Preventive Care

Preventive dental care is important throughout your life, no matter what your age is. By practicing good oral hygiene at home and scheduling regular checkups with our office, you can help keep your smile bright and healthy for many years to come.

Here are a few simple ways you can prevent the build-up of plaque and cavities:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use fluoride toothpaste to remove food particles and plaque from the tooth surfaces. Also be sure to brush the top surface of your tongue; this will remove any extra plaque-causing food particles, and help keep your breath fresh!
  • Clean between your teeth by flossing at least once a day. You can also use a mouthwash to help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Decay-causing bacteria can linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Floss and mouthwash will help remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

    Printable instructions >

     

    Brushing instructions
    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 1

      Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.

    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 2

      Brush gently in a circular motion.

    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 3

      Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 4

      Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.

     

    Flossing instructions
    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 1

      Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and the other finger takes it up as the floss is used.

    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 2

      Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.

    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 3

      Holding the floss tightly, gently saw it between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.

    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 4

      Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.

     

  • Eat a balanced diet, and try to avoid extra-sugary treats. Nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, or fruit can help keep your smile healthy.
  • Remember to schedule regular checkups with our office every six months for a professional teeth cleaning.
  • Ask Dr. John about dental sealant, a protective plastic coating that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts.
  • If you play sports, be sure to ask us about special mouthguards designed to protect your smile.

If it’s been six months since your last dental checkup, then it’s time to contact our practice and schedule your next appointment!

Habits

Habits are behaviors we repeat so often we don’t have to think about them. They are automatic. In many ways, habits simplify our lives.

Unfortunately, many of us develop habits that are not good for our health. For instance, did you know that, except when chewing or swallowing, your teeth should not touch? Many people keep their teeth together all the time.

This places strain on the chewing muscles. Most of the time, you should keep your lips together and your teeth apart.

The good news is that habits CAN be changed, but the longer they exist, the harder it is to do so. The first step in changing any habit is to recognize it. Ask Dr. John about other habits which may damage your dental health.

Stress

We hear about stress all the time and experience it much of the day. Stress is our reaction to any change in our lives. It is fundamental to everyday living.

Yet too much stress causes wear and tear on the body. Usually, the body will eventually break down at its weakest link. For some people, this breakdown may occur in the jaws and teeth.

People who tend to carry their tension in their jaws often find themselves clenching their teeth throughout the day and night. This means the muscles around the mouth and jaw are always tense and are unable to relax.

Eventually, continual jaw tension can lead to symptoms such as tired and sore jaw muscles, cracked and chipped teeth, or broken fillings.

If you suspect you suffer from dental stress, discuss this with Dr. John. Though we cannot eliminate stress from our lives, we can pay attention to our bodies so the effects of stress are less damaging.