Most people have been brushing their teeth for a long time, and therefore think they have a pretty good grip (pun intended!) on brushing and general dental care. However, the latest in our series of spotlights on ABC.com videos highlights some of the many things the average person does that can actually harm their teeth, including the following facts:
– 75% of those over age 35 have gum disease, most of which is preventable.
– The #1 problem is that people brush too hard, and this is also the biggest reason people have sensitive teeth. Using a soft bristle brush with a long flexible handle and a compact brush head, and brushing at a 45 degree angle with gentle pressure can eliminate much of that sensitivity caused by enamel erosion.
– Most people don’t brush long enough. The minimum is two minutes — 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth. An electric brush with a timer easily helps with this problem.
– Many of those with dental problems, especially sensitive teeth and gum disease, are using the wrong toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste is widely available, but if you have sensitive teeth or gum disease, it can cause even more problems as it is abrasive and can wear down enamel. Whitening toothpaste can also cause gum recession and therefore increase the chances of developing gum disease.
– It’s common for people to use far too much toothpaste, which is a problem when the toothpaste is also abrasive. A pea-sized amount is all that’s necessary. The most important ingredient in your toothpaste is fluoride, and everything else is secondary.
– People tend to forget that teeth may seem hard, but they are actually much like sponges and they absorb stains as easily as white china. Rinsing with water right after eating or drinking keeps the stains away after consumption.
– Snacking between meals can cause tooth decay and gum disease. If you are snacking, chew a piece of xylitol gum after the snack or after meals, or eat crunchy fruits and vegetables to help clean the sugar and bacteria away.
– It’s easy to forget when you’re feeling impatient or in a hurry, but do not use your teeth as tools.
– Don’t crunch ice cubes or hard candy, it can crack teeth and cause severe damage, especially over time.
– Don’t skimp on professional dental care. 40% of Americans didn’t see a dentist in 2011. Seeing your dentist regularly — every six months — can help prevent diabetes and heart disease. Those at a high risk for gum disease may need to be seen as often as every three months.
If you haven’t been seen recently by a dental professional, give our Ann Arbor dental practice a call today at 734-677-2156 to schedule an appointment for a check up, or see our website for more information.
– Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist