Frequently Asked Questions
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.
How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day as well.
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly:
• Make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth
• Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line
• Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth
• Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth
• Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth
• Don’t cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes
What is the proper way to floss?
The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly:
• Take 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1–2 inches in between for cleaning
• Gently move the floss up and down in the spaces around your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage
• As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gum line as well. Repeat this for the other tooth
• Repeat this process for all of your teeth
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth, from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing and tooth loss.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:
• Gums that bleed while brushing
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
• Bad breath that doesn’t go away
• Pus between your teeth and gums
• Loose teeth
• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• A change in the fit of partial dentures
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.