Dental Home Care Recommendations
For optimal dental health, preventative care is key. You need to take care of your teeth if you want to keep them for the rest of your life. This starts with what you are doing at home. Unfortunately, most people, even though they think they are doing it right, do not spend enough time or use proper technique in their dental hygiene routines. Dr. Ellenbogen wants to makes sure you are confident in your home dental care so you can be confident during your semi-annual appointments at our office in Vienna, VA.
Getting Back to Basics
When you were young you probably learned how to brush and floss your teeth properly, either from the dentist, your parents or a presentation at your school. But what from that little bit of education do you remember? Here is a little refresher to keep you and your smile on track.
Brushing Your Teeth
Most people only spend about one minute brushing their teeth in the morning and at night. This is not nearly enough time for two reasons. First, you need to be sure to clean every surface of every tooth, and clear bacteria along the gumline, the troughs of your jaws and cheeks and your tongue. This takes time and some effort to make sure every area gets the attention it deserves. Second, the fluoride in toothpaste is meant to be applied topically. The longer it is on your teeth, the better it can remineralize and strengthen your enamel. Dr. Ellenbogen recommends you brush two and a half to three minutes. You should try to follow a pattern to make sure you hit each surface. If you need help brushing that long try listening to your favorite song while you brush or set a timer.
Flossing Your Teeth
Again, many people may think they are flossing the right way but end up doing more harm than good. You are not supposed to flick the floss into the gums. Instead, you treat this just like brushing, rubbing up and down between the teeth and gently all the way into the gum line. This will help clean out the pockets of teeth and prevent the risk of periodontal infection (gum disease). Healthy gums should be pink and supple while infected gums are red, swollen or inflamed. At the first sign of infected gums, you should give Dr. Ellenbogen a call.
Nutrition and Oral Health
What you eat has a lot to do with the health of your mouth. Sugars and starches are bad because bacteria feast on these food particles and produce acids. This is what causes decay and infection. So, to keep your teeth healthy, you need to reduce the amount of sugar and starches you eat and the frequency. Try to encourage healthy snacks and meals, especially for your children. Raw fruits and vegetables are great options as are dairy foods with high calcium. Things to avoid include sweets, sodas, sports drinks and highly acidic foods and drinks.
Another important step is to protect your teeth during any dangerous extracurricular activity. Biking, wrestling, football, hockey, kayaking, skateboarding and lacrosse put your teeth at risk. If you or a family member participates in these activities, Dr. Ellenbogen recommends custom mouthguards to protect your teeth while you play.
Routine Dental Care
Many patients postpone their regular visits with the dentist or avoid it altogether. The danger in this is that oral health problems take time to develop. If caught in the early stages, the dentist can use less invasive treatments to stop the problem before it gets worse or causes more problems. However, if you do not schedule an appointment until you notice easy bleeding or have a severe toothache, it might be too late. With routine care, Dr. Ellenbogen and his staff can be on the watch for any arising problems, especially serious problems like gum disease, decay and oral cavities.
Benefits of Dental Home Care
- Reduced risk of dental decay and periodontal infection
- Detect and treat problems early
- Cut down on dental stains
- Decrease your risk of tooth loss
- Keep your smile looking great
Your home care routines are not something you can take lightly. Be sure you adhere to home care and contact us if you have any questions. We care about your dental health but even more so about your overall well being. In our office in Vienna, VA, we want to do what we can to keep you healthy, happy and confident in your smile.
Call Dr. Ellenbogen today at (703) 734-1095 to schedule your appointment or get answers about your home care questions. We are eager to help in any way possible.