How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Between Preventative Appointments
Did you know…
When you do not floss, you are missing over 40% of tooth surfaces.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Foods & Drinks to Avoid
Diet plays a large role in cavity formation. This is because cavities are caused by the bacteria in your mouth feeding off of left-behind sugars and converting them into acids that attack your tooth enamel and form holes known as cavities.
Since sugar is a necessary component of cavities, limiting your consumption of sugar and carbohydrates (which turn into sugar) will reduce your risk of developing cavities. Consuming acidic drinks and foods in excess can also alter the pH in your mouth, creating an acidic environment that puts your teeth at higher risk for enamel erosion and cavities.
We recommend that you avoid frequent snacking which also increases your risk for cavities. Saliva plays an important role in neutralizing the acid in your mouth and washing away left-behind food particles.
When you’re constantly snacking, your mouth is always in an acidic state and your saliva does not have the chance to wash away the food particles in your mouth. This means that your tooth enamel is being exposed to cavity-causing acids longer and more often.
Are you due for your biannual cleaning and checkup? Contact us at Lifetime Smile today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ranju Bhasin.
Biannual Cleanings & Checkups
The American Dental Association recommends attending regular preventative appointments every 6 months. Dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup through scaling, brush and floss away left-behind food particles, and polish your teeth, leaving your teeth brighter and your breath fresher.
An oral exam will also be performed and x-rays may be taken if you haven’t had them in a while, which paints a broader picture of your oral health. This helps us detect signs of oral health problems early enough to reverse them.
By getting a dental cleaning and checkup every 6 months, you reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. This will save you time and money on more invasive restorative treatment. We will check for signs of oral cancer during your checkup by examining your oral tissues and looking for signs of abnormalities. If any are detected, we can biopsy them and send them out for lab testing.
After your dental cleaning, we will apply a fluoride varnish to your teeth which will remineralize your teeth for additional enamel strength and resistance against acid attacks.
Fluoride treatments prevent cavities until your next routine dental appointment. The fluoride varnish protects your tooth from acids and bacteria. This process only takes a couple of minutes but you should avoid drinking or eating anything for 30 minutes afterward.
Dental sealants are most commonly recommended for children who may be high-risk for tooth decay, but they’re also a great option for patients of any age who wish to protect themselves from developing cavities. A relatively straight-forward procedure, dental sealants start with the application of dental resin, usually to the rear teeth, as they have more grooves and uneven surfaces where plaque and bacteria can easily hide. A UV light will be used to cure the resin, hardening it and creating a powerful barrier between your enamel and food debris, acid, or bacteria. When applied correctly, dental sealants can last for years!
Many patients struggle with gum disease, and if left untreated, can risk losing their teeth and other problems. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and is the only stage that can actually be reversed with deep cleanings and attentive at-home hygiene. If you have gum disease, keeping up with your regular cleanings and checkups will help you gain control over your oral health before it’s too late!
For patients with more advanced stages of periodontitis, we recommend scheduling deep cleanings at more frequent intervals, usually every three to four months. Although the effects of advanced gum disease can’t be reversed, deep cleanings, scaling, and root planing can halt the progression of periodontitis and help preserve your oral health.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are an important part of every preventive care visit. Catching oral cancer in its early stages allows us to stop it before it spreads, and can save your life. That’s why we’ll always check for signs of oral cancer at every preventive visit.
Your dentist will examine your oral tissues, like your gums and tongue, keeping an eye out for abnormalities like lesions, lumps, discolorations. If we find anything unusual, we’ll take a biopsy and send it out to a specialist for a thorough analysis. Although oral cancer isn’t overly common, it’s important to remain proactive and consistent with your oral healthcare routine, so we can identify any issues before they become major problems.
Teeth grinding and clenching while sleeping is a common issue faced by many patients. Night guards are a great solution for this unconscious clenching, also known as bruxism. Night guards form a soft barrier that protects your teeth from damage caused by the pressure of clenching and grinding. Your dentist will take an impression or a scan of your teeth and gums to create a unique mold that will be sent to a dental lab, where your night guard will be custom-crafted. Night guards work by easing the tension in your jaw, alleviating the painful headaches and other side effects of clenching and grinding, so you can get the sleep you need and keep your teeth from wearing down.
Sports mouth guards are worn over the teeth, just like night guards. However sports guards are designed specifically to protect your smile from dental injuries that are so common when playing high-intensity impact sports. Custom-fitted sports guards can help protect athletes from oral trauma caused by collisions to the mouth, face, and head. If you play football, basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby, hockey, gymnastics, mountain biking, or other activities that put you at risk for injury due from falls, body contact, or flying objects, ask us about getting fitted for a custom sports guard today! Tailored to fit your unique smile, sports guards are comfortable, durable, and won’t stop you from playing the sports you love.
Did you know…
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body.