Teeth cleaning: How much to clean teeth
It is never too late to focus on increasing good habits and limiting bad habits — especially when it comes to your teeth! Working with your team at Draver Dental can help you to identify the best and worst habits that may be impacting your smile. There are many changes, both big and small, that will keep your smile sparkling.
When should I floss?
One of the most universally known, but perhaps the most disliked, habits is flossing. Current American Dental Association recommendations suggest flossing at least once daily and brushing twice daily for two minutes.
Regular flossing keeps your teeth clean and healthy, reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities. Though many people know it is beneficial, it can be hard to start the habit. One tip to ensure flossing is to floss prior to brushing so that you are less likely to skip.
Habit-stacking can also help start and reinforce your flossing habit. Perhaps flossing every time you wash your face can help reinforce your flossing habit. Some people may find that setting an alarm every day helps you to remember.
Even flossing consistently a few times a week is better than not flossing at all — and you’ll notice a big difference in your dental visits.
Include fluoride in your teeth cleaning
One outstanding habit that you can add to your routine is the use of fluoride. Most people already have fluoride in their toothpaste. If you are prone to cavities, using a fluoridated mouth rinse once a day can help reduce decay.
Another simple habit is to switch from bottled water to tap water. Most household filters keep fluoride in water, while most bottled water is fluoride-free. Consult your dentist to make sure your products are effective and have the ADA seal of acceptance, and that you are using a safe amount of fluoride.
Sipping and snacking
Although there are many habits that are beneficial to your teeth, there are also many habits that are detrimental. One of the worst habits for your teeth is sipping and snacking. Frequent sugary drinks or carbohydrates leave your mouth more susceptible to cavities developing.
After every sip or bite, it takes your mouth 20-30 minutes to return to the normal pH. If you frequently snack and sip, your teeth are bathed in acid and sugar, leading to extensive and rapid cavities.
If you do choose to consume sugary drinks or snacks, consider reducing the frequency. Instead of sipping your soda over a couple of hours, try drinking it with a meal and then be done. Reducing the bad habit of sipping and snacking while adding some tips from above can greatly decrease your risk for cavities.
Dry mouth from medications
Other than sipping and snacking, another major concern for teeth is dry mouth. Most frequently, dry mouth is caused by medications. Medications are necessary for many individuals but unfortunately may cause decreased saliva production.
Saliva has protecting factors for teeth by rinsing plaque and sugar away while neutralizing acids. Dry mouth can lead to fast spreading and significant cavities, even in people who have not previously had a high cavity rate.
Your physician may be able to help change your medication to lessen this side effect — however, most often you will have to work diligently to manage dry mouth. Luckily, your dental team can help! Many of the good habits such as flossing, brushing, fluoride use, and avoiding sipping and snacking will protect your teeth from the effects of dry mouth. Additionally, you can add dry mouth products such as lozenges, ADA-approved sugar-free gum, or increased water intake to help counteract dry mouth.
Although there are many tips and tricks that can help keep your teeth healthy and strong, your team at Draver Dental can help you review your lifestyle habits to better protect your smile. Whether you need help adding a good habit, or need help weaning off a bad habit, our team can help you select products best suited to keep your smile sparkling.
Left to right: TMJ4 cameraman Benjamin Russano, correspondent Andrea Boehlke, dental hygienist Mary Warnke, Milwaukee dentist Dr. Hannah Draver.
The video segment above featuring dental hygienist Mary Warnke and correspondent Andrea Boehlke originally aired on January 27, 2023, during The Morning Blend on Milwaukee’s TMJ4.