Preventive care is the key in everything you do or have done to help your teeth last a long time, maybe even a lifetime.
Even a dental procedure is prevention. Having a cavity filled staves off needing a root canal, while a root canal may block the ultimate decay that means having a tooth pulled.
But it all begins at home, with you.
“Any sort of preventive care all starts with home care … brushing, flossing and using mouthwash,” said Dr. Eric Salud, lead dentist at Complete Comfort Dental in Channahon.
These are the staples of home tooth care, but a few points need to be stressed, he said.
- Brushing: Once a day for about two minutes, using a circular motion and not pressing too hard. A soft brushing and a soft toothbrush are best.
- Flossing: Once a day. Wrap the floss string around each tooth like a letter C, and slide up and down a few times. Pulling in and out does little good, and may aggravate the gums.
- Gargling: After brushing and flossing. Use a mouthwash containing fluoride, but not alcohol.
Dr. Salud said the best time for your brush-floss-gargle routine is at night before going to bed. The flow of saliva that helps to neutralize acidity in the mouth during waking hours slows at night, so it is best to remove as much bacteria as possible before sleeping.
A fourth – and just as vital – prevention practice is scheduling regular visits to your dentist, usually twice a year.
These should include updated X-rays so “we can catch any problems at the earliest stage,” he said.
“Just because something doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean something isn’t wrong” that cannot be seen visually, Dr. Salud said.
Complete Comfort Dental
25445 S. Pheasant Lane, Suite I
Channahon, IL 60410