Thursday, November 20, 2014

Teeth Brushing Tips From Your Redwood City Dentist

Redwood City Dentist
As a local Redwood City dentist, we practice preventative care so that our patients can stay in excellent oral health and avoid common problems like cavities and gum disease.  This starts by practicing good oral hygiene at home and following it up with regular trips to our dentist office.  During your appointment, we will remove any bacteria and plaque that you were unable to reach during regular brushing and flossing.  There are, however, ways that you can increase the effectiveness of your daily health care routine.
Here are teeth brushing tips to try:
  • Start with the brush.  In order to get a good clean, you need to start with a good toothbrush.  We recommend that you use a soft toothbrush because a hard one can irritate your gums and start to strip the enamel way from your teeth.  This can lead to sensitivity and can even make your gums bleed.  
  • Three months max.  Don’t use your toothbrush for more than three months.  They start to become ineffective when you use them for too long because the bristles break and fray.  When you notice that it doesn’t look like it is in good condition or is becoming stained, make sure to replace it.  Otherwise, use the three-month rule for buying a new one or replacing the head on your electronic toothbrush.  As a Redwood City dentist office, we also give out toothbrushes at teeth cleaning appointments.
  • Keep it dry.  Your toothbrush needs to stay dry and clean.  If you go to brush your teeth and it is wet, more bacteria could be lingering on the brush itself which could make your mouth even dirtier.  Use a toothbrush holder so that it can air out during the day. 
  • Movement matters.  Your tooth brushing technique can make a difference in how clean your teeth get. Move your brush around in circles and that go from top to bottom on your upper teeth and bottom to top on your lower teeth.  This way food and bacteria are brushed away from your gums and roots. 
  • Brush it all.  Many people make the mistake of only brushing their actual teeth.  You need to brush every area of your teeth including the gum line.  Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth as these areas can harbor bacteria as well.  
  • Toothpaste.  Use toothpaste that has the American Dental Association seal.  We also recommend using one with fluoride because it can help to strengthen your teeth by placing minerals directly onto them. 
  • Frequency.  Brush your teeth at least twice a day, more if possible.  In the best case scenario, our patients would brush their teeth after every meal, floss daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash.  These habits will help to prevent both cavities and gum disease from forming. 
As a Redwood City dentist, we can help you to stay in good oral health by removing the bacteria and plaque that you were unable to get with at home care.  Call today to schedule your exam. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Dentist Explains Why Your Gums Are Bleeding

You should visit the dentist at least twice a year in order to have your teeth cleaned.  If you notice that in between dental visits your gums are starting to bleed, it could be a sign of a problem.  Here are some of the reasons why your gums may be bleeding:
  • Food.  What you eat can irritate your gums.  Foods that have hard edges like tortilla chips can cut your gums and irritate them to the point that they start to bleed before and during brushing.  You also need to be careful to avoid eating too much sugar, especially candy that is also acidic.  It will irritate the inside of your mouth, create discomfort and at times, bleeding. 
  • Your toothbrush.  If you use a toothbrush with hard bristles, it may be irritating your gums and causing them to bleed. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they need to use a hard toothbrush in order to get a good clean.  The reality is that a hard toothbrush can strip away your enamel and irritate your gums. Buy a new brush and see if it helps.
  • The way you brush.  Even if you use a softer toothbrush, you may still be irritating your gums by brushing from back to front instead of brushing in a circular pattern.  Try changing the way that you brush your teeth to see if the bleeding stops. We can demonstrate how to properly brush your teeth when you visit our dentist office. 
  • Not flossing enough.  If you only floss your teeth once a month, you could end up with bleeding gums every time that you do.  Your gums may even bleed when you floss due to food and bacteria being trapped in small places, creating additional irritation. We recommend that you floss on a daily basis so that your teeth and gums can stay healthy. 
  • Gum disease.  If you have the early signs of gum disease (gingivitis) it can make your gums swell, hurt, and even bleed when you brush your teeth.  Gum disease needs to be treated right away before it spreads and causes your gums to recede or creates a larger infection.  It typically starts when bacteria becomes trapped in between your gums and your teeth and roots.  In our dentist office, we can treat gum disease by removing the bacteria and plaque that’s underneath your gums. This way they can start to heal and the symptoms will be eliminated. 
Most of the reasons for bleeding gums can be avoided by learning how to brush your teeth properly and by visiting the dentist on a regular basis. These simple changes can make a big difference in how comfortable you are and how healthy your mouth stays.  If, however, changing your brushing and eating habits don’t help – you may have gum disease.  If you think this may be the case, call and schedule a dentist appointment so that your gums can be treated immediately.  This will prevent the infection from spreading so that you can become healthy again.