Getting a clean bill of health at your semi-annual dental checkup exam is like getting all A+’s on your report card in grade school: It’s satisfying to know you did well leading up to the exam, and you usually get a treat afterword.
To make sure you get an A+ on your next dental check-up, you can follow these simple steps to keep your teeth and gums in good shape and cavity free.
- Brush your teeth – At a minimum, brush your teeth twice a day, every day. To really get that A+, though, you’ll want to brush your teeth after every meal. Brushing your teeth helps eliminate plaque, the gum-disease causing mixture of bacteria and food particles that stick to your teeth. Brushing your teeth with toothpaste that contains flouride can also help prevent cavities by protecting against bacteria that can eat away at your enamel. To brush properly, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you the best techniques. You’ll want to brush each tooth in a gentle, circular motion – and make sure to get the tongue, too.
- Floss once a day – Brushing your teeth can’t catch all the plaque on your teeth, especially in the really hard-to-reach areas between them. To floss properly, take an 18-inch strip and wrap around your index fingers. Maneuver the floss to your gumlines and curve around one side of a tooth and gently slide up-and-down. Repeat for each side of your teeth, moving to clean segments of your floss as you go. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for more tips, and make sure to ask if other ways of removing plaque between your teeth, such as floss picks, are right for you.
- Eat and drink calcium, not sugar – Calcium helps keep the bones that support your teeth strong, and the foods that contain it are delicious – milk (lactose-free for those with a sensitivity), yogurt, part-skim cheeses, and certain leafy green vegetables, to name a few. Other delicious foods, however, can harm your teeth – sugar, sticky candies and desserts such as caramel can feed the bacteria that produce acids in the mouth and destroy your teeth. Starchy foods such as bread can stick and trap bacteria with them. You can reduce your risk by rinsing your mouth out with water after eating these foods, but to get that A+, brush right after (or better yet avoid that real sugary stuff altogether). Also, staining foods (see INSERT LINK TO BLOG POST) can also take down your dental exam grade, as these foods also tend to wear down your enamel.
If you follow these steps – as well as other approved good dental practices – we can’t wait to give you your well-deserved good grade on your next dental exam. Call us at (708) 460-3040 today!