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Couple brushing their teeth

Basic Dental Care in Philadelphia

Couple brushing their teeth

Did you know that healthy teeth can make you live longer? It’s true. Research has established a direct correlation between good oral health and good physical health. Conversely, having poor oral health can contribute to an early demise. The reason for these seemingly unconnected statistics is that poor oral health causes inflammation due to the bacteria present. Then, the bloodstream carries the bacteria to the major organs and throughout the body. Poor oral health has been shown to contribute to diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and more. So if you want to live a longer and healthier life, make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.

If it’s been a while since you had a dental exam and teeth cleaning, click here for an appointment.

What’s Considered Basic Dental Care?

Guidelines published by the American Dental Association indicate the following the minimum basic activities for good oral health:

  • Brush at least two times daily
  • Floss at least once daily
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Schedule an annual dental exam and cleaning

You can, of course, do more than these, such as brushing and flossing after every snack or meal and visiting the dentist every six months, but the above are the minimum standards for good oral hygiene.

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How Many Times Do I Need to Brush Daily?

At a minimum, you should brush twice each day, and one of those times should be just before bedtime. Don’t eat or drink anything except plain water after you’ve brushed so that you don’t introduce new bacteria or food particles.

When you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush unless your dentist has instructed otherwise. It should have bristles of varying lengths, and the toothbrush should be appropriately sized for your mouth. Some adults need a smaller toothbrush, and some children need a larger one, so buy according to your needs, not the package verbiage.

Brush in a circular motion with gentle pressure, and use back and forth motions. Brush each quadrant of your mouth for at least 30 seconds, so your total brushing time should be two full minutes. A quadrant in your mouth is defined as the upper and lower right side and the upper and lower left side of your mouth. It doesn’t matter whether you brush the upper first or the lower, the right side first or the left, as long as each area receives at least 30 seconds of brushing.

Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if you’ve been ill and have recuperated. If the bristles begin to deteriorate, change your toothbrush. Whether you prefer a manual or an electric toothbrush doesn’t matter, as long as you follow the above guidelines. If you’re unsure about the best toothbrush for your needs, ask your dentist.

Should I Use Fluoridated Toothpaste?

Most brands of toothpaste contain fluoride as the result of research from the 1950s. Research results indicated that fluoride strengthened tooth enamel and reduced decay, so now fluoride is a component of most brands of toothpaste. Many municipalities also add fluoride to their water supply, so many people are concerned that they’ll get too much fluoride in their diets. This isn’t usually the case because water is fluoridated only to the minimum level required for health, and over fluoridation has symptoms, but if you’re concerned, speak to your dentist.

How Many Times Do I Need to Floss Daily?

The American Dental Association states that you should floss at least once each day, but that flossing after each snack or meal is best. After you eat, food particles remain between your teeth, and flossing removes them. Otherwise, they begin to form plaque, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist. When plaque remains on the teeth, it causes inflammation, and gum disease is the result. So floss at least once daily, preferably just before bedtime, and don’t eat anything after you floss.

It doesn’t matter whether you prefer a water flosser, floss picks, or traditional dental floss; all are equally effective. However, if you have questions about which is best for you, ask your Philadelphia dentist.

Are There Additional Tips for Basic Dental Hygiene?

Mouthwash is a great addition to any oral care routine, and regular or non-alcoholic formulas are equally effective. Mouthwash can remove any residual bacteria that your brushing and flossing efforts missed, and it provides fresh breath as well. Your tongue’s surface is very rough, so it’s an ideal place for bacteria to accumulate, but mouthwash will remove them.

Your diet also plays a role in your dental health. Rather than snack on high-calorie, low-nutrient chips and sweets, consider snacking on fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Their crunchy texture will help remove food particles from your mouth, while the increased vitamins and minerals in them will help your energy and the number on your scale.

Also, consider drinking plain water rather than high-calorie and sugar-laden sodas and sports drinks. More than half of your body is water, so consuming plain water will result in a healthier body as well as a healthier mouth.

What Are Some On-the-Go Tips?

Dental hygiene can be challenging for those who are typically away from home or traveling during the day. Some people assemble a to-go dental kit that contains travel-sized versions of their favorite dental products so they can take their hygiene with them no matter where they go. If brushing and flossing are simply not an option, rinse your mouth well with plain water until it’s convenient to resume your hygiene regimen.

Are There Good Prevention Habits?

Your best dental prevention habit is frequent visits to your Philadelphia dentist. Your dentist has years of experience in their field and can help you maintain the best oral health possible. In addition, they may be able to spot minor issues before they escalate. For example, oral cancer is the fastest spreading disease now, and it presents asymptomatically, which means that by the time you’re aware of it, it will have spread. Your dentist can detect oral cancer before you can, so be sure to make an appointment for a screening.

We recommend that all our patients get screened for oral cancer during their annual exam. The screening is non-invasive, and it’s painless, but it can prevent major problems in the future.

Click here to schedule your next appointment for a cleaning and exam!

We Can Help You

If you’re due for an annual exam and teeth cleaning, if you need an oral cancer screening, or if you need any other dental procedure, we can help you. We’re among the best in the area so we know you’ll be happy with your sparkling clean teeth and smile.

Click here to schedule your cleaning today! We look forward to working with you.

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