Having good oral hygiene begins with proper at-home care, and that means using the right brushing and flossing techniques. Use a soft toothbrush and replace it every three to six months so the bristles don’t become worn. Electric or battery-operated toothbrushes can also be used. During a dental cleaning appointment, the hygienist or dentist will be able to determine where at-home techniques are falling short and provide guidance on improving brushing and flossing techniques to remove more plaque and prevent tartar formation. It’s also important to avoid foods and drinks high in sugars and to rinse well after having foods or beverages high in acid content, like soda or fruit juice. Try to stay away from sticky candy or sour candy, which is very high in acids that can erode protective tooth enamel. Instead, focus on lean protein, leafy green vegetables, nuts and especially dairy, which can help remineralize teeth so they stay strong. And of course, be sure to have a routine checkup and cleaning every six months and call the office if an toothache or other urgent care issue occurs.
Fluoride is a mineral that attracts some other minerals, including the minerals that help build and strengthen tooth enamel. During a fluoride treatment, a special mouth rinse is used to help coat the surfaces of the teeth (including the spaces between teeth) with fluoride. Over time, the fluoride helps harden and strengthen tooth enamel so it’s more difficult for decay-causing bacteria to penetrate and cause cavities. The treatment is provided right in the office in just a couple of minutes. After treatment, patients will need to wait a little while - usually about 30 to 60 minutes - before eating to allow the fluoride to penetrate the tooth and prevent it from being rubbed off during chewing. Studies show fluoride treatments can reduce the risk of cavities by as much as 30%.
At Texas Dental, we recommend all patients under 18 years of age have fluoride treatments at least once a year. Adults can also benefit from fluoride treatments, and during a routine checkup and exam, a simple evaluation can determine if a fluoride treatment might be beneficial.