Our dentists at Growing Smiles answer the most common questions about dental health.
What type of toothbrush should I use to keep my dental health?
For most people, a soft-bristled toothbrush will be the most comfortable and safest choice. Medium- and hard-bristled brushes may damage your gums, root surfaces, and protective tooth enamel, depending on how vigorously you brush your teeth. Apply gentle pressure for two minutes twice a day.
Both powered and manual toothbrushes clean teeth well. A manual brush with mixed bristle heights or angled bristles cleans better than one with flat, even bristles. Powered toothbrushes may be easier if you have trouble using your hands.
Every three to four months, set the alarm to remind you to replace your toothbrush. The bristles should be thrown out if bent or spread out because they won't clean more effectively.
What type of toothpaste should I use?
Most kinds of toothpaste can eliminate acids and bacteria that grow in food and drinks. ADA-approved toothpaste contains fluoride, which strengthens and protects teeth. You can buy natural kinds of toothpaste and powders that have yet to be tested and approved by the American Dental Association if you don't want to use fluoride.
Do I need to floss to keep my dental health?
Flossing your teeth every day is an absolute necessity. It clears food and plaque from between teeth and under the gumline. When plaque isn't removed, it hardens into tartar, which creates wedges and widens pockets between the teeth and gums. As a result, gums will pull away, and teeth will loosen.
It doesn't matter whether the floss is waxed or unwaxed. Another easy option is to use floss picks or interdental brushes.
Does a rinse or mouthwash help?
Using mouthwash regularly, brushing and flossing, you can protect your teeth from cavities, reduce sensitivity, and freshen your breath. But they should not replace daily brushing and flossing. Depending on your needs, your dentist can recommend the right type. People who have gum disease need twice-daily rinses.
Children shouldn't use mouthwash under 6 years old to avoid swallowing it.
Why do I need dental exams?
Early detection of problems helps prevent more costly and larger treatments in the future.
Cleaning your teeth with a dental hygienist is the first step. Next, the dentist probes spots on the surfaces and near the gumline with special tools. You may have sore and sensitive areas if it's been a while since your last appointment.
Ideally, you should have an exam every six months or more often if your dentist recommends it.
Make sure you find a dentist who makes you feel comfortable and explains everything you need to care for your dental health. Often the dread of seeing the dentist turns to big relief when the visit is over, and you have a care plan set up. Being positive as a parent can help your kids overcome their fears.