While we all need checkups and cleanings to keep smiles strong and healthy, you also need to care for your teeth and gums from home. In today’s blog, your Ankeny, IA, dentist explains how to help care for your smile from your own home with brushing and flossing, and potential warning signs of trouble.
The Dangers of Plaque and Tartar
Plaque and tartar accumulate on our teeth with time. When we consume foods and drinks with a lot of sugar and starch, this leaves behind particles for bacteria to consume. In the process, a bacterial byproduct known as plaque begins coating the teeth. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar. Brushing and flossing may not remove plaque, but the steps help remove food particles and limit the buildup severity in between cleaning visits, during which we finally remove all buildup. Simply put, these daily actions help lower the risk of tooth decay and gum disease!
Brushing the Right Way
You should use a toothbrush with soft bristles, which limits damage if you brush too hard. You can use an electric or manual option, just as long as you take time to clean your teeth each day. Each session should take about two minutes, ensuring you reach every surface for several seconds. Make sure your toothpaste also contains fluoride, which strengthens outer enamel. You can also look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the packaging. You should brush in the morning when you first wake up, and then right before bed each evening. Remember, with whitening toothpastes there could be abrasive agents that while effective for removing stains, could weaken enamel in some cases too.
You also need to floss every evening. When we floss, we clean in between the teeth and remove the bits of food caught in the gum line, which could be beyond the reach of a manual or electric toothbrush. You should take an 18 or 20 inch length of tape, and wrap each end around both of your thumbs. Then hold the tape taut with your index fingers. Next, move the tape up and down each side of every tooth, dipping below the gum when you do. This removes food particles and prevents serious inflammation. If you have any questions about brushing and flossing, or if you would like to schedule a checkup and cleaning visit, then contact our team today.
Do You Have Questions About Caring for Your Smile?
At Peddicord Family Dentistry, our team is ready to help you take better care of your smile. Call Dr. Peddicord in our Ankeny, IA office at (515) 963-3339 to learn more about the benefits of keeping smiles healthy from home. With the right steps, you and your family can reduce your risk of cavities and disease!