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When should my child have his or her first dental appointment?
The AmericanAcademyofPediatric Dentistryrecommends that a child has his or her first oral health care appointment around age one or as soon as baby’s first tooth erupts.  At age two a child can usually have a complete exam, X-Rays, cleaning and fluoride.

What toothbrush should I use?
As consumers today we are bombarded with an array of toothbrushes on the market to choose from. Whatever toothbrush design you choose, the most important thing is that you use the toothbrush at least 2-3 times a day.  It is critical that you not only brush often but for a long period of time.  It is recommended that you spend 2-3 minutes each time you brush in order to completely remove any plaque that might amass in hard to reach areas.

Our dental team highly recommends a battery operated, or electric toothbrush.  The pulsations effectively remove plaque buildup. Many models also have timers to remind you to brush longer.  When choosing an electric toothbrush, look for a compact head that has soft, round bristles.

How often do I need to brush my teeth?
Brushing is the most effective method for removing harmful plaque from forming on your teeth and gums. Getting the debris off your teeth and gums in a timely manner prevents bacteria in the food you eat from turning into harmful, cavity causing acids.

Most dentists agree that brushing three times a day is the minimum.  If you use fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed at night, you will typically be okay if you simply brush with water or rinse for 30 seconds after you eat lunch or snacks. Brush at least once every day, preferably at bedtime. The best time to brush is before bedtime and then after breakfast.

How and how often should I brush my teeth?
Use a soft bristled brush, preferably one with rounded, synthetic bristles. Look for the American Dental Association seal of approval. Apply a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on your toothbrush.  Place your toothbrush next to your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush your teeth and gums in a gentle, circular motion. Brushing up and down wears down your tooth structure and can lead to receding gums which may expose the root of your tooth. You should brush all surfaces and crevices of your teeth, use a back and forth movement when brushing the chewing surface of your teeth.  Remember to brush your tongue which may be harvesting debris and germs. Take your time, brush for at least 3 minutes.

Replace your toothbrush approximately every two to three months or as soon as the bristles are worn or bent. A worn out toothbrush does not clean your teeth properly and may injure your gums.  Replace your toothbrush after you have had a cold. Be sure your brush is the right size, smaller is generally better than larger.

Why do I need to floss?
Many dentists believe that flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. Daily flossing is proven to be equally important as brushing to help prevent cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental problems later in life.  Flossing removes plaque and debris that stick in between your teeth and gums that cannot be reached by a toothbrush.

How do I floss my teeth?
Floss at least once every day. Like brushing, flossing should take about three minutes and can easily be done while doing another activity, such as watching television.  There are two common methods for flossing, the “spool method” and the “loop method”.

The spool method is the most popular for those who do not have problems with stiff joints or fingers. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your middle finger. Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the middle finger of your other hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed. Move the floss between your teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Maneuver the floss up and down several times forming a “C” shape around the tooth. While doing this, make sure you go below the gum line, where bacteria collects heavily.

The loop method is often effective for children or adults with dexterity problems like arthritis. Break off about 18 inches of floss and form it into a circle. Tie it securely with two or three knots. Place all of your fingers, except the thumb, within the loop. Use your index fingers to guide the floss through your lower teeth, and use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth, going below the gum line and forming a “C” on the side of the tooth.

Your gums may be tender or even bleed for the first few days after flossing which will generally heal within a few days.  Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease; with consistent flossing and brushing your gums should not bleed.  If using string floss is difficult for you, there are different brands of flossing sticks that can be very easy and efficient when flossing.

What mouth rinse should I use?
Therapeutic rinses with fluoride have been shown to fight cavities, plaque and gingivitis. Our dental team recommends an over the counter rinse such as Listerine.  The most powerful mouth rinse is an anti-microbial mouth rinse can be prescribed to be a doctor or dentist.  If you feel that you need something more powerful than over-the-counter ask your dentist about available products.