Cavity prevention starts with you

As with most of your well-being, the state of your oral health starts with you. The choices that you make day to day play a huge role in cavity prevention. In spite of how much you rely on your teeth for eating, speaking, and supporting your entire facial features, your teeth are often taken for granted.

Cavity prevention is an essential component of not only your oral health but also your overall health. The health of your mouth has a direct implication on your heart, your immune system, diabetes, pregnancy, and more. The good news is that cavity prevention is easy by following these simple guidelines.

  • Floss daily. One of the most important things you need to know is that flossing is the most important aspect of cavity prevention. Floss is the only tool designed to scrape bacteria-laden plaque from the teeth and gum line. If you are not flossing every day, your teeth will never reach their full health. With just a little practice, flossing becomes easy and a natural part of your dental routine.
  • Brush often. Brushing twice a day, morning and before bed, is important because it brushes away loosened plaque. Yet, for those who are cavity-prone, it is important to brush more often. Brushing after every meal helps to remove food particles that get stuck between the teeth before they begin to rot.
  • Uphold a healthy diet. What you put into your mouth has a huge impact on the health of your mouth and entire body. Diets that are heavy in sugar, acids, and/or alcohol weaken the tooth enamel and gum tissues. A poor diet also negatively impacts your overall health. When poor oral health meets poor general health, your immune system becomes strained and is less capable of fighting off infection. What you put into your mouth affects your entire life.
  • Stop negative habits. Biting your nails, chewing ice, smoking, chewing tobacco, over-consumption of alcohol, grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw – all of these put a strain on your teeth, gums, and oral health. By breaking negative habits, you can prevent cavities and save your smile.
  • Visit the dentist regularly. Regular dental visits allow for your teeth to be thoroughly and professionally cleaned on a routine basis. Making the time to visit the dentist just twice a year can prevent many issues that can wreak havoc on your oral health.

Cavity prevention is not hard. The guidelines above can help protect your smile for a lifetime. Contact Thousand Oaks Dentistry today.

Is mouthwash necessary?

A quick walk down the oral health care aisle at the local supermarket bombards you with options in toothpaste, floss, toothbrush, and mouthwash options. While you know you need to brush your teeth and you know you should floss, you may ask yourself if mouthwash is necessary.

The answer is more than a simple “yes” or “no.” For those who floss daily, who brush regularly, and who visit the dentist at least once a year – no, mouthwash is not necessary. Yet, for those who rarely floss, who brush their teeth irregularly, and who do not frequent the dentist – mouthwash is an added component to your oral health care routine that can help protect your teeth and smile.

Mouthwash was created specifically for those who are more cavity-prone and for those who do not practice ideal oral care. Most mouthwash options contain ingredients that kill harmful bacteria that lives in the oral plaque that coats your teeth on a daily basis. Dental plaque is made up of millions of acid-producing bacteria that, when allowed to linger, will eat holes in your tooth enamel. These holes are actually cavities, and they are the most chronic oral health issues in the world. While flossing is the ideal choice for removing bacteria-laden plaque from the teeth, unfortunately, it is the most neglected oral health care habit. Mouthwash does not replace flossing because it does not remove plaque, but it does kill the bacteria in the plaque in order to prevent cavities and gum disease. It is important to choose a mouthwash with the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) seal of approval to ensure that you are successfully combating the harmful bacteria inside your mouth.

Mouthwash is also extremely beneficial to women during pregnancy. The extreme hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy impact the gum tissues within the mouth. A woman’s gums often become tender, swollen, and easily irritated, leaving them vulnerable to gum disease. Because the body has a single bloodstream, any infection inside the mouth can easily travel throughout the body. Gum disease has been directly linked to miscarriage, preterm labor, and low birth weight babies because of how easily infection can travel from the gum tissues to the uterus. Using mouthwash during pregnancy can help protect both an expecting mother and her growing baby.

Mouthwash is never meant to replace flossing, brushing, or dental visits. Adding it to your oral care routine can help protect your smile. Call Thousand Oaks Dentistry today for a dentist-approved recommendation.

Importance of toothbrush care

Stop and think: When is the last time you replaced your toothbrush? If you cannot remember, then you are long overdue.

Your toothbrush is a tool designed to help clean your mouth. Yet, if your toothbrush is not clean it cannot do a very good job. Your dentist gives you a new toothbrush at every dental visit because s/he knows how important it is to clean your mouth with a clean tool. You do not pick up a dirty, stinky towel to off with after a clean shower, do you? No, because that would spoil the cleanliness that you just achieved. Yet, if you are using an old toothbrush, you are putting a dirty object inside your mouth and foolishly expecting it to clean your teeth.

It is important that you rinse your toothbrush off well after each use. Your toothbrush helps to loosen bacteria-laden plaque from your teeth as well as food particles that become stuck while eating. If you do not rinse your toothbrush well, these are all left behind to rot on your toothbrush. Do you really want to put that back in your mouth?

It is important to let your toothbrush air dry in an upright position. Being upright allows your toothbrush to dry faster and help to kill any lingering bacteria.

It is important to store your toothbrush away from the toilet. Every time you flush the toilet, overspray is released into the air and will land on anything in its path. You do not want your toothbrush to be in the path of toilet overspray! Yuck.

It is important to replace your toothbrush after any type of illness. Cold, flu, stomach virus, strep throat, and other germs can linger for up to 10 days on most surfaces. By replacing your toothbrush after you have been sick, you will protect yourself from re-infection.

It is important to replace your toothbrush every 6 months. It is not a coincidence that this is the time frame for visiting your dentist. Using a clean tool is vital for cleaning your teeth, gums, and tongue. While the above steps are important, bacteria will build up and linger over time. Replacing your toothbrush is important so that you are effectively maintaining your oral health.

Contact Thousand Oaks Dentistry today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and exam. We promise to have a new toothbrush ready for you!