Q and A with Dr. Chauvin

14944-org-RSKnowing the basics of oral hygiene can keep you healthy, and save you money in the long run. It’s very important to take good care of your teeth. Need a refresher course? Take our quiz!

How often should I brush my teeth?

The correct answer is at least twice a day, according to the American Dental Association. It is important not to brush too often, as you can damage your teeth and gums. And if you have eaten an acidic food or drink, wait 30 minutes before brushing, as the combination of the acid and the brushing can damage your enamel.

How long should I brush my teeth?

Most dentists agree that two minutes is the recommended length of time. The important thing to ensure is that all surfaces are clean. Make sure that you clean all tooth surfaces, including hard to reach areas. Use short, up and down motions, and hold your brush at a 45 degree angle. Broad side to side strokes can scrape your gumline.

How often should I floss?

It is very important to floss daily, as bacteria and plaque will accumulate in-between your teeth every time you eat. These surfaces are impossible to reach with a toothbrush, and if left unattended, can be a hotbed for cavities.

Should I use mouthwash?

While mouthwash can be helpful, it’s generally not required. As long as you’re brushing and flossing properly, you’re doing what you should be for healthy teeth. If your goal is to have fresher breath, remember that you should be brushing your tongue as well as your teeth. There is an area at the back of your tongue where most of the “bad breath bacteria” live, and brushing here is more effective at removing them than mouthwash. Some mouthwashes have fluoride added, and some are recommended by the ADA. The best thing to do in this case is ask your dentist what they prefer you use.

How do I know if I have a cavity?

Cavities are difficult to detect at first, as they haven’t really done much damage yet. If left untreated, you can experience:

  • Tooth pain
  • Sensitivity to cold, heat, or sweets
  • Discoloration of the tooth (darkened or black spots)
  • Visible damage to the tooth (a hole or crack)

The best way to prevent a cavity is to make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly.

What kind of foods can I eat to improve my oral hygiene?

There are some foods that will improve your mouth health. They may surprise you, as dark chocolate and strawberries make the list! You can read more about that here. ((NOTE: Double check this link – it may have been changed for SEO purposes.))