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Woman brushing her teeth

Dental Routine and Gum Care in South Hampton Roads

Woman brushing her teeth

Good oral health is an essential component of your good overall health, so it’s as important to maintain a healthy mouth as it is a healthy body. Seemingly innocuous decisions can have a cumulative effect and result in long-term adverse consequences for your teeth and gums. Conversely, they can also have positive consequences. For instance, if you neglect to brush or floss at night just once each week, you can encourage the formation of plaque and bacteria that can result in periodontal disease. However, if you brush and floss even when you feel you’re too tired, you can delay the formation of gum disease, cavities, and infection. 

Call our South Hampton Roads office for more information or to schedule an appointment with a periodontist to review your gum health.

Twice-Daily Brushing

The American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice every day. Brushing more often is better, but twice daily is the minimum you should strive to maintain. Each quadrant of your mouth should be brushed for a minimum of 30 seconds. A quadrant is one-fourth of your mouth as follows:

  • The upper right side of your jaw
  • The lower right side of your jaw
  • The upper left side of your jaw
  • The lower left side of your jaw

It doesn’t matter whether you brush the left side first or the right side, the upper teeth or the lower teeth. The important factor is that you brush for two full minutes each time you brush. Although brushing for less time is better than not brushing at all, two full minutes will provide the optimum benefit for your teeth.

After you eat, bacteria remain in your mouth, and if not removed through brushing and flossing, plaque begins to form, and it settles in the crevices between your teeth and gums. Plaque is a very tough substance that can only be removed by a periodontist or a dentist, and if it remains on the teeth, periodontal disease can start. Remember to brush your tongue also, since its rough surface is an ideal hiding place for bacteria.

Toothbrush Basics

Equally important to your brushing routine is the type of toothbrush you use. Unless your periodontist recommends otherwise, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush with bristles of uneven lengths because the longer bristles can reach between the teeth while the shorter bristles clean the surfaces of the teeth. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric one, it should have uneven bristles.

When you’re brushing, slow and gentle pressure is the most important factor. Brushing faster and with more pressure can damage the tooth enamel, so brush in a circular motion with gentle pressure and a back-and-forth stroke to maximize the benefit of your brushing regimen.

Replace your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you’ve been sick and recuperated. If the bristles start to splay outward, then replace your toothbrush.

Toothpaste Basics

Most toothpaste brands now contain fluoride, which is a naturally-occurring mineral that strengthens your tooth enamel. This helps to fight cavities. Although most municipalities now fluoridate their water supply, it’s only done to a minimum therapeutic level, so it’s unlikely that you’ll get too much fluoride in your system from both water and toothpaste. If you have questions, however, be sure to ask your South Hampton Roads periodontist. Either gel or paste toothpaste is fine, but no matter which type you use, always make sure it carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This applies to all your oral hygiene purchases, whether it’s a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, or mouthwash.

Flossing

Almost as important as brushing, flossing your teeth can remove food particles and bacteria that your toothbrush can’t reach, such as between your teeth and gums. You should floss at least once daily, preferably just before bedtime, even if you brush and floss throughout the day. Ideally, you should brush and floss each time you have a meal or snack, but that’s not always possible. Flossing just before bedtime removes any residual bacteria and food particles between your teeth and gums, so they don’t remain on your teeth overnight and start to decay and cause periodontal disease.

The type of floss you use doesn’t matter as long as it carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Whether you opt for traditional dental floss, dental picks, or a water flosser, the important issue is to floss well at least once each day. The picks are the most portable, but any type will be satisfactory. But if you have questions, ask your periodontist.

Dental Care Boosts in South Hampton Roads

Mouthwash is a simple and effective boost for your oral hygiene regimen. Just make sure it carries the ADA Seal of Approval. Antibacterial mouthwash can remove residual bacteria from your tongue, teeth, and gums so that you have a healthier mouth in addition to fresh breath. Mouthwash is available over-the-counter as well as by prescription for those who need it. Ask your periodontist to recommend the best mouthwash for you.

Snacking on fruits, nuts, and vegetables is healthier for your oral hygiene as well as your waistline. Their crunchy texture will help clear your mouth of bacteria and provide you with fresher breath.

Oral Health on the Go

If you’re frequently out and about where your oral hygiene routine isn’t feasible, you can rinse your mouth with plain water to eliminate much of the bacteria from your meal. You can also invest in travel-sized containers of your favorite floss, mouthwash, and toothpaste, as well as a travel-sized toothbrush so that you can carry your oral hygiene regimen with you.

Dental Visits Matter

No matter the quality of your oral hygiene regimen, you still need at least annual visits to your dentist or periodontist. Some diseases, such as oral cancer, present asymptomatically, so you can have them but be unaware of their presence. Your periodontist can spot them and other issues before they escalate into major issues. They can also recommend improvements to your oral hygiene routine so you can have the best dental health possible.

Schedule a Visit with a Periodontist

If it’s been a while since you’ve had a professional exam and teeth cleaning, then now is an excellent time to schedule one. Don’t neglect your dental or gum health because you don’t notice any signs of a problem. You need to get screened for oral cancer, which is the fastest spreading cancer in the nation, accounting for more than three percent of all new cancer cases.

Our caring and dedicated staff would love to help you with your oral hygiene, so call Dental Specialty Centers of Virginia at to schedule an appointment. By working together, we can ensure you have the healthiest teeth and gums possible.

Call us today. You’ll be glad you made the call.

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