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woman looking at smile at the dentist's

Basic Dental Care in Northern Virginia

woman looking at smile at the dentist's

Your basic dental care routine at home is essential to having a healthy, attractive smile. You can do a great deal to prevent decay, gum disease, and tooth loss just by taking a few minutes every morning and evening to follow our basic hygiene recommendations. We want to be your partner in maintaining a healthy smile for as long as possible.

Basic dental care is easy. All you have to do is:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Use Fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Have a routine dental exam every six months

Contact us if you need to schedule a checkup. Don’t forget to schedule a teeth cleaning as well.

Brush Twice Daily

Take two minutes to brush your teeth every morning and every evening. It’s even better if you can brush after lunch too. Be sure to hit every tooth surface, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to do your front teeth. This position will sweep plaque away from your gumline. Use a straight up-and-down to brush the back of your teeth.

Always use a toothbrush with soft bristles; it will reach in the nooks and crannies of the tooth. One with bristles of varying heights will clean your teeth better. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months; a frayed brush won’t clean your teeth as well. Look for a toothbrush with the American Dental Association’s seal of acceptance to ensure it will be effective. These toothbrushes come in all price points.

Keep your toothbrush clean by storing it upright so it dries completely between uses. If you’ve been ill or feel your toothbrush is dirty, rinse it out with an antibacterial mouthwash. You can also use a denture cleaning tablet and let your brush soak overnight.

Some toothbrushes come with a small rubber tip at the end of the handle the piece of rubber is called a gum stimulator. It stimulates blood flow to the gums and may help prevent periodontal disease. Ask one of our dentists if they think this will benefit you.

You can also use your toothbrush to brush your tongue. Harmful bacteria can build up on your tongue and contribute to tooth decay and bad breath. There are also special tongue scrapers; they are usually found in the toothbrush aisle.

Why Use a Fluoride Toothpaste?

Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. This will help prevent cavities. Everyone over the age of two needs fluoride, which is a naturally occurring, safe mineral. Small children should only use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste in case they swallow it. Always use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste, even if your community’s water supply is fluoridated. Many people drink bottled water, which rarely contains enough fluoride. There are many non-fluoridated toothpastes on the market, but fluoride, except in excessive does, is not harmful. The mineral occurs naturally in rocks, soil and some foods, like almonds.

Once you’ve brushed with your fluoride toothpaste, don’t rinse. If you just spit any excess toothpaste out, the fluoride will remain on your teeth longer.

Floss Daily

Floss once a day before brushing your teeth. Your toothbrush, no matter how soft it is, can’t reach everywhere. Flossing helps lower your risk for developing cavities and gum disease. Flossing daily also helps freshen your breath by removing food particles that can rot between your teeth if you don’t remove them.

Interdental brushes are an alternative to flossing if you want to clean between your teeth. They come in a variety of widths and resemble a pipe cleaner with a small handle. Interdental brushes work best if you have large gaps between your teeth, but they are not the most effective option. The ADA recommends water flossers, as these are as effective as string floss and ideal for people with manual dexterity issues or people who wear braces.

Should I Use Mouthwash?

Mouthwash does more than just freshen your breath. If you choose a mouthwash with fluoride, it can also help strengthen your tooth enamel. An antibacterial mouthwash can help prevent plaque and gingivitis by killing bacteria in your mouth. Ask one of our dentists for a recommendation about which type of mouthwash is best for you.

Don’t forget to eat a healthy diet as well. When you eat sugary foods and drink beverages loaded with sugar, the sugar mixes with the bacteria present in plaque. This creates an acid that can erode tooth enamel. Always brush your teeth after consuming anything with sugar. If brushing isn’t practical, rinse your mouth out with water.

Which Basic Dental Services Does Our Dental Office in Northern Virginia Offer?

We offer:

  • Routine dental exams
  • Professional teeth cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Oral cancer screenings

Routine dental care is essential to your oral health. Having an exam every six month allows your dentist to catch any minor issues before they become expensive, painful problems. During your regular exam, your dentist can look for any issues that could harm your oral health. He or she can look for signs that you’re grinding your teeth at night, which you may not realize you’re doing. This can erode tooth enamel and possibly cause your teeth to crack. Your dentist may also look for signs that you’re being overzealous about toothbrushing and harming the enamel on your teeth.

While you may take excellent care of your teeth at home, a professional teeth cleaning is also recommended every six months. The hygienist will use special products to clean and polish your teeth that you can’t use at home every day. Your teeth will sparkle afterward. Cleanings will remove minor stains from foods and beverages like coffee and tomato-based foods. This will give you an incentive to brush and floss regularly to keep them looking good.

We also screen our adult patients for oral cancer during their exam. We screen everyone, as up to 25% of the people who develop the disease don’t have any risk factors. In the U.S., one person dies every hour from oral cancer, but many don’t have to. Early detection is essential, as the cure rate is high if it is detected early. The screening is just a visual exam and it only takes a few minutes.

Our Dentists at Dental One Associates of Virginia Are Here to Help

We want to make your basic dental care at home worthwhile by doing our part. Our dentists can recommend products that will make your at-home routine as efficient and effective as possible. If you need an appointment for an exam, please call us. We’re an affordable dental office and we accept most major dental insurance plans. We look forward to helping you maintain your healthy smile. We’re sure you’ll love our friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere.

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