Posts for tag: oral hygiene
How much time do you devote to oral hygiene every day? If your mornings are hectic, you may not be devoting enough time to this important task. Our Federal Way, WA, dentist, Dr. Todd Yoshino, explains how long you should spend on brushing and flossing and shares a few tips that will help you keep your teeth healthy.
Five minutes is all it takes to protect your smile
Brushing your teeth get rids of surface stains, loosens food particles stuck between teeth, freshens your breath and removes plaque from your teeth. Unfortunately, if you just make a quick pass with your toothbrush because you're running late in the morning, or skip your nightly brushing because you're just too tired, plaque remains on your teeth. The sticky film causes cavities and may even increase your gum disease risk. When you don't remove plaque every day, it may eventually turn into a hard brownish deposit called tartar. Tartar irritates your gums and is responsible for gum disease.
Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time will help you ensure that you don't miss a spot. When you include a one-minute flossing session with your morning or evening brushing, you'll also get rid of plaque between teeth.
Brushing too hard can hurt your teeth and gums
Using a little elbow grease can be helpful when you're trying to remove a stain from the floor of your Federal Way kitchen. The same principle doesn't apply to your teeth. If you brush too hard, use a toothbrush with flayed or worn out bristles, or don't use a soft bristle brush, you can damage your tooth enamel. Brushing too hard or using an old brush can also cause your gums to recede, which may cause tooth sensitivity when you eat or drink hot or cold foods.
For best results, gently brush at a 45-degree angle with a soft bristle brush. Replace your tooth brush every three months or when it shows signs of wear.
Mouthwash offers added protection
Following your brushing and flossing session with mouthwash offers a little added protection against tooth decay and gum disease. Mouthwashes that contain fluoride remineralize weak areas of tooth enamel at risk of cavities, while anti-bacterial types kill bacteria that can cause cavities. Avoid rinsing or drinking a beverage for about 30 minutes after you spit out the mouthwash to take full advantage of the benefits of mouthwash.
Good oral hygiene techniques and regular dental visits help your teeth bright and healthy. If it's time for your next appointment, call Federal Way, WA, dentist, Dr. Yoshino, at (253) 815-0441.
When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?
For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.
Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.
Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:
- It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
- A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
- Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
- Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!
Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.
“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”
That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.
Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:
- Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!
So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”
Discover the best ways to promote the very best oral health for the long term.
You’ve been caring for your smile since you can remember, so it may seem silly to even ponder ways to keep your smile healthy. Of course, we can often go on autopilot when it comes to caring for our smiles because we are so used to doing these same habits time and time again. That’s when mistakes are made. Plus, you wouldn’t imagine how many people don’t know how long they need to be brushing their teeth, how often they should floss or other ways to keep their smiles clean. Our Federal Way, WA, dentist, Dr. Todd Yoshino, offers up tips on how to keep your oral health in tip-top shape:
Do you know how often you should be replacing your toothbrush? About every three to four months. Toothbrushes aren’t designed to last forever and the moment you notice that the bristles of your toothbrush are frayed it’s time to toss it and replace it with a brand new one. Old, frayed toothbrushes can actually scratch and damage healthy tooth enamel. You will also want to immediately replace your toothbrush after an illness.
Do you know long you should be brushing your teeth? About two to three minutes, and this is every time you brush. Ideally, you should be brushing your teeth in the morning and then again at night before bedtime. You wouldn’t believe how quickly people brush their teeth and rush this part of their oral routine, which is a great disservice to their smiles. This is one of the best and easiest ways to keep your teeth clean. While some electronic toothbrushes come with an automatic timer if your toothbrush doesn’t make sure to set a timer so that you and the whole family is taking enough time to thoroughly brush.
Do you know how often you should floss? At least once a day. While when you floss isn’t as important as whether or not you floss each day, ideally you’ll want to floss at night right before you brush. Why should you floss before you brush? Because floss is able to remove plaque and food from between teeth so that toothpaste is able to reach more tooth surfaces to get a more effective clean.
Do you know when you should be visiting our Federal Way family dentist? Every six months is ideal. Of course, those who have braces and those at higher risk of decay, gum disease or other issues may need to come in more regularly. These six-month visits are vitally important because we are able to remove plaque and tartar buildup and detect problems right away when they are easier to treat.
Our Federal Way, WA, general dentist, Dr. Yoshino, is dedicated to providing you with the best dental care possible. Whether you need to schedule your next cleaning or you want to talk about cosmetic dentistry options, we are here for you. Call us today!