Is it possible to lengthen the lifespan of your teeth? Yes, it is very possible. Your adult teeth are meant to last a lifetime and serve you well. But without proper care of your teeth, gums, and tongue, lasting a lifetime just won’t happen.
Lengthen the Lifespan of Your Teeth with Proper Care …
Brushing is the first step for healthy gums. It removes food and bacteria on your teeth where they meet the gums. Brushing also stimulates circulation in the gum tissue. As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first. Here are a few basics from the American Dental Association for proper brushing:
- Brush twice a day. And when you brush your teeth, take the time to do a thorough job.
- Here at Davis Dental, we recommend the use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric or battery-operated toothbrush. Electric or battery-operated toothbrushes, such as Sonicare, reduce plaque and gingivitis (a mild form of gum disease) better than manual toothbrushes do. Note: If you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively, consider purchasing a Sonicare toothbrush.
- Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle. The bristles should be pointed toward the area where your teeth meet your gums. Brush gently with short back-and-forth motions for a minimum of two minutes total. Brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces, and your tongue.
- Rinse your toothbrush with hot water after brushing each time you brush. Your toothbrush should be stored in an upright position and allowed to air-dry. To prevent cross-contamination in the event someone is sick, keep toothbrushes separate from other toothbrushes. Also, don’t cover your toothbrush or store it in a closed container. This encourages bacteria, mold, and yeast to grow on your toothbrush. Yuck!
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. If the bristles of your toothbrush become irregular or frayed before you’ve used it for three or four months, replace it early.
In addition to brushing, always floss. Flossing prevents tooth decay under the gum line and more serious issues with the gums themselves.
When you don’t take care of your gums, you put yourself at risk for:
This is a condition caused by the bacteria found in plaque. If your gums are red and swollen, and you see blood when you spit after brushing, you probably have gingivitis. Contact Davis Dental at (307) 634-3488 as soon as possible if you think you might have this gum condition.
This is a more advanced gum disease. It is caused by the persistent problems of gingivitis. Periodontal disease, causes gums to recede (pull back from the teeth). When left untreated, bacteria begins forming pockets between the teeth and gums. It weakens the jaw bone, and teeth begin to fall out since the jaw bone cannot support them. Visit American Academy of Periodontology for more about periodontal disease.
Note: Proper oral care is especially important for our elderly patients. the danger of tooth loss in the elderly is very real, especially if they have osteoporosis.
And since your toothbrush can’t reach the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gumline, daily flossing is a must for proper oral care. When you floss:
- Use about 18 inches of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger on one hand, and the rest around the middle finger on the opposite hand. Pinch the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Gently guide the floss between your teeth using a back-and-forth rubbing motion. Snapping the floss into your gums can damage your gums. Don’t do it! When the floss reaches your gumline, curve it into a “C” shape against one tooth.
- Slide the floss into the space between your gum and tooth. Move it up and down, scraping the side of the tooth. Unwind fresh floss each time you move to floss between the next two teeth.
- If flossing is difficult, use an interdental cleaner — dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, tiny brushes that are made to reach between teeth, a water flosser or wooden or silicone plaque remover.
All those tastebuds on your tongue create a haven for all kinds of bacteria. Ewww, right? You should give the same kind of care and attention to your tongue as you do your teeth and gums.
A healthy tongue is pink and without red painful bumps or irritation. Stick out your tongue. Is your tongue pink or does it have a white film on it? Can you remove that white film? It could be a fungal infection known as thrush. Ask Dr. Davis for an anti-fungal that will clear it up.
To keep your tongue is as clean as possible:
- Brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You don’t have to brush hard.
- Invest in a tongue cleaner. Stick out your tongue. Gently draw the scraper in a downward motion from the center to the tip of your tongue. Then do the side of your tongue.
- Use a little toothpaste to kill bacteria and make brushing or scraping easier. But avoid swallowing excess toothpaste!
- Rinse your mouth out completely after brushing and/or scraping your tongue. If there is any soreness, use a mild salt water mixture to swish and spit.
Visit Davis Dental Regularly to Lengthen the Lifespan of Your Teeth, Too!
With proper care of your teeth, gums, and tongue, you can lengthen the lifespan of your teeth! A healthy mouth leads to healthier teeth and bones. Ask Dr. Davis or our Davis Dental Staff for more information on proper oral health care. Contact (307) 634-3488 to schedule an appointment with the best dentist in Cheyenne today. We’re here to help you take great care of your mouth. Here’s to healthy teeth for a lifetime!
Quality Dental Care for Your Whole Family
3116 Acacia Drive
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm