By Kimberly Chapman, D.D.S
January 16, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral hygiene  

What your family dentist in Bothell, Washington, wants you to know :
(What Happens In Your Mouth Does NOT Stay in Your Mouth!)

A daily dental regimen is a vital part of taking care of your smile, preserving your oral health, and your overall body health. Dr. Kimberly oral hygiene habitsA. Chapman, your family dentist in Bothell, Washington, wants to share with you how to develop healthy habits, and maintain your beautiful smile for life.

First, let’s look at why you need a dental regimen. The goal is to remove plaque every day, because plaque contains bacteria. When combined with the sugars from the foods you eat, these bacteria produce acids that are strong enough to destroy the hardest tissue in your body - your enamel.  Enamel does not regrow, and after the age of 6, we do not make anymore enamel.

When you brush and floss regularly, you are removing these bacteria, and helping prevent plaque and acids from causing damage to enamel and causing gum disease. The longer plaque is allowed to remain on your teeth, the more decay and gum disease it may cause.

A great dental regimen doesn’t need to take a long time and should be very simple. It does take practice to do correctly though, so don't give up! Keep practicing. Dr. Chapman wants you to remember to:

  1. Brush your teeth after breakfast (not before) and before bedtime, using a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Some people may even need to brush after lunch.
  2. A soft or extra soft toothbrush is very important because it will be gentle on your teeth and gums. Medium and hard bristle brushes should be THROWN AWAY or only used to clean the grout in your shower. They are very damaging to teeth and gums.
  3. The very best toothbrush is a sonic toothbrush used properly - by holding it like a pencil, not in your palm, and not by scrubbing.
  4. Fluoride is important because it strengthens your enamel and can prevent tooth decay. People who have had a cavity within the last 3 years are at an increased risk for future cavities due to the bacterial populations present. Fluoride is needed even more for those individuals. The benefits of fluoride were discovered in natural water sources that had fluoride already occurring in them. People drinking from those water sources developed far fewer cavities, and this is still seen today in dental offices. Someone who drank fluoridated water from birth to age 6 will have fewer cavities in their lifetime that an individual who did not have fluoride in their water, when other factors are similarly controlled for. Just like any element, plant, herb or drug, there is a beneficial amount but too much can be harmful. Even drinking too much plain water can be lethal.
  5. Floss your teeth at least once every day. Brushing alone doesn’t clean between your teeth where many cavities start. Use a single piece of floss (waxed or unwaxed, whatever your prefer) to floss between each tooth, curving around each tooth surface toward the front and back of the contact where the floss goes into. You can also use floss picks or threaders if you have arthritis or dexterity issues, but remember that they aren't curved and therefore do not  clean the curved surfaced as well between teeth as good old fashioned floss.
  6. You must include regular dental visits as part of your dental regimen. Dental examinations and x-rays are often the only way to tell if you have decay or dental problems before they become major, such as something starting to hurt or breaking. An exam with x-rays can identify problems while they can still be fixed with a small filling, instead of needing more expensive  and invasive treatments like crowns or root canals. You should visit your dentist at least every six months for professional hygiene cleanings, and at least yearly for an exam and x-rays. Many people need to have their cleanings more frequently such as every 3 or months, in order to appropriately treat and prevent recurrence of their gum disease.

A thorough daily dental regimen is necessary to enjoy good dental health. No one wants to experience the unexpected crisis of a broken tooth, or waking up with a toothache, swollen face or jaw one morning. Dental disease is largely silent until there is a significant problem, so don't let the absence of symptoms fool you. Take care of yourself, and see a dentist regularly.

And don't forget - good dental health is necessary for good overall health! There is a growing body of scientific evidence linking poor oral health to increased risks for conditions like cardiac disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. This is because of shared pathways in chronic inflammatory conditions. We have one immune system in our body, and when there is infection or inflammation anywhere, it affects our entire immune system.  Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in your mouth doesn't stay in your mouth!

Dr. Chapman wants to partner with you to ensure you have a healthy, beautiful smile, and have the best total body health. Call Dr. Kimberly A. Chapman, your family dentist in Bothell, Washington at (425) 488-6120 for more information today.