The best way to avoid cavities and painful dental problems from developing is prevention. Preventing cavities and gum disease for you and your family members can best be accomplished by following the Four Ts of Family Dental Care.
Your toothbrush is one of the most important dental tools for cavity prevention. Toothbrushes should be replaced every four months. So that you don’t forget to replace your toothbrush, make replacement a seasonal habit so that when the seasons change you discard your old toothbrush and get a new one. The best toothbrushes are those that have soft bristles. Sometimes our Raleigh dentists recommend electric toothbrushes to patients. Most of the time these patients have a higher than average accumulation of plaque and the high speed bristles help reduce the plaque build-up.
The other tool you will use with your toothbrush is toothpaste. Only use toothpastes that are approved by the American Dental Association (they will have an ADA logo on the packaging) and that contain fluoride. Fluoride is a natural element also found in the water we drink and the food we eat. Fluoride is very resistant to acid attacks, which makes it key in preventing cavities. Your other essential tool is floss. Remove debris stuck between teeth with floss twice per day or after every meal.
When brushing, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Our Raleigh dental office recommends this the optimal angle for plaque removal and contacting the teeth and gum line. The best technique is a circular motion over the surface of each tooth. Your teeth are not the only part of your mouth that need attention during brushing. It’s also good practice to brush your tongue. Our tongues are covered in bacteria that can easily travel to the surface of your teeth when you’re done brushing. The bacteria not only affect your dental health, but it can cause bad breath problems too.
You have brushed your teeth with a new soft-bristle brush and an ADA-approved toothpaste containing fluoride and you brushed away the bad bacteria on your tongue. You finished flossing between every tooth. Your smile looks clear and your mouth feels clean. But did you remove as much plaque as you think you have? In between visits to Six Forks Smiles you can test your brushing skills at home by using a disclosing tablet after your brushing routine. Disclosing tablets are easily found at your local pharmacy; the tablets stain teeth wherever plaque is present so it’s best to use late in the day so that the color solution will fade while you sleep. Use precaution if you’re concerned about your appearance since the dye from the disclosing tablets can last up to a day. This is a great test to take because it will show you areas of your mouth you will need to pay more attention to during brushing.
Your at-home dental routine is important to establish, however twice yearly dental appointments at Six Forks Smiles will give your teeth a much deeper cleaning and will be able to catch cavities early if they start.