Just like that, it’s almost summertime. As the spring season ends, perhaps these lighter, brighter days are inspiring you to do a bit of last-minute spring cleaning. Or perhaps they’re not. No judgment here!
What Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis can recommend wholeheartedly is finishing the season with a clean, sparkling smile. And we have some bright ideas for you!
Refresh Your Cleaning Technique
Tooth brushing can become so automatic that we don’t think about the basics anymore. And suddenly, we’ve finished brushing in half the time we used to, and, hey, how long has that floss been sitting on the counter, anyway? We suggest some mindful cleaning for a healthier smile.
- Spend two minutes brushing, at least twice each day.
- Make sure you reach all the surfaces of your teeth, inside, outside, and on top of your molars.
- Use short, gentle brush strokes, covering a tooth or two at a time.
- Angle your brush to clean along the gum line. Plaque around the gums leads to irritation and inflammation, and is a common cause of gum disease.
- Use vertical strokes to clean the inside of your front teeth.
- Floss at least once each day.
Good Cleaning Requires Good Tools
Since we’re tidying up, let’s talk about some helpful cleaning tools. Is your toothbrush looking a bit—long in the tooth?
After three to four months of brushing, your toothbrush bristles start to break down. Frayed and matted bristles can’t clean as effectively as a toothbrush in top shape. Each change of season is a good time to remind yourself to change brushes.
And, while you’re shopping, remember:
- Soft bristles are almost always all any brusher needs. Even medium bristles can be abrasive to tooth enamel and gums. And brush gently—scrubbing is also abrasive.
- If you use an electric toothbrush, those toothbrush heads need to be replaced, too! In fact, because these brushes often have shorter bristles, heads might need to be replaced every two to three months.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to clean and protect your teeth.
- Don’t forget the floss!
If you’re not a fan of your current floss, take another look at the dental aisle in your local store. There are lots of new flossing options out there just waiting to be sampled. Or consider a water flosser. Water flossers can be an effective and gentle means of cleaning bacteria from periodontal pockets for those with gum disease. Your periodontist can help you find just the right floss or water flosser for your one-of-a-kind smile.
And speaking of your dental team . . .
Some Cleaning Jobs Require Professional Help
If you suffer from gum disease, a twice-a-year cleaning with your dentist might not be enough to keep your teeth and gums their healthiest. In this case, your periodontist, a specialist in treating conditions of the gums, bones, and tissues surrounding the teeth, can perform a more thorough deep cleaning at our San Mateo, CA office. This procedure is non-surgical, and makes use of two types of cleaning:
- Scaling, to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar above and below the gum line.
- Planing, to smooth the roots of the teeth. This process clears away bacteria and the rough spots where bacteria collect, and provides a smooth tooth surface for gum attachment.
Because periodontal cleanings are more thorough, they can take more than one appointment to complete and might require a local anesthetic. You might also be given medications to help the healing process. A follow up appointment will be scheduled to see whether further treatment is necessary.
Spring’s coming to an end, but taking care of your dental health is always in season! A clean smile isn’t just a more confident smile, it’s a healthier one. Talk to your periodontist for more tips to create your best and brightest smile at any time of year.