Caring For Your Teeth
There are many techniques and tools available to efficiently remove bacterial plaque from your teeth. The dental hygienists at Ousborne and Keller will work with you to develop a custom tailored regimen that works best for you! They will evaluate the effectiveness of your home care at every appointment and make changes as needed to help you keep a healthy and beautiful smile.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are many over-the-counter products available to assist in maintaining your oral health. Drs. Ousborne and Keller recommend the following things to help keep your mouth healthy.
The first is a toothbrush. We suggest either a soft, manual “traditional” toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, in particular the Oral-B Professional Care. These automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients.
In addition to brushing, some form of interproximal (between the teeth) care is necessary for most patients. This could include floss, proxibrushes and/or oral irrigators. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You will need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irritator. Our knowledgeable dental hygienists will work with you to find the tools that will work best for you.
Additionally, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40 percent. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but since gum disease starts below the gum line, these products have not been proven to reduce the early stages of gum disease. Anti-bacterial rinses such as Crest ProRinse, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help to bring early gum disease under control and should be used in conjunction with daily brushing and flossing.
Drs. Ousborne and Keller suggest you consider using products that contain ingredients which may actually re-mineralize precious enamel. These products usually contain calcium phosphate and can help to re-harden enamel that has started to soften. This is only effective in the very early stages of the decay process where the softening has not penetrated completely through the enamel. Calcium phosphate can be found in toothpastes like Enamel Care by Arm and Hammer and chewing gum like Trident Advantage .
Good nutrition also plays a major role in your dental health. A balanced diet will supplement your body’s immune system, resulting in less vulnerability to oral disease.
What you eat and how often you eat have both been found to affect your dental health. Sugars and starches (carbohydrates) form the sticky material that attaches plaque to the teeth. Carbohydrates also serve as food for the bacteria which give off harmful acids that cause decay and contribute to gum disease. Sugary foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve allow the acids more time to work on destroying tooth enamel.
Sticky/slow to dissolve foods
- Granola Bars
- Chewy Fruit Snacks
- Dried Fruit
- Hard Candy
Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles, and neutralizing harmful acids.
Soda and some of the sport or energy drinks have a low pH, which makes them very acidic. They are also high in sugar. Both of these factors are very destructive to tooth enamel. Even diet drinks are acidic and, sipped frequently, can cause decay. Be careful to limit these types of beverages. Drink them quickly rather than sipping them slowly over a long period of time.
Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow the growth of decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.
In addition to your good at-home oral hygiene regime, Drs. Ousborne and Keller recommend periodic professional cleanings and examinations. Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus and disrupt bacteria in places your toothbrush and floss have missed.
At your periodic cleaning appointments, the skilled hygienists of Ousborne and Keller will do a thorough exam of all of your teeth, the surrounding gum tissues and supporting bone. They will perform an oral cancer screening; take digital images as needed, and both scale and polish your teeth. Fluoride varnishes, localized antibiotics, root desensitizers and other medicaments may be applied at these appointments, depending on your specific needs.
Each visit to Ousborne and Keller is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease and help you keep your teeth for your lifetime. The frequency/intervals of professional cleaning appointments is always dependent upon each patient’s specific dental needs and what will best serve you in your endeavor to maintain a healthy smile. Professional dental care coupled with a good at-home routine can help to avoid more complicated and costly dental problems and help you to keep your teeth for a lifetime!