Keeping Your Teeth Clean
Keeping your teeth clean is the foundation of good oral health. You’ve been brushing your teeth all your life, so you’re probably are pretty good at it—but it’s always advisable to periodically check in with ADA recommendations to ensure you are doing all you can to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Regular professional dental cleanings are the second part of a good preventive dental health regimen. No matter how well you brush and floss your teeth, plaque will accumulate in hard-to-reach areas, which can only be removed by professional tools and techniques.
If you are due for a cleaning, call our Alexandria dental office at (320) 763-7484 today to schedule a cleaning and check-up with Dr. Joseph Haack.
At Home Dental Care
We all know we’re supposed to brush our teeth twice a day, but do you know the brushing techniques recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA)? Do you know how long you should brush your teeth? If you are still using the same brushing technique you learned as a child, you may not be getting the full benefits of this crucial part of your daily routine.
And don’t forget flossing. The ADA recommends flossing once a day. Do you find time to floss thoroughly every day? If you only reach for the floss when you have something stuck in your teeth, you are skipping a crucial step in the war against tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing is not just for removing particles of food from between your teeth—it’s purpose is to remove the plaque build-up that leads to cavities.
Choose a brush with soft, rounded-end bristles.
Brush for a full 2 minutes, every time.
Brush in a variety of small movements: side to side, and in small circles.
Brush at a 45 degree angle.
Clean all surfaces of each tooth: lip-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces.
Gently brush the gums and tongue (use a back to front movement) to remove bacteria.
Replace your toothbrush appropriately every 3 months.
If you use an electric toothbrush, choose one with the ADA seal.
Floss between teeth, with a gentle up-and-down movement, to remove plaque.
Floss gently into the c-curve where the tooth meets the gum.
Use about 18 inches of floss, wrapped gently around your middle fingers, until they are about 2 inches apart.
Use a toothbrush with frayed or bent bristles.
Brush vigorously, as this can damage the gingiva (gums).
Pull the string back and forth against the gums.
Six-Month Dental Cleanings
In addition to your daily oral health routine, professional dental cleanings are a critical step in preventing tooth decay. During a teeth cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will also ask you questions about your oral care routine and look for any signs of change to your oral health. A trained hygienist will remove any plaque or tartar (mineralized plaque) that has accumulated, using a variety of tools. Scaling, tooth polishing, and debridement with ultrasonic tools may also be used to remove tartar.
In addition to cleaning your teeth, we will examine the gums to look for periodontal pockets that may have formed. This can be the first sign of gingivitis, which can lead to periodontitis (gum disease) and needs to be treated and controlled promptly. No matter how thorough your brushing and flossing routine may be, you alone are not capable of removing all the plaque from your teeth. The only way to know for certain that plaque and tartar are not developing in your mouth is with a professional dental cleaning.
Without regular dental cleanings, small problems can turn into big ones. When plaque is allowed to accumulate, cavities and gingivitis are likely to follow. Even if you’ve never experienced tooth decay, it can start at any stage of your life. The best way to prevent it is with regular cleanings every six months.
If you are due (or overdue) for a six-month dental cleaning, call our Alexandria dental office at (320) 763-7484 to schedule an appointment.