Good Oral Hygiene
Plaque is a colony of bacteria that can destroy your teeth, gums and the bone supporting your teeth. Plaque, if left long enough, absorbs the calcium in your saliva and becomes tartar that can’t be removed with regular brushing and requires an thorough cleaning by a dental professional. The key to healthy teeth and gums is keeping plaque from building up in your mouth and allowing that bacteria to destroy your teeth and their supporting structures such as the gums and bone. The best way to do this is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing and see your dentist regularly.
Easy Four-Step Routine
To keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day (when you wake up and before you go to bed)
- Use dental floss daily
- Use a mouth wash that kills bacteria or strengthens your teeth
- See your dentist for routine dental checkups
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends dental checkups twice a year. The frequency of checkups can change with age and the condition of your teeth and gums. Your dentist may recommend a checkup schedule that is more than twice a year, but twice a year or every 6 months is the minimum.
Infants & Small Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist be around age 3 unless any of these dental health risk factors exist:
- Sleeping with a cup or bottle
- Thumb sucking
- Teeth staining
- Down Syndrome
Why Get Sealants?
Grooves, pits and fissures exist on the chewing surface of posterior (back) teeth, such as molars and premolars. These deep grooves and bits can trap plaque and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
Sealants are a thin coat of plastic applied into these deep grooves, pits and fissures of molars and premolars. It smoothes out these grooves and pits, so plaque, food, and debris won’t get trapped there. Sealants acts as a protective coating protecting these vulnerable areas from tooth decay by “sealing out” the plaque and bacteria that causes tooth decay.
How is it Applied?
- First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned.
- Dental adhesive is placed to make sure the sealant material adheres to the teeth
- Sealant material is then painted onto the grooves, pits and fissures of the teeth, where it bonds directly to the tooth. A special light is used to harden the sealant material.