As your family dentist in Aloha, OR, our team at Bronitsky Family Dentistry strive to provide all of our patients with the quality dental care needed to enjoy a great looking smile for a lifetime. Dr. Bronitsky understands just how important a healthy, great looking smile can be for our patients’ confidence and their long-term health. While many people mistakenly believe that a smile naturally dims with time, you can take steps now that will help keep your smile looking its best for years to come.
Here are a few tips from our family dentist in Aloha, OR that will lower your risk for tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems that can threaten the health of your smile.
Brush Twice Daily
The primary threat to our oral health is plaque, a stick biofilm that’s made up of harmful bacteria and food particles that linger in the mouth after eating. Plaque converts the sugars we consume into a harmful acid that slowly erodes away at our tooth enamel. Over time, plaque can create holes in our enamel that leads to the development of cavities and further decay.
Brushing helps to remove plaque deposits from the surface of our teeth and along the gum line. By brushing once in the morning and again before bed, you can significantly reduce your risk of cavities and decay. Just make sure you spend the right amount of time brushing.
The American Dental Association recommends spending at least two minutes brushing each time you brush. Unfortunately, surveys have shown that the average person spends only 30 seconds brushing total a day. That’s just a quarter of the recommend time needed to ensure you adequately clean all of the crevices and hard to reach places of the mouth.
If you need help keeping track of how long you brush, consider keeping an eye on the clock, setting a timer on your phone, or using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer.
While much has been made recently about whether flossing actually helps to protect our oral health, the ADA and Dr. Bronitsky both continue to recommend this important habit to patients.
Flossing works to remove plaque deposits and food from areas of the mouth a toothbrush cannot reach – in-between our teeth and below the gum line. By skimping the flossing, you allow these harmful materials to build up between teeth where they can cause just as much damage. In fact, the most common place for cavities to develop in the mouth is actually between our teeth.
So the next you forget the floss, just remember that by spending just one minute a day flossing you dramatically reduce the risk for cavities and decay.
Eat a Balanced Diet
While brushing and flossing are the two most important daily habits you can practice to protect the long-term health of your teeth, a change in diet can also make an enormous difference.
The primary fuel that plaque needs to produce substances that damage tooth enamel is sugar. It just makes sense then that any diet high in artificial sugars would provide plaque with far more fuel than a diet that cuts back on sugar intake.
It’s not just the sugar in the sodas and candy bars that we eat that makes a difference. Starch is just another form of sugar, so all of the chips, crackers, and breads we snack on throughout the day contribute to our daily sugar intake.
So the next time you feel a little thirsty, reach for a cool and refreshing glass of water. If you feel a little peckish in the afternoon, have a snack of fresh fruits and veggies instead of something out of the office vending machine.