Oral Hygiene Dental Care Madison
Brush Up on the Basics
Our devoted Madison dentists at Total Care Dental truly care about your complete oral health. Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth, gums, and overall well-being. Between regular visits to our family dental clinic for bi-annual 6 month check-ups and other Madison dental health care services, you should utilize good oral health habits. You can take these simple steps to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental health issues:
Improve your Brushing Technique
Many patients assume they know all there is to know about brushing your teeth. However, we believe there’s always room for improvement. Following these simple steps lead to a cleaner, healthier smile:
- Brush for 2 minutes, twice a day, and floss every night before bed to remove plaque build-up near the gum line
- Use a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth comfortably - consider using an electric toothbrush to ensure a complete clean
- Hold you brush at a slight angle, aim for where your teeth meet your gums, then the outside, inside, tops and surfaces of your teeth and tongue.
- Keep your brush clean, always rinse your toothbrush after use, store in an upright position and let dry before using again. Do not store your brush in a closed container - this encourages bacteria growth
- Know when to replace your brush, every 3-4 months or when wear-and-tear become evident
- Be gentle when flossing, guide the floss between your teeth gently, don’t snap it into your gums.
Should you brush or floss first? Evidence suggests that as long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter. However, flossing before brushing may allow more fluoride to reach between your teeth.
Other Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals
- Use dental products which contain fluoride, including toothpaste
- Swish an antimicrobial or fluoride mouth rinse
- Check your gums for inflammation or bleeding
- Make sure children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months
- Visit your comprehensive Madison family dentists at Total Care Dental at least twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Taking care of your teeth at home is one of the best ways to prevent dental health issues. Routine check-ups with our experienced Madison dentists can identify potential dental health concerns before problematic symptoms occur. Schedule your dental check-ups with our family dentists to bring out your healthiest smile.
Healthy oral hygiene habits are important for your overall health as well. Regular dental cleanings help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and the development of serious health complications. Oral bacteria can contribute to endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. A healthy mouth can improve your quality of life by allowing you to eat properly, sleep better, and be more confident.
Plaque is a sticky layer of bacterial buildup which accumulates on your teeth over the course of a day. If you don’t remove it daily, it will build up and harden over time. Certain foods cause more plaque than others. Sugary foods and starches are the main culprits for releasing plaque-causing acids in your mouth. Plaque also produces substances which irritate the gums, causing redness and bleeding. If left untreated, the bones around the teeth can be destroyed – which means your teeth can become loose and fall out. Daily brushing and flossing greatly helps to remove plaque buildup – which is why brushing twice per day is strongly recommended.
Dental Exams for Children
Regular dental exams are important for children as young as 6 months. After your child’s first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday, schedule a dental exam with our Madison family dentists. Your baby’s gums and teeth will be examined and cleaned. For an older child’s dental exam, one of our dental experts will clean your child’s teeth, check for any signs of tooth decay, and may take an X-ray. You may want to discuss your child’s diet and correct brushing and flossing techniques with your dentist.
Indications of Good Oral Hygiene:
- Your teeth are clean and free of debris
- Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
- Bad breath is not a constant problem
Commonly Asked Oral Hygiene Questions
Q: How often should I brush my teeth?
A: You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. If you can only brush once, it is best to brush right before you go to bed. This way, you remove harmful bacteria which would multiply during the night.
Try not to brush more than 3 times in a day, as too much brushing can wear down enamel over time. Exceptions are if you have an additional meal or snack and need to brush before going to sleep.
Q: What is the best way to brush my teeth?
A: Start by adding toothpaste to your brush. The amount of paste or gel should only cover one-third of the entire brush, usually averaging to a pea-size dollop. Too much toothpaste is a waste and can weaken enamel.
Wet your brush and the paste. Brush your teeth in a circular motion over each individual tooth, angling the brush to get all the hard to reach surfaces. It doesn’t matter where you start as long as you brush each tooth equally, front and back.
Brush for two minutes. Many electric toothbrushes provide automatic timers to help you brush for the right amount of time. Be sure to get the back of your molars and the top of your tongue to prevent bad breath.
Don’t be too aggressive when brushing, as you don’t want to wear down your enamel or hurt your gums.
Q: What sort of toothbrush should I use?
A: This depends on your tastes. Some people find stiff bristles too harsh on their teeth and gums while others find soft bristles ineffective. You should also be careful your brush isn’t too large for your mouth, making it difficult to reach the back or interior teeth. Test out a few brushes to determine which feels best.
Q: Which toothpaste should I use?
A: This again depends on your tastes, literally. There are flavored toothpastes, whitening gels, and different brands to consider. Some pastes are made for sensitivity controls while others are specially formulated to fight plague and tartar. If you’re not sure which type is best for your oral health needs, just ask our Madison dentists for advice.
Q: How often should I floss?
A: You should floss at least once per day, although you may want to floss multiple times depending on the food you eat. Popcorn, tough meats, and stringy vegetables can all leave food particles behind, trapped between your teeth. Flossing is the fastest way to remove this debris.
Q: What is the best way to floss?
A: Start with a piece of floss 5-6 inches long. Wrap the ends around your index fingers or thumbs so the string becomes taut. Slowly lower the floss between each tooth to clear out food particles and bacteria.
Be gentle with the floss. If you pull down too hard or fast, you might hurt your gums. Wrap the floss around each tooth. Going up and down will remove some particles, but not all. Wrapping around the tooth will remove more.
There are instruments to make flossing easier. Floss holders and water picks may both improve your flossing experience.
Q: How often should I use mouthwash?
A: Try to use mouthwash at least once a day, in conjunction with brushing and flossing. Ask your TCD dentist is mouthwash is right for your oral hygiene routine. If you decide to use mouthwash, make sure you do not swallow it while gargling or rinsing.
Q: How can I prevent bad breath?
A: Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash regularly are all ways to improve your oral health and fight bad breath. However, some bad breath is the result of medical conditions like halitosis and dry mouth. Our Madison dentists will help you determine the cause of your bad breath and improvements to your oral hygiene routine to combat it.
Next, consider changing your diet to avoid foods which can cause your breath to stink. Many dairy products can cause people with lactose intolerance to have bad breath. Try drinking more water or eating fruit instead. Smoking is another cause of bad breath.
Q: How can I improve my child’s oral hygiene?
A: When your child is young, before they have teeth, introduce them to the idea of good oral hygiene habits. Let them help you brush your teeth and make it look like fun instead of a chore. When it comes time to take care of their own teeth, they’ll be ready!
Help your child understand going to the dentist is necessary and fun, not scary or punishment. Total Care Dental has tips for preparing your child for a dental checkup. Our Madison Kid Zone has fun games and educational activities for kids as they wait for their appointment, putting them at ease while encouraging good oral hygiene.
Q: My child hates brushing their teeth. What can I do?
A: Even if you introduced your child to brushing early on, there’s a chance they still won’t want to brush themselves. Maybe their current brush is too big or the toothpaste tastes bad. Or maybe they just think it’s a waste of time. Fortunately, the solutions are simple.
Have your child pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste as well, to make brushing even more fun. Incorporate brushing and flossing into their daily routines. Make it clear they can’t go play or go to bed until they’ve finished this important task. Provide positive reinforcement whenever possible, including small prizes like stickers or extra playtime.
Next, bring them to Total Care Dental to learn why brushing (and flossing!) is so important. If they realize they might have to get fillings or have yellow teeth, they’ll want to take better care of their teeth.
Q: How can I afford oral hygiene treatment?
A: A toothbrush, some toothpaste, and floss are very inexpensive, especially when compared to the overall costs of restorative dental care. It is better to pay a few dollars each month for these tools than pay much more later to have your teeth replaced.
We accept most form of payment, from cash to personal checks to most major credit cards. We also accept CareCredit cards and Illumisure.