FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums

How should I brush my teeth?


Brush at least twice a day. If you can, brush after every meal. Ideally wait 30 minutes after eating, this will allow any enamel that softened from acid during eating to re-harden and not get brushed away. To brush:

  • Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on the head of the toothbrush. (Use a soft toothbrush.)
  • Place the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45-degree angle up to the gum line.
  • Move the brush across the teeth using a small circular motion. Continue with this motion cleaning one tooth at a time. Keep the tips of the bristles against the gum line. Avoid pressing so hard that the bristles lie flat against the teeth. (Only the tips of the toothbrush clean the teeth.) Let the bristles reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Brush across the top of the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Make sure the bristles get into the grooves and crevices.
  • Use the same small circular motion to clean the backside of the upper and lower teeth -- the side that faces the tongue.
  • To clean the inside of the bottom front teeth, angle the head in an up-and-down position toward the bottom inside of the mouth and move the toothbrush in a small circle.
  • For the inside of the top front teeth, angle the brush in an up-and-down position with the tip of the head pointing towards the roof of the mouth. Move the toothbrush in a small circle.
  • Give your tongue a few gentle brush strokes, brushing from the back of your tongue forward. Do not scrub. This helps remove bacteria and freshens your breath.
  • After brushing your teeth for two to three minutes, rinse your mouth with water.
  • Replace your toothbrush with a new one every three to four months.




How should I floss my teeth?


Floss teeth at least once a day. Flossing gets rid of food and plaque between the teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. If plaque stays between teeth, it can harden into tartar, which must be removed by a dentist or hygienist. To floss:

  • Remove about an 18-inch strip of floss from the dispenser.
  • Wind the floss around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving a 1-inch section open for flossing. Floss the top teeth first, then the bottom.
  • Place the floss in your mouth and use your index fingers to push the floss between the teeth. Be careful not to push too hard and injure the gums.
  • Move the floss up and down against the tooth and up and around the gum line. The floss should form a C-shape around the tooth as you floss.
  • Floss between each tooth as well as behind the back teeth.
  • Use a clean section of floss as needed and take up used floss by winding it around the fingers.




How often and how long should I rinse my mouth?


Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day to kill bacteria that cause plaque and early gum disease. A fluoride rinse can help prevent teeth decay and cavities. Some rinses can do both. The ADA does not recommend fluoride mouth rinses for children ages 6 or younger, because they may swallow the rinse. It doesn't matter if you rinse before or after you brush. Swish the mouthwash in your mouth for 30 - 60 seconds.




How often should I visit the dentist?


Visit your dentist at least once every six months. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, it's important to have regular check-ups and professional cleanings. You should also see your dentist if you have pain in your teeth or mouth or bleeding, swollen gums. You can also ask your dentist about dental sealants. Sealant is a material used to coat the top, chewing surfaces of the teeth. This coating protects the tooth from decay and usually lasts a long time, but can only be placed on a tooth without decay. It is usually placed on children’s teeth as they get their permanent teeth.





Choosing a Toothbrush

What are some tips for choosing a toothbrush?


There are certain characteristics that you should look for in whatever toothbrush you choose. Size. The best toothbrush head for you should allow you easy access to all surfaces of your teeth. For most adults, a toothbrush head a half-inch wide and one-inch tall will be the easiest to use and the most effective. Though there are larger toothbrush heads available, you may find that it is difficult to maneuver them to clean certain hard-to-reach areas, such as the sides and backs of your molars. The toothbrush should have a long enough handle so you can comfortably hold it in your hand. Bristle variety. For the vast majority of people, a soft-bristled toothbrush will be the most comfortable and safest choice. Depending on how vigorously you brush your teeth and the strength of your teeth, medium and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel. For even more tooth protection when you brush, be sure the bristles on the toothbrush you select have rounded tips.




Should I use a disposable or electric toothbrush?


As long as you clean your teeth regularly using proper brushing technique, you should be able to reduce plaque build-up and keep your gums healthy with either a manual or powered toothbrush. Here are some things to keep in mind as you go about choosing the best toothbrush: Cost. Electric toothbrushes cost more than manual toothbrushes and in addition, you will need to replace the removable toothbrush head as often as you replace your manual toothbrush. Of course, if using an electric toothbrush helps you keep your teeth cleaner, you may make up for the expense with a reduction in dental bills. Likability. When it comes down to it, the best toothbrush for you is going to be the one you're most likely to use and use well. Some people may not like the vibrating feeling of a powered toothbrush. Others might find an electric variety easier to use to clean all tooth surfaces. This may be especially true for people with conditions that limit mobility, such as painful arthritis. If you enjoy using your toothbrush, you're more likely to brush for the recommended length of time - two minutes. Some powered varieties even have a built-in timer to let you know when you've devoted enough time to brushing. Effectiveness. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted to investigate whether manual or powered toothbrushes are more effective at reducing gum disease and eliminating plaque. A review of nearly 30 studies comparing disposable and electric toothbrushes found that, overall, there was not a significant difference between electric and manual toothbrushes in their ability to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. But, evidence suggests that a certain type of powered toothbrush called a rotation oscillation toothbrush (the bristles go round and round and back and forth) is more effective than manual toothbrushes. Safety. Although all toothbrushes with an ADA Seal of Approval have been tested for safety, there may be certain individuals for whom a particular type of toothbrush is safer. If you tend to brush too vigorously, which can damage your gums and teeth, a powered toothbrush may make it easier for you to be gentle on your gums and teeth and get them clean at the same time.




What is the best toothbrush for my children?


When it comes to choosing the best toothbrush for your child, it's important to opt for one that she will use properly and regularly. There are a variety of disposable and electric options available for kids and they come in a variety of colors and often feature children's favorite characters. Some varieties even play music to help your child know how long to brush. To choose a good toothbrush for your child, try the following suggestions:

  • Make sure the toothbrush you select has an ADA Seal of Approval.
  • Pick a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • If your children are old enough, have them help you pick out their toothbrushes. Getting your children involved in the process and excited about a new toothbrush may make tooth-brushing a more enjoyable task.





Choosing A Toothpaste

What toothpaste should I use?


Here are some tips to help you choose the best toothpaste to meet your family's dental needs:

  • Opt for ADA approval. Whatever your toothpaste needs, be sure to choose toothpaste that has earned an American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Toothpastes that have earned this distinction have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent review board of scientific experts. All toothpastes earning the ADA seal contain fluoride -- the most important ingredient in any toothpaste.
  • Be wary of imposters. In 2007, some toothpastes imported from China were found to contain a toxic substance, diethylene glycol. The FDA advises against choosing toothpaste that says it was made in China.
  • Consider your needs and the needs of your family members. As long as you select a fluoride-containing toothpaste, the best toothpaste is a matter of personal choice and preference. If you're committed to an all-natural lifestyle, you may want to opt for ADA-approved toothpastes that contain only natural ingredients. For people trying to instill good oral hygiene habits in your children, why not choose fruit-flavored toothpastes with sparkles to entice them to brush their teeth? Some people are eager to restore whiteness to their teeth with whitening toothpastes. Others like the feeling of brushing their teeth with toothpaste containing hydrogen peroxide or baking soda. With so many options and combinations available, you can try different brands, varieties, and flavors to find the best toothpaste for you.





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William Gardner, DDS.

2241 Central Ave. Ste. B

Alameda, CA 94501

510-865-4400

wgardnerdds@sbcglobal.net

Business Hours

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