Preventive dental care is important throughout your life, whether you are an adult who has worked hard to have great oral health or a child whose first tooth has arrived. By combining effective home hygiene with visits to our Fort Collins dental office for professional cleanings and exams every six months, you can help ensure a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles.
Establishing Healthy Habits
Your home oral hygiene routine shouldn’t be a chore — brushing and flossing should be fun! Think of it as a daily massage for your teeth and gums. If you are a busy parent, maybe that brushing and flossing can be “me” time alone before you start your busy day or part of your routine to unwind at night. When Dr. Cox’s kids were young, brushing and flossing was part of the family’s bedtime routine. It may sound corny, but the kids loved it — and they loved the extra attention they got from dad in the evenings. Did you know that kids really don’t have the manual dexterity to be able to brush their teeth properly until between the ages of six to nine? Be sure to help junior with his nightly oral hygiene routine.
Healthy teeth and gums from a young age are so important to remaining in good dental health as an adult. Establishing proper oral hygiene habits in young children is key to good dental health that will last a lifetime. And please, never, ever put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice — this causes bottle rot.
What’s the big deal about brushing and flossing?
Brushing after meals removes plague and prevents buildup of tartar on your teeth, both of which can cause cavities. Brushing also stimulates the gum tissue, that is, it helps improve blood flow around the tissues that support your teeth, and healthy gums mean healthy teeth! Brushing right before you go to bed is especially important because you don’t want any leftover food particles or the sugar from any beverages sitting on your teeth all night. Those particles can cause unhealthy bacteria to stagnate in your mouth and in your body in general. Did you know that unwanted oral (mouth) bacteria has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes?
Brushing also helps prevent bad breath — and who wants bad breath? Be sure to brush your tongue because bacteria that collect on your tongue are a leading cause of bad breath. The other main cause of bad breath is periodontal (gum) disease.
Flossing is important and should be done every day. We know, most people hate to floss — and even Dr. Cox has missed a night or two of flossing — but it really is important to make it a habit. While Dr. Cox and our team will tell you that flossing should be done before you go to bed — as it is the best time to do it — if you’re more of a morning routine person or have a few extra minutes at your lunchtime break, floss then. The important thing is to make it part of your daily routine and floss at least once a day.
Flossing acts much like brushing — it removes unwanted food particles in hard to reach places from between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. It also stimulates the gums in those hard to reach places. It is especially important to floss in areas where you have had dental work such as a crown. Those areas are more prone to collecting food particles, so it’s important to really get in there with some floss and keep those tissues healthy. You paid a lot of (well-spent) money for that crown — keep it clean and healthy so it will last you a long, long time.
If you have the brushing and flossing routine down, and you really want to be an oral hygiene all-star pro, ask our hygienist about how to properly use a sulca brush to take your oral care to the next level. We are happy to provide you with a free sulca brush at your next visit to our Fort Collins dental office — just ask!
Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes
While brushing — regardless of the tool used — is always the bottom line goal, using an electric toothbrush does have its advantages. An electric toothbrush allows for a more even distribution of pressure and motion on the tooth surface. Most people tend to enjoy brushing with an electric toothbrush so they tend to spend more time brushing, which is always a good thing. Some electric toothbrushes actually have built in timers on them to let you know when you have spent enough time on specific areas of your mouth, so be sure to read the instruction manual with your toothbrush for specific directions.
If you don’t have an electric toothbrush but would like to buy one, we have them available for purchase at our Fort Collins, CO dental office. If you don’t know how to use an electric toothbrush, be sure to ask your hygienist to show you proper brushing techniques. We are happy to answer any brushing and flossing questions you may have.