Did you drop the ball on spring cleaning this year? Not to worry — you still have time! After all, the first day of summer isn’t until the 21st of June! As you put together your plans for tackling the deep cleaning of your home and property, though, you may forget to consider one small, but very essential item: your toothbrush. Don’t be among the many who overlook the importance of taking the time to properly clean your toothbrush this spring.
Why Should I Clean My Toothbrush?
If you’re brushing as often as you should, you’re using your toothbrush at least 2-3 times each day. How can you expect your toothbrush to do its job and keep your mouth clean and healthy, though, if you’re not keeping your toothbrush clean and healthy? In recent years, scientists have conducted studies that have determined that certain microorganisms within the mouth can be transferred to the bristles of your toothbrush, making your brushing less effective. Investing just a little of your time in the process of cleaning and caring for your toothbrush will help eliminate the build-up of bacteria and microorganisms, meaning a healthier, happier mouth.
Toothbrush Cleaning 101
Ready to make sure that your toothbrush is well cleaned? Here are three steps to a healthy brush:
Rinse — Always take the time to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each and every use. All toothpaste and debris should be carefully removed from both the bristles and the shaft of the toothbrush.
Store — After rinsing your toothbrush, you need to make sure that it’s properly stored. This means that the toothbrush should be kept in a place where it’s both upright and uncovered. When the toothbrush is laying down, it may not dry as effectively. This is also a problem when a toothbrush is covered or left in a sealed container. Putting the toothbrush in a container can also encourage bacterial growth. We recommend keeping your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet to prevent airborne contaminants from affecting it. Whenever multiple toothbrushes are stored together, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that the bristles are not touching so that you can avoid cross-contamination. Finally, allow your toothbrush to fully air dry between uses.
Soak — After cleaning your teeth, your toothbrush’s bristles have been exposed to bacterial contaminants. When left untreated, the bacteria can build up and make your oral hygiene routine less effective. We recommend that you let your toothbrush soak in mouthwash for approximately 20 minutes each day in order to kill off the bacteria. And while we’re on the subject, here’s a bonus tip: rinse your mouth with mouthwash before brushing your teeth. This will cut down on the bacteria in your mouth that your toothbrush bristles will need to be exposed to.
When to Replace
Cleaning will only get you so far with your toothbrush. No matter how well you care for the brush, it will need to be replaced eventually, so it’s important that you know the signs. As a general rule, toothbrushes should be replaced at least every 3-4 months. You may need to replace the brush sooner if the bristles have become frayed, so keep an eye out for any issues. Always remember to closely monitor your children’s toothbrushes, as theirs need to be replaced more often and will not come to this conclusion on their own.
Need some more tips on how to care for your toothbrush, or information on how to select the right brush for your oral health? Give Dr. Bruce McArthur a call today. We’ll set up a time for you to come in for a cleaning and a consult.
Taking care of your teeth should always be a priority in your life. After all, we use them on a daily basis for our survival, and the better shape they’re in, the longer they’ll last. That’s why we start learning about proper dental care at such a young age.
But do you know everything there is to know about your teeth and how to care for them? We could write an entire book on the subject, but for today, let’s concentrate on a few things that you probably don’t know about them:
1. Saliva is Their First Line of Defense
Brushing and flossing is an integral part of your daily dental health routine, and it’s something you should never skip. What you may not realize, though, is that these two activities are your second and third lines of defense. The first is saliva, nature’s cavity fighter. You see, when bacteria in your mouth, known as plaque, feeds on sugars from food and beverages, it eats through your teeth’s enamel. The saliva in your mouth helps to rinse out your mouth on a regular basis, lessening the damage of the bacteria. Saliva can’t do the job alone, but without it, proper dental health would be much more difficult.
2. How We Eat Can Be As Important As What We Eat
Everyone loves snacks, right? Whether it’s a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, or a bottle of soda, millions of people all across America — right now — are sitting at their desks either enjoying a snack or looking forward to one. The problem is that constantly eating or sipping sugary snacks, whether donuts or sodas, can be especially damaging to your teeth. That’s because it creates a situation where there’s a constant bombardment of sugar being projected against your teeth. Hint: That’s not a good thing.
3. Too Much Fluoride Can Damage Your Teeth
For many years, we’ve been told how helpful fluoride can be in the battle against cavities. This is true, but… it is possible to have too much fluoride. There’s already fluoride in your toothpaste and mouthwash, and it’s normal for communities to add it to the drinking water. All of this is well and good, except for the fact that a condition causing white spots on your teeth, called fluorosis, can develop over time. If you’re going to drink tap water on a regular basis, you might want to check with your community on the levels of fluoride in the drinking water. If you think you’re getting too much, switch to bottled water instead.
4. Spit, But Don’t Rinse
Once you’ve finished brushing your teeth, you don’t want to swallow the toothpaste, because it will give your body too much fluoride. But you may not want to rinse your mouth out, either. Allowing the small of amount of toothpaste left in your mouth once you spit to stay there can provide a healthy amount of fluoride to help clean your teeth even after brushing. Next time you brush, give it a try!
5. Oral Health Can Tell You a Lot About Your Overall Health
If you are one of the millions of adults across the U.S. who experience gum disease, this may be an indicator of something more serious. People with higher levels of gum disease often have other health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Plus, for women, you could be looking at a higher rate of low-birthweight babies and premature births. So if you have gum disease, check with your primary doctor as well.
Would you like to learn more about your teeth and what you can do to improve your dental health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and we’ll get you started today!
Diabetes creates health concerns for the entire body, but many people fail to recognize the potential risks that it can present to oral health. You may be surprised to learn, then, that one out of every five occurrences of tooth loss can be attributed to diabetes, and the disease also increases the likelihood of dental disease. If you or a loved one suffer from diabetes, it’s very important that you understand the risks and take measures to counter them. To increase your awareness, we’ve assembled a list of the most common oral ailments linked to those with diabetes and have provided some tips for managing these complications.
Those with diabetes experience a higher risk of developing gum disease. One of the earliest signs associated with gum disease is bleeding during the brushing or flossing process. Don’t ignore this symptom! Left untreated, gum disease may cause the bone supporting your teeth to break down and lead to tooth loss. Instead, take care to brush and floss two times each day, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet. Gum disease can worsen if blood sugar is too high or too low, so do your part to keep it under control.
Dry Mouth Syndrome
Research has shown that diabetics tend to have less saliva than most non-sufferers. This leads to individuals feeling parched, or excessively thirsty. In addition to this, certain diabetic medications and high blood sugar levels can further contribute to dry mouth. The problem here is that saliva is a necessary component in removing sugar, leftover food, and other debris from the mouth. Without its help, you could develop more cavities. Counter the dry mouth problem by drinking plenty of water or chewing sugar-free gum and eating crunchy foods that promote saliva production.
Change in Taste
Another side affect of diabetes is that certain tastes may not seem as rich or flavorful as they once did. On the bright side, this creates opportunities for you to play around with different flavorings, textures, and spices to see what appeals to your palette and enhances your dining experience. It’s important, though, that you make sure to not add excessive amounts of sugar to your food in an attempt to add flavor. This will not only put you at risk for diabetic complications, but can lead to more cavities.
As you know, diabetes affects the immune system, which leaves you much more prone to infection. A common problem for diabetics is a yeast infection known as oral thrush. Yeast tends to thrive on the higher volumes of sugar found in a diabetic’s saliva, and it will appear as a white layer that coats the insides of the cheeks and tongue. You’ll find that thrush leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Be sure to talk to your dentist immediately if you think you may have thrush or another oral infection.
If you have diabetes, you might notice that cold sores, canker sores, and cuts inside of your mouth don’t seem to go away for a long time. This may be related to poor control of blood sugar levels, as a lack of control can slow down the healing process. Talk to your dentist or doctor for more information on oral sores that don’t seem to be healing as they should.
Although diabetes can present increased risks to your oral health, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. Being aware of the risks can help you to take action to prevent problems before they arise and to quickly address existing issues before they worsen. For more information on oral health, please contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today.
As everyone should know by know, flossing your teeth is an important part of your dental and oral health. If you’re not flossing, you’re doing your teeth a disservice.
Floss has been around for a while, but not a lot of people know its original. Conversely, even the most ardent of users can be unaware of the sheer magnitude of its effectiveness in improving a person’s dental and oral health.
To help you get a better grasp of flossing, here are a few interesting facts about flossing that you may not know:
Brushing Won’t Do the Job Alone
If you’re a regular brusher, then great — but that’s not going to cut it, sad to say. The layout of your teeth creates a situation wherein 40 percent of each tooth’s service area is represented by the space between them. Unfortunately, no matter how good your toothbrush may be, there’s no way for it to effectively clear between these spaces. This means that food in the spaces will stay there to rot, increasing the likelihood of developing cavities and other problems. Flossing is the only way to make sure that the entire surface of each tooth is being cleaned.
Flossing Goes Back Further Than You Probably Realize
Many people believe that flossing is a modern technique that developed just a few decades ago. On the contrary, evidence has been found that suggests the use of makeshift floss and toothpicks by prehistoric humans. That being said, the technique didn’t become popular until the early 1800s when a dentist in New Orleans suggested to patients the use of a silk thread as a way to floss on a daily basis. Dental care was archaic back then, but can you imagine how much worse it would’ve been without that little tidbit of dental care?
Flossing Took a While to Catch On Commercially
You’d think that something that improved dental health so drastically would be the talk of the town and a company would immediately start selling it to the masses. Well, if that’s what you think, you’re totally wrong. Even though it had been around for the better part of a century, the first mass-produced dental floss didn’t show up until 1882. And it wasn’t until1898, after years of making their own floss, that Johnson & Johnson was awarded with the first dental floss patent. Since then, it’s evolved from its silk roots to nylon and other materials over the years. But while the material component has changed, its usefulness has not.
Flossing May Help You Live Longer
One of the biggest dangers of neglecting your teeth and gums is gum disease, also known as gingivitis. This condition is treatable with good oral hygiene, but if left untreated, will develop into periodontitis, which can cause your teeth to fall out. While this isn’t life-threatening, a link has been found between gum disease and an increase risk of coronary heart disease, caused by what they believe is bacteria inside your mouth finding its way into your bloodstream and affecting the arteries. Flossing decreases your chance of gum disease, which means that you also lower the likelihood of heart disease. So next time you reach for that floss, just remember that you could very well be adding years onto your life.
Do you want to know more about how brushing and flossing can benefit both your dental and oral health? Is it time for your routine check-up and cleaning? If you answered yes to either of these questions or want to inquire about any elective dental procedures, then contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur and we’ll get you started on a future of improved dental health!
As we’ve covered in past posts, it is vitally important that you visit your dentist at regular intervals, for both a cleaning and check-up. Other than that, though, we understand you have other things to do, possibly even more fun than visiting the dentist!
Keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled some quick tips on how to avoid multiple dental visits whenever possible. Follow these and basic maintenance may be all you’ll ever need.
Learn to Brush Correctly
You expect the wrong brushing technique to be utilized by kids, but you might be surprised at how many adults neglect to brush their teeth correctly. What you want to do is brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums, and make sure that you’re massaging along the gum line. This will help you optimize each brushing session. For a visual on how to do this correctly, go to YouTube and search for videos on “how to brush your teeth.”
Make Sure You Floss
If you’re only brushing your teeth, you’re missing a good amount of the food particles and bacteria that get trapped between them. This is a big reason that people get cavities even though they brush their teeth on a regular basis. If you find that normal dental floss gets stuck in your teeth or can’t go in between them at all, pick up a type (like Glide) that is specifically coated and designed for these situations. Flossing has been shown to greatly reduce the need for dental visits, so this is something you should never avoid.
Follow the 2-2-2 Rule
The 2-2-2 rule is made up of three parts: First, visit your dentist two times a year for a cleaning and check-up. Second, brush and floss your teeth two times a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed. And third, brush for two full minutes each time. If you follow this simple guideline, you won’t find yourself visiting your dentist too often.
Drink Plenty of Water
As we recently covered just a couple of weeks ago, drinking water has a bevy of advantages to a person’s health. In the case of dental health, drinking water helps wash away harmful bacteria that collects on your teeth throughout the day. This keeps bacteria from damaging your teeth, so make sure to grab a glass whenever you’re thirsty!
Wear a Mouth Guard
When playing sports, especially high-contact ones, injuries can happen at a moment’s notice. Chipped and cracked teeth can lead to a dental emergency that will cost you a pretty penny. We would never want you to avoid sports, so we suggest protecting your teeth by wearing a mouth guard. Your teeth will thank you!
Adopt a “Full Disclosure” Policy
When you visit the dentist for one problem — a cavity, for instance — your inclination might be to get out of there as quickly as possible and not inform him or her of a second or third problem. This is a mistake that could send you running back to the dentist’s chair very soon. It’s best to disclose everything during a visit, even if it means staying a little longer or making a follow-up appointment to deal with the new problem.