We get a lot of questions from our patients; sometimes it’s because they’re simply nervous, sometimes it’s because they’re just curious, but most of all, it’s because they want to be as educated as possible when it comes to their oral health!
We understand that there are many things patients are wanting to know, whether they apply before, during, or after they’re in our chair. We wanted to make a list to encourage further dental education, and answer some of the most common questions patients approach us with!
1. Is Flossing Really That Important?
There’s a reason your parents always encouraged you to floss as a child, and why we floss your teeth during your cleaning – it’s because flossing is so important for the ongoing maintenance of your oral health!
Flossing has a number of benefits, and should be used in conjunction with frequent brushing, which you should be doing at least twice on a daily basis. One of the most important things flossing does is dislodge leftover food particles from your teeth to ensure nothing remains trapped and enabled to form harmful bacteria. Your toothbrush does a good job of removing food particles and keeping the teeth clean, but floss ensures your smile is as clean as can be!
Flossing helps to ensure plaque doesn’t build up in hard to reach crevices, which can easily lead to a heightened risk of tooth decay if left unchecked. If the problem persists and the plaque hardens to form tartar, a trip to the dentist will definitely be in order – only your dentist as the proper tools and skills to remove tartar, as it cannot be brushed away.
We recommend incorporating floss into your oral hygiene routine at least once per day for the best possible results. If you’re currently in the middle of orthodontic treatment, and are using methods such as braces or Invisalign, we always encourage patients to brush and floss after every meal for optimal oral health. You don’t need anything building up during your treatment!
2. Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?
While this is certainly an annoyance, you’re among a large percentage of the population that also deals with chronic tooth sensitivity! In fact, it’s been estimated that nearly half of the population experiences it to some degree.
Many people have it, and many are not sure what it means, why they have it, or how to treat it. Sensitivity is typically caused by the roots of your teeth, or the dentin, becoming exposed. This happens when your gums begin to recede, and therefore expose more of the tooth.
Gum recession can be a leading cause of this, and is caused by a few different things. Brushing too hard is certainly one of them; there’s a common misconception that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth get! The truth is, the harder you brush, the more you damage your gums and cause them to recede, little by little.
Acidic diets can also contribute to tooth sensitivity. Lots of citrus and soda with a lack of proper oral care can expose more dentin over time, leading to increased feelings of sensitivity.
You may notice it when you’re drinking either particularly cold, or particularly hot things. You may even notice it when you open your mouth to speak, and cold air hits your teeth and causes the familiar pang. The good news is, there are ways to fight it!
There are many low abrasive toothpastes on the market that cater towards sensitive teeth, and help your smile get back to normal again! You can also see your dentist, explain your concerns, and let them work with you to recommend treatment options to get you back on track.
3. Do Whitening Toothpastes Really Work?
We know that the best way to get a truly white smile on more than just the surface of the teeth is to do a professional whitening treatment from your dentist, but there are many whitening toothpastes on the market that patients are curious about in the meantime.
In short, yes, commercial whitening toothpastes do remove surface stains as well as they advertise to, but that’s about all they do. A whitening toothpaste will never penetrate the surface of the tooth for a deep whitening – only a professional can do that! Ultimately, they’re a temporary fix for a stained or discolored smile.
We do want to caution you, as well – some whitening toothpastes have been known to wear down your enamel and do more harm than good. It’s important to choose a non abrasive toothpaste, and consult your dentist before you proceed with using it.
If you’re really serious about whitening your teeth, consider professional whitening treatment! Your dentist will be able to help you through every step of the process, and provide you with something that works just for you.
4. Why Do I Have Such Bad Breath in the Morning?
You’re definitely not alone! I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘morning breath’ before – it’s certainly a common one. We all get it, but why?
When you’re sleeping, the saliva production in your mouth decreases. Though it isn’t common knowledge, saliva actually helps to keep your breath fresh by clearing out any leftover food particles between the teeth and along the gums. When this process is halted overnight, it can sometimes produce an odor.
So, just know that morning breath is normal, and because your saliva production has decreased overnight, it’s important to brush your teeth first thing in the morning. However, if this odor persists and there’s no logical explanation for it, it may be time for a consultation with your dentist to pinpoint the source.
5. How Can I Make Sure I Don’t Get Cavities?
This is definitely a common questions patients have. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to never get a cavity, but there are so many easy ways you can prevent them.
- Brush Your Teeth For At Least Two Minutes, At Least Twice a Day
- Floss At Least Once Per Day, In Conjunction with Brushing, Not Instead Of
- Lower Your Intake of Sugar And Acidic Foods and Beverages
- Go For Regular Cleanings and Checkups (Every Six Months)
- Chew Sugarless Gum in a Pinch
Combining all of these methods and making frequent habits out of them will make almost sure that when you go to visit your dentist, you’ll get the all clear almost every time!