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Effective Dental Hygiene Between Visits

June 17, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-76765623When you leave a hygiene appointment with the outstanding staff at Avanti Dentistry your teeth look and feel their best. They are completely clean, and it feels great. By the next morning, that wonderful squeaky clean smile is a thing of the past. At Avanti Dentistry we want our patients to keep their teeth feeling like they just left a hygiene appointment. Some tips and tricks for effective at-home dental hygiene can help your teeth look and feel their best. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled hygienists, at our convenient Tysons Corner, VA location.

The Basics

Preventive dentistry is the best way to avoid oral health issues that can be painful, difficult to treat, and hazardous to your physical health. We all think we know how to care for our teeth at home, but what you don’t know may surprise you. Maybe you know that you’re supposed to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss between your teeth at least once each day, but did you know there are multiple brushing and flossing methods or that using mouthwash directly following brushing is not encouraged? Like so many routine activities, tooth brushing is often done in a thoughtless, automatic way, but by making a change to your routine, you can significantly improve dental health.

Most of us are taught to brush our teeth as small children, and we are instructed to use one of two brushing methods a horizontal scrub (quickly moving a brush back and forth across the surfaces of the teeth), or the preferred fone’s method of using circular strokes to clean each tooth. While these methods are great for kids, there are techniques that would be much more beneficial for adults. The horizontal scrub method is damaging to enamel over time, and the fone’s method does not always adequately clean between your teeth and gums to remove plague and reduce the risk of periodontal disease.

There are many other methods for brushing your teeth, ask our hygienists to thoroughly explain them to you at your next appointment. The key to all of the brushing methods is ensure better cleaning of the places that periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay causing bacteria are most likely to grow. This means a thorough cleaning between and behind the teeth as well as along the gum line. A fast vibrating or rolling motion from the gums upwards is often effective.

Flossing is a dreaded chore, but the results speak for themselves. Your teeth look and feel better, if you floss on a daily basis. One easy switch that can make floss less of a chore is to use a single filament floss. Multifilament floss is more common but it tends to shred or break making flossing more difficult. Single filament floss is made of one single strand that slides more easily between teeth. When flossing, remember to always move floss gently back and forth between teeth until you reach the base of each tooth. Curve the floss around each tooth and gently clean below the gum line. Then, slowly move the floss back and forth to remove it from your teeth. Remember never to snap or pull floss between teeth. Gum tissue is extremely sensitive and can easily be cut or bruised.

Mouthwash that contains fluoride is a great way to retain the strength of your bite, but it shouldn’t be part of your brushing routine. After brushing, your teeth are coated with fluoride from your toothpaste which should contain at least 1350ppm of fluoride to be effective. Using fluoride mouthwash is a great after lunch dental hygiene solution. It’s easy to find a few minutes to swish your mouth wash, and you don’t have to worry about carrying along a tooth brush to work, school, or a restaurant. Travel sized mouthwash bottles are easy to carry, and refilling them from a larger bottle makes them cost effective too. Remember not to eat or drink for 30 minutes following the use of fluoride mouthwash.

A Few Tough Choices

Between visits there’s really only one other way to keep your teeth healthier and cleaner, and that’s to make a few tough choices about the food and drinks you consume. Foods and beverages that are high in sugar, acid or color can cause long-term damage to your teeth. Building a habit of rinsing with mouth wash or brushing immediately following meals is one way to combat the potential damage, but if you consistently struggle with tooth decay or gum disease, it may be time to start considering eliminating problem foods from your diet.

If you experience a dental emergency (lost tooth, abscess tooth, severe cut of mouth or tongue, etc.) try to visit us as soon as possible, but hygiene is essential to avoid bacterial growth that can lead to infection or decay. Be sure to clean any affected area with warm water, and slow blood flow with a cold compress or ice. Never remove debris from between your teeth with anything other than floss. Until you are able to schedule an office visit, continue to clean the damaged area as part of your hygiene routine, but take special care not to reopen cuts or further damage teeth.

Finally, if all the extra cleaning and change in diet still don’t give you the movie star grin you desire, we have numerous cosmetic dentistry services that will brighten any smile. Often a simple whitening treatment can change your entire smile. Call today to schedule a consultation to determine if any of our cosmetic dentistry options might be right for you.

Make a Dental Hygiene Appointment Today

If you still have questions about the most effective ways to keep your teeth clean between hygiene visits, call us today to schedule an appointment. Avanti Dentistry’s friendly staff at your Tysons Corner, VA practice are here to help. We welcome patients form Tysons Corner and beyond including Vienna, Arlington, Fairfax, Washington, D.C., and McLean.

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