Frequently Asked Questions
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.ge Questions" button.
How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day as well.
Why is it important to use dental floss?
Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
• Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
• Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
• Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
• Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
What is the proper way to floss?
• Take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the hands.
• Gently move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage.
• As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gumline as well. Repeat this for the other tooth.
• Repeat this process for all of your teeth.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. If plaque is not removed it can begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.
What can I do about bad breath?
Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups to the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. Make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
What is Periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
• red, swollen or tender gums
• gums that bleed while brushing
• gums that have pulled away from the teeth
• bad breath that doesn’t go away
• pus around the teeth and gums
• loose teeth
• a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• a change in the fit of partial dentures
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. Make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.
How can Cosmetic Dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask Dr. Todd Bullard and our team how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.