Having dental checkups at least twice a year is the best way to detect cavities early when the dentist can save a large part of the tooth. A tooth with decay or a cavity will be softer when the dentist examines it. You can also do dental x-rays. X-rays show cavities before the decay becomes visible.
Our dentists can usually identify tooth decay in the following ways:
Asking about sensitivity or toothache
Examining your teeth and mouth
Using dental instruments to probe your teeth to check soft areas
Having a look at dental X-rays, which can show the extent of decay and cavities
Our dentist will also be able to tell you which of the three forms of cavities you have: pit and fissure, smooth surface, or root.
Treatments for Cavities/Tooth Decay
Regular checkups can help identify cavities and tooth decay before they lead to more serious problems. The earlier you seek help, your chances to reverse the early stages of tooth decay and prevent its progression are greater. If tooth decay is treated before it starts causing pain, you probably won’t need extensive treatment. Options for treatment include:
Fluoride treatment: If tooth decay has just started, fluoride treatment can help restore tooth enamel and reverse tooth decay in the early stages. Fluoride treatments contain more fluoride than the amount found in toothpaste, tap water, and mouthwashes. Fluoride treatments can be liquid, gel, or foam that are brushed onto your teeth or placed on a small tray that fits your teeth.
Dental Crowns: For weakened teeth extensive decay, a crown may be needed. This is a custom-made cover that replaces the entire natural crown of your tooth. Your dentist drills the entire damaged area and enough of the rest of the tooth to ensure a good fit. Crowns can be made of gold, high-strength porcelain, resin, metal-fused porcelain, or other materials.
Dental Fillings: Fillings, also referred to as restorations, are the primary treatment option when tooth decay has progressed beyond the initial stage. Various materials are used for fillings, such as porcelain, tooth-colored composite resins, or dental amalgam.
Root canals: When the cavity or decay finds its way to the pulp (which is inside the tooth), it may be necessary to have a root canal. Instead of removing a tooth, this treatment repairs and saves a tooth that is infected or damaged badly. The pulp of the diseased tooth is removed. Sometimes, a drug is inserted into the root canal to clear any infection. The pulp is then replaced by a filling.
Tooth extractions: Some teeth are so badly damaged that they cannot be restored and must be removed. Extracting one tooth can leave a gap allowing the other teeth to move. If possible, consider getting a bridge or dental implant to replace the missing tooth.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are essential to prevent tooth cavities or decay. New dental treatments, including fluoride rinses, and dental sealants, have reduced the risk of tooth decay in children and adolescents. Adults with dental fillings from childhood can develop cavities around the edges of old fillings. It is advisable to ask one of our dentists, Dr. Love, Dr. Barry, or Dr. DiDonato what steps you can take to protect your oral health and prevent tooth decay.
Book Your Dental Exam and Cleaning at Lifetime Dental Health
Are you due for a dental exam and cleaning? Along with brushing and flossing daily, visiting us twice a year for a dental exam and cleaning is one of your best defenses to prevent cavities. Don’t ignore your oral health. Call us at 614-321-1887 or book your appointment online.
Every human being can smile, and, like everything else, everyone’s smile is unique to them. It’s important for you to be satisfied with your smile. And if your smile isn’t as appealing as you’d like it to be, Lifetime Dental Health is here to help. Chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth aren’t attractive. They can cause you to stop smiling or make your smile smaller. But you don’t have to hide behind a less-than-pleasing smile when a simple procedure known as dental bonding can give you back the warm, welcoming smile you love.
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is a procedure in which we apply a durable plastic material called resin to a damaged tooth to improve the tooth’s appearance and resilience. We apply the resin (color-matched to your natural teeth) directly to the surface of a problem tooth and harden it. Once the resin is “cured” via blue light, the material is “bonded” to the tooth, and we can then file it smooth and shape it to blend with the natural teeth around it.
Of course, dental bonding isn’t a cure-all for every type of tooth damage, but for the right situation, it can be a quick and relatively inexpensive way to improve your smile. Depending on the level of damage, bonding can fill in gaps between teeth, hide roots revealed by receding gums, or build up a broken tooth. It is also often used to fill small cavities – especially ones in highly visible front teeth – because it’s less noticeable than silver or composite filling.
Why should I choose bonding to help my smile?
At Lifetime Dental Health, bonding is not the only cosmetic dentistry that could give you a winning smile, and there are advantages and disadvantages to any procedure. Although we encourage you to book a consultation with us to help determine the best solution for your situation, here’s a brief summary of four reasons why you might want to choose bonding.
It’s fast. Among the several different ways to solve chipped, cracked, or stained teeth, dental bonding is often the quickest route to take. Alternatives such as veneers and crowns require restructuring the target tooth in some way. This means that getting a veneer or a crown involves at least two — and sometimes three — visits to the dentist. Bonding can be a single visit procedure — from 30 to 60 minutes start to smiling finish.
It costs less. If you compare bonding to the most common alternatives, bonding will likely come out to be less expensive. In addition to the cost of multiple office visits, veneers and crowns require the expertise and equipment of a specialized laboratory along with the skills of our professional dentists. You’ll need to check your own dental policy, but most dental insurance plans cover dental bonding, especially for structural reasons or to fill a cavity.
It’s versatile. Other types of cosmetic dental procedures can accomplish much of what bonding can, except for filling in the small cavities that may occur in your smile. Although veneers and crowns can sometimes address cavities, both are more complex solutions than a simple filling. Like veneers, bonding can cover chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth, and unlike a veneer, it can serve as a filling alternative for small cavities, too.
It’s comfortable. Both veneers and crowns require removing some of the natural enamel on the target tooth. They both also usually involve anesthesia. Bonding only requires anesthesia if it’s being used to fill a cavity, so it is preferred by people who cannot be anesthetized or who would simply prefer not to be.
What are the disadvantages of bonding?
While bonding comes highly recommended, there are disadvantages to the procedure you’ll want to be aware of before making a decision.
Bonding will stain. One of the differences between veneers/crowns and bonding is that, just like your natural teeth, the resin used in bonding will stain. Bonding resin is porous, so smoking and coffee or tea can be especially hard on its surface. If your teeth are stained from something you’re doing, your bonding will eventually be stained, too.
Bonding can chip. Like the enamel of your natural teeth, the resin used in bonding is not as strong as the porcelain of a dental crown or veneer. It is nearly as easy to chip as your teeth are, so if some of your habits — chewing on ice or your fingernails — were the cause of the chips you’re bonding over, you may want to stop.
Do bonded teeth need special care?
You can maintain the good looks and health of your bonded teeth with your normal oral hygiene routine, but to make bonding last as long as possible (up to 10 years, depending on your habits), follow these helpful tips:
Decrease your intake of coffee, tea, red wine, and other dark-colored food and drinks, and rinse your teeth well after you finish them.
Stop chewing on hard candies, ice, large nuts, your pen or pencil, or your nails. This can chip bonding as easily as it chips natural teeth, and if bonding is damaged, it must be removed and reapplied.
Call us if you notice sharp edges on your bonded teeth or if your bite seems off after your teeth are bonded. If we catch a problem early, it can likely be repaired, or the bonding can be reapplied.
Dental bonding takes some artistic skill to do its best for your smile. And, as we’ve noted, it’s not for every situation. We’d be happy to talk with you about whether bonding is right for your situation. Why not call us today?
“Let a smile be your umbrella.” “Smile and the world smiles with you.” We’ve all heard these well-known statements many times. And we know many things can make us smile: a newborn baby, a sunny day, a special memory. Smiles usually come naturally. But what if seeing your own smile doesn’t make you smile because it isn’t as attractive as you’d like it to be? Lifetime Dental Health can help, with two procedures designed to turn a so-so smile into a so nice one: bonding and veneers.
What’s the Difference Between Veneers and Bonding?
Dental veneers and dental bonding can both cover your chipped, cracked, or broken teeth so well that no one (except you and us) will know they aren’t your natural teeth. However, though they are designed to solve the same problems, differences between veneers and bonding may make one or the other more appropriate for your situation.
Bonding is simpler and less involved than a veneer. And it doesn’t change your tooth. Bonding uses dental resin to build directly upon the damaged or discolored tooth. Depending on the level of damage, it can fill in gaps between teeth, hide roots revealed by receding gums, or build up a broken tooth. We apply the resin (color-matched to your natural teeth) directly to the surface of a problem tooth and harden it using a special dental light. Once it’s hardened, we file it smooth, and shape it to blend with the shape of your other teeth.
A veneer is a piece of extremely thin porcelain shaped to cover the front of a damaged, misshapen, or discolored tooth. Like bonding resin, the porcelain is colored to match your natural teeth. Unlike bonding, a veneer involves an outside dental lab for its preparation and, most often, two or more dental appointments. In the first visit, we reshape your tooth and make an impression of it for the dental lab. In the second, we apply the veneer to your tooth with safe dental cement. To get a perfect fit, we may need to remove and adjust the veneer several times before it is set. Though more involved than bonding, a veneer can last for as long as 15 years.
What Are the 5 Most Important Factors to Consider Before Choosing?
Neither bonding nor veneers are right for every damaged tooth. And even for good candidates, bonding and veneers are not equally appropriate. Let’s look at 5 factors you’ll want to consider in making your choice:
Looks. Since the goal is a more appealing smile, the look of the result is an important consideration. Both procedures provide “new” teeth that look like – and react like – the rest. Over time, bonding is prone to staining and may need to be redone for best effect. Porcelain is virtually stainless, so If your teeth are significantly stained or discolored, a veneer will work better than bonding. As for chips, cracks, or breaks, bonding can be redone if need be; If a veneer cracks, the only fix is a crown.
Durability/Longevity. Whichever choice you make, you’ll want it to last as long as possible, and that’s dependent upon the material used. Bonding material is a dental resin brushed onto a tooth. That’s why you only need one dental visit, and why, if it chips or discolors, it can be readily repaired. Veneers are made of porcelain, and they are customized to your tooth. Veneers cannot be repaired.
Time. Bonding comes out ahead when it comes to time, as it can usually be done in a single dental visit. Veneers always require two visits, and sometimes three. To cure a painful tooth, or up your smile for a special occasion, a one-stop procedure could be the better call.
Cost. It’s no surprise that bonding is less expensive than veneers. Veneers require the skills and equipment of a dental lab in addition to that of a dentist. However, the difference lessens as the amount of work involved increases. For one or two teeth, bonding may be just what you want. However, the more teeth you have that need repair, the smaller the difference. Be sure to compare costs based on your actual situation, as in some cases veneers may be worth the extra bit more.
Maintenance. When it comes to daily care, veneers and bonding are equal, and a good dental hygiene routine, plus regular professional check-ups and cleanings, is crucial. Both bonded teeth and those with a veneer, need daily brushing and flossing just like your natural teeth. And like natural teeth, to keep them from chipping, cracking, or staining, it’s best to avoid hard food, such as hard candy, nuts, and crunchy snacks; dark beverages, such as red wine, dark fruit juices, and colas; chewing ice; and using tobacco.
This is a lot to think about regarding bonding and veneers, so you’ll want to be sure to start with a consultation to help you decide which procedure would be best for you. You can contact us or make an appointment online. Our dentists are always available to help you make a choice you’ll be happy with.
Most of us do it twice a day. Many of us do it at least once. You guessed it! Brush our teeth. And maybe floss. We all know how to do it, and that’s a good thing. But there’s more to a good oral hygiene regimen, regardless of how often you do it.
What is a Good Oral Hygiene Regimen?
There are four fundamental tasks for basic oral health, and you may already do them. Still, we can all use a refresher course on how to do those tasks as well as we can.
Step #1: Brushing When? Preferably twice a day – when you wake up and when you go to bed. If you can’t do this, brush at least once every 24 hours. If you have breakfast prior to your first-of-the-day brush, wait to brush for 45-60 minutes, particularly if breakfast included orange juice or grapefruit. Acidic foods like these can loosen tooth enamel and brushing may damage your teeth.
Why? The #1 reason is to prevent cavities. Brushing removes plaque (a coating of bacteria) on your teeth which, if left to settle in, causes tooth decay. Just as important is that brushing also stimulates your gums. Gum disease does more than ruin your teeth. It can lead to major health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
How? Position your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums and brush up and down on the front and back, and back and forth across the top. Brush for a minimum of two minutes. (You can buy electric toothbrushes that beep every 30 seconds, so you can brush each quarter of your teeth for the same length of time.) The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled brush and an ADA-approved toothpaste.
Step #2: Flossing When?Before you brush. And at least once a day. Whatever is in your mouth when you fall asleep has all night to do its damage, so flossing just before bedtime is the optimal time.
Why? Flossing loosens up the bits of food that are too small to see. The ones stuck between your teeth and under your gums. Flossing loosens plaque as well, and that will help your brushing do a better job.
How? You can use dental floss wrapped around your fingers or one of the easy-to-use floss picks (a plastic holder with a piece of floss attached). Slip the floss between your teeth and guide it gently up and down along the side of each tooth and down into the space between tooth and gum. Don’t forget those molars in the back!
Step #3: Rinsing When? Every time you do Steps #1 and #2, also rinse with mouthwash. Pick a flavor you like (brand doesn’t matter) so you’ll be more likely to do it regularly.
Why? For the same reason you usually drink something after eating. Flossing and brushing are most important, but even done well, they can miss some things. Rinsing flushes out the last few bits of toothpaste and food. Not to mention that mouthwash makes your mouth feel – and taste – totally refreshed!
How? It’s simple! Fill the cap of the bottle with mouthwash and move the liquid around in your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Be sure to keep your lips closed while rinsing, so the mouthwash can do its job.
Step #4: Scraping When? You needn’t do this after every time you floss, brush, and rinse, but it’s a good idea to make scraping your tongue a regular part of your routine. And it only takes a minute!
Why? Food, bacteria, and dead cells collect on your tongue when you eat or drink. And all that debris can dull your taste buds and lead to tooth decay. While it may seem that brushing would be effective for your tongue as well as your teeth, it isn’t. In fact, one study found that using a tongue scraper can significantly reduce the number of bacteria known to cause bad breath and tooth decay.
How? Use a tongue scraper. They’re designed specifically to clean the tongue. After flossing, brushing, and rinsing, look in the mirror and stick out your tongue. Lay the rounded edge of the scraper across the back of your tongue (or start in the middle if the back activates your gag reflex). Pull the scraper gently along your tongue from the back to the tip. Never push the scraper from the tip to the back! One or two scrapes should do the job.
How Can I Tell If my Hygiene Routine Is Working?
The first indication will be almost immediate – your mouth will feel fresh, clean, and healthy. Over time, you’ll notice other conditions – and the lack of some – that demonstrate your success.
Your breath will smell fresh and your teeth will feel clean even when you first wake up
Your gums will look pink and healthy, and they won’t bleed when you floss and brush
Your mouth will flinch less when you eat or drink something hot or cold
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Here are a few extra guidelines for taking the best care of your mouth:
Eat plenty of crunchy vegetables and fruit
Limit food and drinks that are sugary or acidic
Drink plenty of water, and never chew ice
Keep your toothbrush clean and get a new one often
Don’t use tobacco
Of course, some problems and conditions can’t be seen in your bathroom mirror. So, it’s important to see us at least twice a year for a checkup and a thorough cleaning. We encourage you to contact us or make an appointment online. Your mouth will thank you!