Oral Hygiene Basics Brooklyn Heights NY

At Creative Dentistry of Brooklyn Heights , we help patients throughout Brooklyn Heights to stay in excellent oral health. With a focus on preventative care, we take the time to get to know each of our patients, creating a plan for lifelong oral health. With only one set of permanent adult teeth, it is important to care for them and be proactive in taking the steps to prevent cavities, infections, and gum disease. We recommend that you visit our dental office for a teeth cleaning twice a year so that we can remove plaque buildup and tartar, keeping your mouth healthy and clean. To schedule an appointment, call 718-875-9424. In the meantime, here are steps that you can take at home to keep your mouth healthy.

How to brush your teeth properly
As a Brooklyn Heights dentist, we know that how you brush your teeth is just as important as how often you brush them. It is important that you use a soft toothbrush that will not irritate your gums or cause the enamel on your teeth to erode. Many people make the mistake of thinking that a hard toothbrush is necessary for keeping teeth clean, but this is not the case. As long as you brush correctly a soft toothbrush will work equally well without damaging your teeth. Be sure to brush your teeth in a circular pattern, starting at the gum line and working your way towards the center of your mouth. This will move food particles, bacteria, and plaque away from your gum line. Brush your teeth in quadrants and be sure to brush each section for at least thirty seconds. While brushing you should apply even pressure but not be too aggressive. You should also use fluoride toothpaste since this will provide additional protection from cavities. We recommend that you brush three times a day – morning, after lunch, and before bed. This will keep your mouth clean without causing irritation from over-brushing. Additionally, be sure to buy a new toothbrush every three months or sooner if your bristles are frayed or your toothbrush is stained or smelling.

Flossing is essential for your teeth and gums
At Creative Dentistry of Brooklyn Heights, we remind our patients that it is critical to floss on a daily basis. If you live in the Brooklyn Heights area and have not been to the dentist lately, we invite you to schedule an appointment so that we can clean your teeth and remove the plaque and bacteria from hard to reach places. Afterward, it is up to you to floss on a daily basis to remove food particles and plaque from in between your teeth. If they remain in place, you can develop gum disease which is both uncomfortable and dangerous to your oral and overall health. Gum disease occurs when plaque forms underneath the gum line and not flossing can lead to this. If you do not particularly enjoy flossing, buy a plastic flossing tool that you can hold and throw away once done. This makes it easier to get the job done.

Selecting the right mouthwash
When you use mouthwash, it is important to be sure that it is sugar-free. We also recommend using mouthwash that contains fluoride since this will help to kill any lingering bacteria while strengthening your teeth. Carry a bottle of mouthwash with you and rinse your mouth with it after meals, drinking a soda, or consuming coffee. As a Brooklyn Heights, NY dentist office, we understand that it is difficult to brush more than a couple of times per day. Rinsing your mouth, however, is relatively easy, and everyone has time for it. Taking this simple step can help to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease.

How to prevent tooth decay
Our team prevents tooth decay every day by helping our patients to have clean and healthy teeth. Tooth decay starts when plaque is left on the teeth, and the acid inside of it starts to eat away at the enamel. Keeping teeth clean by removing plaque, therefore, prevents tooth decay. Simultaneously, at home you can continue to brush your teeth and floss after meals. If you do not have anything with you, rinse your mouth with water. This will help to remove some of the loose food particles that may be in your mouth or to remove some of the sugar from your teeth. You should also eat a healthy diet since everything that you eat is directly placed onto your teeth.

What you should know about getting a fluoride treatment
At Creative Dentistry of Brooklyn Heights, we are a family dentist office that uses fluoride on a regular basis. We recommend that all of our youth patients under the age of eighteen have a fluoride treatment, at least once a year. Statistically, these treatments reduce the risk of getting cavities by 30 percent. This is significant considering that tooth decay is one of the primary reasons children miss days from school. Adults can also benefit from receiving a fluoride treatment and if you would like to find out if it is right for you, call 718-875-9424 to schedule an appointment. The treatment itself only takes a couple of minutes. The fluoride is applied directly to the teeth. It has no odor or smell and after a few minutes, patients are free to leave. It is one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities.

How to select the right toothbrush
Patients of our general dentist office are given a toothbrush at each visit. We recommend that you use it for three months and then replace it. When purchasing a toothbrush, look for a soft one that will not irritate your gums or erode your enamel. Otherwise, we suggest a battery operated or electric toothbrush since they can give you the best clean. The toothbrush head rotates while you are moving the brush around, helping you to break up more plaque for the cleanest possible teeth.

Here is a list of 10 Dental hygiene steps you can take to promote great oral hygiene.

1. Proper Brushing

One of the easiest steps to do to help your teeth keep clean. When brushing your teeth, position the bristles at an angle of 45 degrees near the gum line. Both the gum line and the tooth surface should be in contact with the bristles. Brush the outer surfaces of the teeth using a back-and-forth, up-and-down motion, making sure to be done gently in order to avoid bleeding. To clean the inside surfaces of the teeth and gums, place the bristles at a 45-degree angle again and repeat the back-and-forth, up-and-down motion. Lastly, brush the surfaces of your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove bacteria, which might cause bad breath.

Try to brush at least twice a day to prevent acid buildup from the breakdown of food by bacteria. However, if your work or activities prevent you from doing this, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water after eating to minimize the amount of food that would serve as substrate for the bacteria.

2. Flossing!
We know, it’s a chore and alot of times forgetful after brushing if rushing out the door or heading to bed. However, flossing can help you remove food particles and other detrimental substances that brushing regularly cannot. Flossing allows you to reach deep between your teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach or even mouthwash cannot wash away. We recommend flossing at least once a day.

3. Avoid Tobacco

This will be a big favor to your teeth. One, it will save you from oral cancer and periodontal complications. Two, it will save you from the countless ill effects caused by the agents used to mask the smell of tobacco. For example, if you smoke a cigarette, you may use candies, tea or coffee to mask the smoky breath and odor. This doubles the amount of damage caused.

4. Limit Sodas, Coffee and Alcohol
Although these beverages contain a high level of phosphorous, which is a necessary mineral for a healthy mouth, too much phosphorous can deplete the body’s level of calcium. This causes dental hygiene problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Beverages containing additives such as corn syrup and food dye can make pearly white teeth appear dull and discolored. Therefore, it is best to choose beverages like milk, which helps strengthen teeth and build stronger enamel, giving you a healthy, beautiful smile and water which hydrates your body longer than sugary drinks.

5. Consume Calcium and other Vitamins that are good for the body

You need plenty of calcium for your teeth. It is essential for the teeth as well as your bones. It is better to drink milk, fortified orange juice and to eat yogurt, broccoli, cheese, and other dairy products. You can also take a calcium supplement, taking different doses according to your age and necessity as per prescription. Calcium and Vitamin D are necessary for maintaining the health of gums and teeth. Vitamin B complex is also essential for the protection of gums and teeth from cracking and bleeding. Copper, zinc, iodine, iron and potassium are also required for maintaining healthy dental hygiene.

6. Visit Your Dentist
You should visit your dentist at least twice a year to have a full hygiene treatment performed. Also at these appointments, a comprehensive exam is taken with x-rays to help detect and prevent future dental treatments from occurring.

7. Use Mouthwash along side brushing and flossing

Mouthwash is not particularly necessary and not all mouthwashes are useful. Mouthwashes containing Listerine or chlorine dioxide are very helpful because they help to kill and maintain the bacteria in your mouth. It can help maintain good breath as well as help maintain strong teeth. Mouthwash cannot do all the work but if your are already brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist and eating well, mouthwash is the cherry on top that will make your dental health great.

8. Having a toothache or noticing other dental symptoms
If you are having tooth and jaw pain make an appointment as soon as possible. Your dentist needs to diagnose the underlying cause and correct it before it turns into a greater problem.

9. Look at the Big Picture

Everyone understands that you should take care of your teeth to avoid toothaches, maintain your looks and keep dental bills at bay. Many people, however, don’t understand how crucial oral health is to our total health picture. Tooth problems can lead to diabetes, heart disease, systemic infections, an inability to eat or speak properly and other maladies – some life-threatening. Crooked or crowded teeth can contribute to gum disease that can eventually lead to tooth loss. Straight teeth are no longer just for looks.

10. Clean your tongue
Clean the surface of your tongue daily. By using a professional tongue cleaner you remove countless bacteria that otherwise live, particularly on the rougher top surface of your tongue. These can contribute to bad breath (halitosis) and negatively affect your dental health.

Food and drinks that you should avoid
As a family dentist office, we recommend that you avoid drinking too much soda, juice, coffee or anything that contains a lot of sugar. You should also stay away from candy, desserts, and particularly sour candy. Additionally, acidic fruit is bad for your teeth. Any time that you have a diet that is high in sugar and starch it is bad for your teeth because the bacteria on your teeth will thrive in this environment. Simultaneously, when you eat foods that are highly acidic, it can lead to enamel erosion. At Creative Dentistry of Brooklyn Heights, we recommend that you eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables, lean protein, dairy, and nuts since they can help to remineralize and strengthen your teeth. For more tips on how to eat a mouth-healthy diet, call 718-875-9424 and schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Matthew L. Bellafiore, DDS.