Should You Brush Your Teeth Right after You Eat?

brush-teeth-right-after-eatingEverybody knows that one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities is to brush for two minutes twice a day. People often think that they can prevent cavities if they brush immediately after eating. While that may be helpful in some cases, in other instances it can actually do more harm than good and it is better to wait a while.

When You Should Brush Right after Eating

Foods that contain sugar and carbohydrates cause bacteria in the mouth to attack the enamel on teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating. If you eat foods with sugar or carbohydrates and then brush immediately, you can remove the bacteria and prevent them from attacking your tooth enamel, which can reduce your risk of getting cavities.

When You Should Wait to Brush

This advice does not apply after eating acidic foods or drinking acidic beverages. Foods such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons and beverages such as soda contain acid that can weaken tooth enamel. If you brush immediately after consuming these foods or beverages, you will be brushing your teeth when the enamel is weakened, which can cause damage. It is better to wait at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods or beverages before you brush your teeth.

Some dentists recommend brushing your teeth before you eat a food that is acidic. After you finish eating, drink a glass of water to wash away the acid. If you can’t brush your teeth in 30 minutes, you can eat nutritious foods that do not contain sugar or carbohydrates after you eat acidic foods. This will reduce the amount of acid in your mouth that can attack your tooth enamel.

Prolonged exposure to the acid in soft drinks can erode hard tissues on the surface of your teeth. Long-term acid erosion can cause permanent damage to your teeth. You can prevent this by reducing your consumption of acidic beverages such as soda and limiting the amount of snacking you do between meals.

Brush Your Teeth with a Toothpaste That Contains Fluoride

You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association. This will remove food particles, bacteria, and acid and help protect your teeth from cavities.

Make an Appointment for an Exam and Cleaning at Fried Dentistry

You should also visit your dentist for exams and cleanings on a regular basis. If you are due for an exam and cleaning, schedule an appointment at Fried Dentistry in Wallingford, Connecticut. We will remove plaque from your teeth and check for any signs of decay so it can be treated before it gets worse. We can also give you tips on how to reduce your risk of getting cavities in the future. Contact Fried Dentistry today to schedule your appointment.

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National Flossing Day Is a Reminder of the Importance of Flossing

national-flossing-dayEvery year, the day after Thanksgiving is designated as National Flossing Day. The American Dental Association recommends that all adults and children floss at least once a day to promote oral health.

Flossing removes plaque from spaces between the teeth. It is not possible to clean those areas thoroughly with a toothbrush alone. If food particles and plaque are not removed by flossing, they can accumulate and harden into tartar. This can eventually lead to cavities and gum disease, which can cause pain and even tooth loss.

How to Floss Your Teeth

Many people find flossing difficult because they don’t know how to do it correctly. The procedure is actually quite simple and can be perfected with a little practice.

Cut a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap most of the floss around your middle fingers on each hand so that there is an inch or two of floss between your hands. Hold the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers and gently slide it up and down between two teeth. Curve the floss around the base of one tooth and work it under the gum line.

Be careful not to snap or force the floss because that could cut or bruise your gum tissue. Use a back-and-forth motion to remove the floss from between your teeth. Continue flossing the spaces between each pair of teeth. Use a clean section of floss each time.

Types of Dental Floss

You can choose from two types of floss. Nylon floss can be either waxed or unwaxed and is available in a variety of flavors. It consists of several strands of nylon and can tear or shred if it is used between teeth that are close together. Single filament (PTFE) floss can slide easily between teeth, even if they are tight together. It is less likely to shred and is more expensive than nylon floss. Both nylon and single filament floss can effectively remove food particles and plaque from between teeth when used correctly.

If flossing is too difficult for you, another option is to use a floss pick. This is a small device with a handle that is used to guide floss between the teeth. Many people find floss picks easier to use than traditional dental floss.

Whether you use a string of floss or a floss pick, it is important to floss your teeth at least once a day. This can help you prevent cavities and gum disease that could lead to serious problems in the future.

Make an Appointment for a Dental Exam and Cleaning

You should also visit your dentist for exams and cleanings. Your dentist will remove any plaque that you cannot remove by brushing and flossing and will check for signs of cavities and gum disease. If you are due for an exam or cleaning, make an appointment at Fried Dentistry in Wallingford, Connecticut today.

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What Is the Difference between Plaque and Tartar?

plaque-tartarFood particles can get stuck on and between teeth. If they are not removed by regular brushing and flossing, they can accumulate and form plaque or tartar, which can have serious long-term consequences for your oral health. Many people do not know the difference between plaque and tartar. Although they are related, there are important differences.

Plaque

Plaque is a soft, sticky, and colorless film of bacteria that is formed from food particles and saliva. Plaque often accumulates around the gum line. It can be removed by brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Plaque can form in eight hours, so it is important to brush before you go to bed.

Plaque contains acid that attacks tooth enamel after you eat. If this continues over a period of time, the acid can wear its way through the enamel and cause a cavity.

Plaque can also irritate the gums. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, it could be due to plaque. This needs to be treated. If it is not, your gums could recede and you could eventually lose one or more teeth.

Tartar

Tartar also forms long the gum line and is made of plaque that has hardened and cannot be removed by brushing. Mineral deposits in saliva cause plaque to harden into tartar.

Tartar has a yellow or yellowish brown color and a hard, porous, and crusty texture. Since tartar is hard and porous, bacteria build up inside it. If tartar is not removed, it can grow and calcify and can lead to cavities, gum disease, and eventually tooth loss.

Tartar needs to be removed with a professional dental cleaning. Instruments are used to remove tartar in a procedure called scaling. If there is tartar below the gum line, you may need to have surgery to have it removed.

Make an Appointment to Have Your Teeth Cleaned at Fried Dentistry

You can prevent plaque and tartar by brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day. You should also visit your dentist for regular cleanings to have any plaque that you cannot remove by brushing and flossing removed from your teeth so it does not harden into tartar. If you are due for a cleaning, schedule an appointment at Fried Dentistry in Wallingford, Connecticut today.

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