It’s a question our Toledo area dental patients routinely ask us at Dr. Poz — “I’m doing everything you suggested I do to take care of my teeth, so why did I still get a cavity.”
In this second of a multi-part series we will discuss important information and useful tips to improve your daily oral care.
3 Tips to Up Your Brushing Game
While there are many factors that play a part in your susceptibility to cavities — what you eat, your oral care, even your genetics — the answer may not be in the what you are doing to take care of your teeth, but rather in the how you are doing it. The truth is, there’s a little more to preventing tooth decay than adherence to the suggested basic daily routine guidelines. Here are three tips to take your brushing to another level of care.
- Consider a brush upgrade
Electric toothbrushes can be more effective than a manual brush. Most come with a built-in two-minute timer. Some even come with an app that lets you know if you have reached all your teeth. A small toothbrush head helps to reach awkward areas in the mouth, while medium-textured bristles help you clean effectively without causing harm to gums and teeth. Remember to replace your manual brush or electric brush head every three months.
(At Dr. Poz, we have two styles of electric toothbrushes — one you can even take home for a brushing test!)
- Use fluoride toothpaste
Most of the benefit from brushing comes from toothpaste. The key ingredient to look for is fluoride, which evidence shows prevents tooth decay. Fluoride also replaces lost minerals in teeth and makes them stronger.
For maximum benefit, use toothpaste with 1350-1500 ppmF (concentration of fluoride in parts per million) — to prevent tooth decay. You can check your toothpaste’s concentration on the back of the tube.
Note: not all children’s toothpastes are strong enough for them to gain maximum benefit. Check with your dentist who may prescribe higher strength fluoride toothpaste based on their assessment of your or your child’s risk of tooth decay.
- It’s OK to spit
Once you’ve brushed, do not rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash! Rinsing washes away fluoride! Not rinsing, especially at night time, gives fluoride the longest opportunity to work. While this can be a difficult habit to break, it can reduce tooth decay by up to 25%!
Here’s why. At night, you produce less saliva than during the day. This means your teeth have less protection from saliva and are more vulnerable to acid attacks. That is why it is so important to remove food from your teeth before bed so plaque bacteria can’t grow overnight. So don’t spit after brushing at night and don’t eat or drink anything except water.
Making these 3 changes to up your brushing game can help decrease the number of cavities you get and improve your overall oral health.
If you have other questions about this blog or proper brushing and oral care, please contact us at Dr. Poz’s office or speak to one of the hygienists during your next visit.