It’s important to have a professional cleaning and checkup with Dr. Hussong every six months. However, proper mouth maintenance at home affects your teeth day to day, and long-term. You know you have to brush and floss daily, but with so many hygiene products available, how do you decide what to use?
Toothbrush: While there are many different styles of toothbrushes, the Academy of General Dentistry says the most effective brush is one you will actually use. The average toothbrush has about 2,500 bristles, and it’s better if the bristles are soft. Hard bristles or brushing too vigorously can damage your teeth and gums. Electric toothbrushes have larger handles for people who can’t grip the smaller size of a manual brush. Powered toothbrush heads spin to clean your teeth and require less force from the user, which is ideal for people with limited mobility — or for kids who have trouble brushing thoroughly. If you’re comfortable with your toothbrush, you’re likely to brush longer. You should also replace your brush (or brush head) every three to four months. Once the bristles get frayed, it won’t be as effective in cleaning your teeth.
Toothpaste: Toothpaste has an abrasive agent that removes food particles and polishes teeth. It comes in pastes, gels, different flavors, and different purposes. Select a fluoride toothpaste that suits your preferences and your needs. For example, some toothpastes are aimed at controlling plaque, whitening, or sensitivity. You can also select the flavor that you like best, so you’ll want to brush longer.
Floss: Dental floss can vary in thickness and material. You need a floss that will go smoothly between your teeth to remove food and bacteria. Some flosses have little ridges or a rough coating on them. The ridges are for dislodging food particles. If you have trouble flossing, you can also try a flosser. This tool has a handle and a piece of floss stretched across it. Ask Dr. Hussong or your dental hygienist to show you how to floss properly.
Mouthwash: The American Dental Association recommends using an oral rinse regularly. Some mouthwashes have high alcohol content, but it’s best to use one with little or no alcohol. Mouthwash helps control the level of oral bacteria. It also freshens your breath and can help with prevent cavities and gum disease. Like toothpaste and floss, mouthwash comes in different flavors, so pick a flavor you like.
Whitening: Whitening products are sold over the counter and are less expensive than professional whitening. However, these gels and strips take longer to see your desired results. They also don’t offer the potent concentration of active bleaching agent that dentist-administered whitening contains. For a more effective at-home whitening option, Dr. Hussong can give you a custom whitening tray. The tray is filled with a professional-grade whitening gel, and you will wear it for an hour or two each day for approximately two weeks.
Oral hygiene should be part of your daily routine, so choosing the right products to take care of your teeth is important. At your visit with Cornerstone Dental, Dr. Hussong will recommend the products that are best for your dental needs and preferences. Contact Cornerstone’s dental office in Polk City, IA at (515) 984-6001 to schedule an appointment.