What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that develops on your teeth and gums. Over time, the bacteria in this plaque can produce acid and eat through your tooth enamel which leads to dental cavities. If you do not diligently maintain good dental hygiene practices and visit our Mesa dental office twice a year for your regular teeth cleanings, plaque can also harden and become tartar around the gums and contribute to the start of periodontal disease.
Plaque and tartar buildup build up around your gums, making them tender and red. Over time, you may experience bleeding gums, and they may recede from your teeth or form pockets. These pockets and the associated infections eventually lead to moreserious levels of periodontal disease, which can result in tooth loss as well as other serious health conditions.
What should I do to care for my teeth between cleanings?
The best thing you can do to maintain the health of your teeth and gums between cleanings is to brush and floss every day. You should brush at least twice a day using a soft bristle toothbrush. It is best to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. There are many varieties of toothpastes now available that include components that help reduce sensitivity in teeth, reduce excess tartar buildup, whiten darker teeth, provide more saliva flow, and/or support better gum health. All these additives help but don’t substitute for a regular dental cleaning and checkup.
Floss at least once a day to remove plaque from the spaces between your teeth that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. This is an important step in the prevention of gum disease.
How should I brush my teeth?
Always brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, moving the toothbrush in a circular motion. Make sure you brush the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth, as well as the sides and chewing surfaces. You should also brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria that may cause bad breath. Brushing should be done for 2 minutes to insure all surfaces are well cleaned.
How should I floss?
The original way is to use about 18 inches of dental floss. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, gripping it tightly between your thumbs and index fingers. Gently rub the floss between your teeth. Once you reach the gum line, curve the floss against the tooth and slide it into the space between the gum and your tooth. Do this on the sides of both teeth in that space.
Now days there are many devices designed to make flossing easier and they are readily available in most dental sections of most stores. They consist of a tooth brush handle or other variable shaped handle with disposable y-shaped inserts with pre-strung floss that allow one to floss between teeth without wrapping the floss around your fingers.
Why are professional dental cleanings important?
Professional teeth cleanings at our Mesa dental office are an important supplement to your daily oral hygiene routine. Mesa dentists Dr. LeSueur and Dr. Dodaro can remove plaque and tartar that is not easily eliminated by regular brushing and flossing. Your regular dental checkups also give our Mesa dentists an opportunity to evaluate your teeth and gums for cavities and gum disease, and check further for TMJ and bite problems or oral lesions including oral cancer ensuring that these issues are addressed before they lead to serious oral health problems down the road.
Please contact us today to schedule your next dental cleaning. Dr. Scott LeSueur and Dr. Charles Dodaro serve patients in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale, Arizona.