Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy

Today I thought I would discuss my basic principles on good oral health.
The following ideas I have told my patients so many times that they can recite my talk by themselves.

First get a good toothbrush.
I only use the Sonicare toothbrush. It operates at 30,000 strokes per minute! I dare you to get close to that. The bristle tips are engineered to be safe for gum tissue and enamel. Electron microscopy photos show just how rounded the bristles are. When brushing make sure the brush head sweeps across the gum and tooth surface. One way to make sure you do it right is to place the brush head right where the tooth meets the gum line.

Second brush twice a day.
Always brush your teeth before bed time. When we sleep bacteria proliferate and cause decay.
Our own saliva is decreased at sleep and therefore not available to wash the bacteria out.
Also saliva has natural antibacterial peptides that can't help if your saliva quantity is decreased.
Brush in the morning and preferably after each meal.

Third floss daily
Floss is the only truly effective way to remove bacteria between teeth. We have all heard this message so just do it!

Fourth is to watch your diet
Carbohydrates, sugar, and acids all contribute to bacterial proliferation and then tooth decay.
The key is to not eat constantly from this group throughout the day. Drink water following one of these groups. If you are sipping a drink with sugar or acids, watch out for doing it for long periods. This allows the bacteria to increase!

Finally quit smoking.
Smoking contributes to gum disease. If you want to avoid getting gum disease and potentially oral cancer, then quit.

I hope these helpful hints work for you. They are my basic advice. If you follow my recommendations then you will reduce 80% of all tooth decay.

Doug Whitfield, DDS

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