At Smithson Valley Family Dentistry, we’re on a mission to keep our friends, families, neighbors, and community members happy, healthy – and smiling! Many people have no idea how important preventing cavities and gum disease is for the health of not just the mouth, but the entire body. The mouth mirrors the health of your body, providing a direct passageway for bacteria – both good and bad – to travel from the gums into the bloodstream, where it then flows throughout the body and into the main lifelines. Build your immunity by brushing, flossing, and seeing Dr. Wright on a regular basis.
Oral hygiene is one of your best lines of defense against not only tooth decay and gum disease, but the serious health complications that can follow. We all know we should brush twice daily and floss every day, but it’s easy to let our dental routine slide when busy schedules get demanding. Thankfully, our outstanding hygiene team at Smithson Valley Family Dentistry understands. We give you the knowledge, techniques, and tools to keep your smile clean and healthy between visits and give you a gentle yet thorough cleaning twice a year to take care of any plaque or tartar you’ve left behind.
1. Consider investing in an electric toothbrush – they really do clean better than a manual and with less effort. We would be happy to recommend one for you!
2. Brush at least twice per day for two minutes with the brush at a 45-degree angle so the bristles get along and under the gum line, using small circular motions. Be sure to brush all sides of your teeth – and all the way to the back.
3. Don’t forget to clean your tongue, as it can harbor a lot of bacteria that will only get redeposited after you’re done brushing.
4. Floss every day. Curve floss in a c-shape around each tooth, under the gum line. Use a clean section of floss for each tooth to avoid re-depositing the bacteria and plaque you just removed. (If traditional string floss doesn’t work for you, there are many alternatives we can recommend.)
5. Rinse with mouthwash to kill bacteria and create a healthier environment.
6. Swish with water after eating or drinking, before brushing, and throughout the day to minimize plaque buildup, acidity, and bacteria – and be sure to spit out the water!
7. Avoid brushing right after eating or drinking, as your mouth produces acids that can damage your tooth enamel when combined with the brushing motion. It’s better to swish with water, wait about 30 minutes and then brush.
Gum disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss for adults. Left untreated, gum disease can potentially contribute to the development of at least 52 serious systemic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. If your gums bleed during regular brushing or flossing, you already have early-stage gum disease known as gingivitis – but there is good news! Gum disease is preventable, treatable, and reversible. Treatment for gum disease varies on a case-by-case basis depending on the level of infection and tissue damage. If you only have gingivitis, we can likely reverse it by stepping up your oral hygiene routine and regular professional cleanings. When gum disease is more severe, Dr. Wright and the team will explain other treatment options, such as deep cleaning or scaling and root planing.
Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer because it typically goes undetected and undiagnosed until its later stages. While tobacco and alcohol are still considered the most common major risk factors for oral cancer, alarming new research shows another risk factor outweighs those two factors combined – HPV (human papillomavirus). 79 million Americans currently have HPV, and most sexually active adults will contract the infection during their lifetime. Many of them will never realize they are infected. As a result, regular oral cancer screenings have become extremely important. Keep your regular appointments with Dr. Wright so we can all fight oral cancer together!
Smithson Valley Family Dentistry believes your healthy smile is your greatest asset. If anyone in your family suffers from TMJ, teeth grinding (bruxism), or is active in contact sports, Dr. Wright strongly recommends a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth, jaw, and head. The inexpensive stock mouthguards at the sporting goods store are not custom-made, so they don’t fit well, are uncomfortable, and are less likely to be consistently worn when needed. A custom-made mouthguard provides the most comfortable fit and the highest level of protection against oral injuries, potential tooth loss, and can even minimize concussion damage.