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Dental FAQ


How often should I visit the dentist?

You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and/or harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach. Some patients with specific oral health needs require more frequent visits.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

You should brush your teeth at least twice daily, once in the morning and one before going to bed; an electric toothbrush is strongly recommended. In addition, you should floss one daily.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?

The following guidelines are important for brushing properly:
•  Make sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush; hard bristled toothbrushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth or cause damage to your gums
•  Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line
•  Use tiny circular movements to brush each individual tooth
•  Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing; gentle strokes are more effective in removing plaque
•  Brush each surface of every tooth, including the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth
•  Don't cut your brushing short! Be sure to brush for at least two minutes

How often should I change my toothbrush?

You should change your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner (if the bristles become worn/frayed). Additionally, you should change you toothbrush if you have been sick with a cold or other bacterial infection.

What is the proper way to floss my teeth?

The following guidelines are important for flossing properly:
•  Take approximately 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand; you can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches for in between cleaning
•  Creating a “C” shape with the floss, move the floss down into the space between two teeth, sliding it up and down against the surface of the tooth;
•  Repeat this process for each of the spaces between your teeth

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that continually forms on our teeth. If plaque is not properly removed, it can lead to cavities and/or gum disease. Regular dental checkups, along with brushing and flossing daily, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque accumulation.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that support your teeth. Typically periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits or a lack of regular dental checkups. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stages of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, and eventually, tooth loss.

What are the signs of periodontal (gum disease)?

The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease; you should contact your dentist if you experience:
•  Gums that bleed while brushing
•  Red, swollen, and/or tender gums
•  Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
•  Bad breath that doesn’t go away
•  Pus between your teeth and/or gums
•  Loose teeth
•  A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral health. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. In addition, smoking significantly increases the risk of periodontal disease.

What causes yellow teeth?

There are several causes of yellow or discolored teeth; a few of the most common include:
•  Drinks: Coffee, tea, and red wine are commonly known for their staining abilities.
•  Certain Foods: Colored candies, popsicles, and other bright foods can also cause staining over time. Even healthy foods, such as berries (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries) can stain teeth.
•  Natural Process of Aging: Simply stated, teeth yellow over time. Yellowing of teeth is a natural part of the aging process that occurs as the white protective coating (enamel) wears down over time.

What can I do about bad breath?

Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including: ingesting certain types of foods, poor oral hygiene, the presence of periodontal disease or infection, dry mouth (also known as xerostomia), and use of tobacco products; in addition, specific medical disorders can also cause bad breath. When bacteria accumulate due to poor oral hygiene or gum disease, or when saliva is lacking, bad breath can occur as a result. Specific medications and medical disorders can also have effects relating to bad breath. If bad breath is persistent, contact your dentist.

What is dry mouth?

Xerostomia, more commonly known as dry mouth, is caused by a reduced flow of saliva. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, and provides disease fighting substances throughout the mouth.

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety
•  Side effects of medications: more than 400 medications cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva
•  Diseases/disorders: specific diseases and disorders can affect the salivary glands
•  Radiation therapy: the salivary glands can become damaged if they are exposed to radiation during cancer treatments
•  Tobacco use

Without adequate saliva, extensive tooth decay can also occur. Your dentist can recommend a variety of methods to restore moisture to your mouth. Frequent consumption of water, sugar-free candy or gum, and saliva substitutes are effective methods to relieve dry mouth.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

You should change your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner (if the bristles become worn/frayed). Additionally, you should change you toothbrush if you have been sick with a cold or other bacterial infection.




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10380 Old Columbia Rd, Suite 102, Columbia, MD 21046
- (410) 381-5030
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