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Comprehensive Guide to Healthy Dental Habits in Sunnyvale, CA

Comprehensive Guide to Healthy Dental Habits in Sunnyvale, CA

How to Make Your Teeth Last for a Lifetime?

Thanks to better at-home care and in-office dental treatments, more people than ever before are keeping their teeth throughout their lives. Although some diseases and conditions can make dental disease and tooth loss more likely, most of us have a good deal of control over whether we keep our teeth into old age.

The most important thing you can do to maintain good oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Second to that will be visiting a family dentistry practice twice a year.

Most mouth woes are caused by plaque, that sticky layer of microorganisms, food particles and other organic matter that forms on your teeth. Bacteria in plaque produce acids that cause cavities. Plaque also leads to periodontal (gum) disease, a potentially serious infection that can erode bone and destroy the tissues surrounding teeth.

At Sunnyvale Dental Care family office, we usually advise that the best defense is to remove plaque daily before it has a chance to build up and cause problems. Brushing removes plaque from the large surfaces of the teeth and, if done correctly, from just under the gums. Flossing removes plaque between teeth.

Brushing and Flossing: The Foundation of Oral Health

The cornerstone of good oral health is regular brushing and flossing. Plaque, a sticky layer of microorganisms and debris on teeth, can lead to cavities and gum disease. Brushing removes plaque from tooth surfaces, while flossing addresses areas between teeth.

Brushing Guidelines for Healthy Teeth

Brush at least twice a day

Family dentistry practitioners recommend brushing just before going to bed. When you sleep, saliva decreases, leaving the teeth more vulnerable to bacterial acids. Teeth should also be brushed in the morning, either before or after breakfast, depending on your schedule. After breakfast, it is ideal to brush so food particles are removed. But if you eat in your car, at work or skip breakfast entirely, make sure you brush in the morning to get rid of the plaque that built up overnight.

Brush no more than three times a day

Brushing after lunch will give you a good mid-day cleaning. Remember, though, that brushing too often can cause gums to recede over time.

Brush lightly

Brushing too hard can cause gums to recede. Plaque attaches to teeth like jam sticks to a wooden spoon. It can’t be totally removed by rinsing, but just a light brushing will do the trick. Once plaque has hardened into calculus (tartar), brushing can’t remove it, so brushing harder won’t help. Try holding your toothbrush the same way you hold a pen. This encourages a lighter stroke. If your teeth have tartar already, the only way to get rid of it is to see a Sunnyvale family dentist to do a professional cleaning.

Brush for at least two minutes

Set a timer if you have to, but don’t skimp on brushing time. Longer is fine, but two minutes is the minimum time needed to adequately clean all your teeth. Many people brush for the length of a song on the radio. That acts as a good reminder to brush each tooth thoroughly.

Have a standard routine for brushing

Try to brush your teeth in the same order every day. Sunnyvale Dental Care is a family dental center in Sunnyvale, CA 94087, we feel that this helps patients remember to brush all areas of their mouths. If you do this routinely, it eventually will become second nature.

For example, brush the outer sides of your teeth from left to right across the top then move to the inside and brush rights to left. Repeat the pattern for your lower teeth. Always use a toothbrush with “soft” or “extra soft” bristles The harder the brush, the greater the risk of harming gum tissue.

Change your toothbrush regularly

As soon as the bristles begin to splay, the toothbrush loses its ability to clean properly. Throw away your old toothbrush after three months or when the bristles flare, whichever comes first. If you find your bristles flaring much sooner than three months, you may be brushing too hard. Try easing up.

Choose a brush that has a seal of approval by the American Dental Association

Oral health-care professionals say, “It’s not the brush, it’s the brusher,” meaning that the exact type of brush you use isn’t nearly as important as your brushing technique and diligence. Any approved brush will be a good tool, but you have to know how to use it.

Electric is fine, but not always necessary

Electric or power-assisted toothbrushes are a fine alternative to manual brushes. They are especially useful for people who are less than diligent about proper brushing technique or for people with physical limitations that make brushing difficult. As with manual brushes, choose soft bristles, brush for at least two minutes and don’t press too hard or you’ll damage your gums.

Choosing the Right Toothpaste

Remember, the best toothpaste for you may not be the best toothpaste for someone else. Toothpaste doesn’t merely clean teeth anymore. Different types have special ingredients for preventing decay, plaque control, tartar control, whitening, gum care, or desensitizing teeth.

Most toothpastes on the market today contain fluoride, which has been proven to prevent, stop, or even reverse the decay process. Tartar control toothpaste is useful for people who tend to build up tartar quickly, while someone who gets tooth stains may want a whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste will remove only surface stains, such as those caused by smoking, tea, or coffee.

To whiten teeth that are stained at a deeper level, talk with Sunnyvale family dentist Dr. Bhawna Gupta. Your needs will likely change as you get older, so don’t be surprised if your hygienist recommends a type of toothpaste you haven’t used before. Look for the ADA seal of approval, which assures that the toothpaste has met the standards set by the American Dental Association.

Once these conditions are met, choose the toothpaste that tastes and feels best. Gel or paste, wintergreen or spearmint work alike, so let personal preference guide your decision. Some people find certain ingredients irritating to teeth, cheeks, or lips. If you find that your teeth have become more sensitive or that your mouth is irritated after brushing, try changing toothpastes. If the problem continues, see your dentist.

How to Brush Teeth Properly?

  • Hold toothbrush horizontally with bristles partially on gums.
  • Tilt brush head to a 45-degree angle for reaching under the gum line.
  • Use short horizontal strokes or tiny circular motions for about 20 strokes, ensuring gentle motion.
  • Roll or flick the brush to move bristles from under the gum toward the tooth’s biting edge.
  • Repeat for each tooth, covering all surfaces and gum lines.
  • For front teeth, use a vertical brush position with gentle back-and-forth motion.
  • Clean biting surfaces by holding the brush straight down on molars, moving back and forth.
  • Rinse with water to clear the mouth of food residue and removed plaque.
  • Brush the tongue firmly but gently from back to front to clear more bacteria.
  • Avoid going too far back in the mouth to prevent gagging.
  • Rinse again for a thorough oral hygiene routine.

Flossing Guidelines for Healthy Teeth

Many people never learned to floss as children. But flossing is critical to healthy gums and it’s never too late to start. A common rule of thumb says that any difficult new habit becomes second nature after only three weeks. If you have difficulty figuring out what to do, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to give you a personal lesson. Here are a few general pointers about flossing:

Floss once a day

Although there is no research to recommend an optimum number of times to floss, most dentists recommend a thorough flossing at least once a day. If you tend to get food trapped between teeth, flossing more often can help remove it.

Take your time

Flossing requires a certain amount of dexterity and thought. Don’t rush.

Choose your own time

Although most people find that just before bed is an ideal time, many oral health professionals recommend flossing any time that is most convenient to ensure that you will continue to floss regularly. Choose a time during the day when you can floss without haste.

Don’t skimp on the floss

Use as much as you need to clean both sides of every tooth with a fresh section of floss. In fact, you may need to floss one tooth several times (using fresh sections of floss) to remove all the food debris. Although there has been no research, some professionals think reusing sections of floss may redistribute bacteria pulled off one tooth onto another tooth.

Choose the type that works best for you: 

There are many different types of floss: waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, ribbon and thread. Try different varieties before settling on one. People with teeth that are closely spaced will find that waxed floss slides more easily into the tight space. There are tougher shred-resistant varieties that work well for people with rough edges that tend to catch and rip floss.

How To Floss Correctly?

How you hold the floss is a matter of personal preference. The most common method is to wind the floss around the middle fingers then pull it taut and guide it with your index fingers. You also can wind it around your index fingers and guide it with your thumb and middle fingers or simply hold the ends of the floss or use a floss-guiding tool. (If you have a fixed bridge, a bridge threader can help guide floss under the bridge for better cleaning.) How you hold the thread is not as important as what you do with it. If you can’t settle in on a good method, ask your dentist or hygienist for suggestions.

  • Hold a short segment of floss ready for use.
  • Gently guide the floss between two teeth, avoiding snapping to prevent gum injury.
  • Wrap the floss around one tooth, creating a “C” shape, and clean the side edge.
  • Move the floss toward the base of the tooth and up into the space between the tooth and gum.
  • Move the floss up and down with light to firm pressure, repeating for all tooth surfaces.

Additional Cleaning Tools: Enhancing Your Dental Care Routine

Interdental Brushes
  • Tiny bristle or filament brushes designed for larger spaces between teeth.
  • Available in various sizes and handle designs.
  • Ideal for individuals with gum surgery history or misaligned teeth.
  • Effective for those with orthodontic bands, reaching spaces where floss may be less effective.
Wooden Interdental Cleaners
  • Long, triangular strips of wood for cleaning between teeth.
  • Soften the wood for easy use.
  • Useful for removing food particles and plaque in challenging areas.
  • Readily available at most drugstores and grocery stores.
Oral Irrigators
  • Electrical devices pumping water in a steady or pulsating stream.
  • Effective in flushing out food particles and bacterial byproducts.
  • Particularly useful in periodontal pockets and around orthodontic appliances.
  • Should be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Interdental Tip
  • Soft, flexible rubber nibs designed to clean between teeth.
  • Gently run the tip along the gum line to remove plaque and debris.
  • Provides precision and ease of use.
  • Enhances thorough cleaning between teeth and below the gum line.
Mouthwashes and Rinses
  • Complement brushing and flossing routine.
  • Over-the-counter rinses for freshening breath and adding fluoride.
  • Some rinses loosen plaque before brushing.
  • Consult with your dentist to determine the most suitable rinse, especially if alcohol-free options are needed.
Call Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Gupta at 408-720-0900 to schedule a consultation today!

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