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Couple brushing their teeth

Basic Dental Care in Indiana

Couple brushing their teeth

Brushing and flossing your teeth may not be the most exciting topic of conversation, but it’s a topic that should receive your utmost attention. If you lack good oral hygiene, you’ll lack good physical health. It’s that simple. Research has shown a direct correlation between good oral health and good physical health. Conversely, poor oral health contributes to poor physical health and results in diseases such as cancer, dementia, and cardiovascular issues. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve had a dental exam and teeth cleaning, now’s a good time to schedule one. Your dentist will be happy to help you establish a good oral hygiene regimen that will contribute to your physical health as well as your longevity and quality of life.

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What’s Included in Basic Dental Care?

Your basic dental care should include the following activities at the minimum:

  • Twice-daily brushing, and once should be just before bedtime
  • Daily flossing, just before bedtime
  • Fluoridated toothpaste
  • Annual dental checkups and teeth cleanings

These activities are the minimum recommended by the American Dental Association to maintain good oral hygiene. Ideally, brushing and flossing after each meal or snack will help reduce decay and gum disease, but realistically, that’s not always possible. However, brushing and flossing more than the recommended minimum will provide better dental health.

Is Twice-Daily Brushing Your Habit?

Brushing twice daily is fundamental to a good dental hygiene program. Brushing removes most of the food particles that lodge between your teeth and most of the bacteria that remain in your mouth after eating. When the food particles remain, they settle between your teeth, and bacteria begin to turn them into plaque, which can only be removed by your dentist. When plaque remains on the teeth, inflammation sets in, and gum disease starts. So, brushing twice daily is a basic essential for good dental health.

When you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with uneven bristles to provide the maximum cleaning for your teeth. Each quadrant of your mouth should be brushed for at least 30 seconds, so your brushing routine should take two full minutes. A quadrant is defined as:

  • The upper right side of your jaw
  • The lower right side of your jaw
  • The upper left side of your jaw
  • The lower left side of your jaw

Use gentle pressure when you brush to avoid striations in your tooth enamel. More pressure and faster motions won’t help. It will only damage your tooth enamel. Use gentle pressure and a slow circular motion with back-and-forth strokes for best results.

Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if you’ve been ill and have recuperated. It doesn’t matter whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric one as long as it has soft, uneven bristles and is appropriately sized for your mouth. Use your personal needs as a guideline rather than the toothbrush package. Not all adults need larger toothbrushes, and not all children need smaller ones. If the bristles start to fray or break down, replace your toothbrush even if it hasn’t been three months.

Is Your Toothpaste Fluoridated?

Most brands of toothpaste contain fluoride, which is a naturally-occurring mineral that has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce cavities. Since most city water supplies are now also fluoridated, some patients are concerned that they’ll get too much fluoride in their bodies. Since water supplies are fluoridated only to the minimum required for health, this isn’t usually a problem. However, you’ll have symptoms if you have too much fluoride in your body, so ask your Indiana dentist if you’re concerned about it.

Is Flossing in Your Daily Routine?

Flossing should be as integral to your daily dental routine as brushing. Flossing removes any food particles that may be lodged between your teeth, so you’re less likely to develop gum disease. It doesn’t matter whether you use a water flosser, floss picks, or traditional dental floss as long as you floss daily. Optimally, you should floss just before bedtime and don’t eat anything after you’ve flossed. Otherwise, you’ll defeat the purpose of flossing.

Would More Basic Dental Care Tips Help?

Mouthwash is an excellent addition to your oral hygiene routine and can remove any vestiges of bacteria that can undo all your efforts. Both regular and non-alcoholic formulas are available, and both work equally well. Make sure that all your dental products carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance, so you know you’re getting a safe, quality product.

Your diet can help your oral health regimen, too. Rather than snacking on empty calories like chips and candy, consider switching to fruits, nuts, and vegetables for healthy alternatives. Their crunchy texture will help remove food particles, and their nutritional contribution will make your body healthier. Remember, though, that if you can’t brush and floss after a meal, you can rinse your mouth well with plain water even if you snack on fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Would On-the-Go Tips Help?

If you’re frequently on the road or away from home, you can assemble a to-go kit that contains your favorite dental hygiene items in travel-sized containers so you can take your dental hygiene with you no matter where you go or where you are. If brushing and flossing after a meal or snack just isn’t an option, you can rinse your mouth well with plain water until you can resume your oral hygiene habits.

Do You Have Good Preventative Habits?

Your Indiana dentist should be at the top of your list of preventative habits. They’re your staunchest advocate in fighting dental decay and disease, so make use of their expertise. At a minimum, have an annual dental cleaning and exam, and if you can, get an exam and cleaning twice annually.

No matter the quality of your dental hygiene regimen, you can develop a problem without being aware of it, such as oral cancer, which presents asymptomatically. Unfortunately, by the time you know you have a problem, oral cancer has spread. It is, in fact, the fastest spreading cancer and now accounts for more than three percent of all new cancer cases. Therefore, we recommend that patients get screened for oral cancer during their annual exams. The screening isn’t painful, and it’s non-invasive, but it is necessary.

Click here to schedule your next teeth cleaning and dental exam.

We Can Help You

If you need to be screened for oral cancer, need an annual exam and cleaning, or any other dental procedure, we’d be delighted to help you. We’re among the best in the Indiana area for dental procedures, and we know you’ll like your clean and sparkling smile.

Click here to schedule your appointment. We look forward to working with you.

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