At the dental practice of Bruce Speake DDS PA, we are dedicated to helping our patients understand the importance of caring for their smile and how to do it. To help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile for life, we have put together the following information for you to review in between your visits with our caring dentist and team.
Oral Hygiene Instructions
One of the best ways to care for your smile is to follow proper oral hygiene instructions at home. For best at-home dental care, follow these simple recommendations:
Brushing your teeth on a regular basis is one of the best way to care for your teeth at home. By brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, you can help keep plaque off of your teeth and avoid common and serious dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Today, patients have the option of choosing between a manual and an electric toothbrush. While both are effective in keeping your teeth clean, there are some variations as to how to best use each toothbrush. For clear instructions on how to use both a manual and an electric toothbrush, we invite you to view the videos below:
- Floss at least once a day. Flossing before going to bed is the best time.
- Use about 18 inches of floss each time.
- Wrap the floss around both of your middle fingers until there is a small one-to-two-inch thread between your fingers.
- Gently insert the floss between your teeth. Wiggle the floss up and down both sides, making sure to go a little under the gum line.
- Wrap the floss around the side of each tooth, in a U-like shape, and move it up and down the side of the tooth.
- Use a clean section of floss every time you move to a new tooth.
Other Oral Hygiene Products
In addition to regular brushing and flossing, there are several other oral hygiene products you can use to keep your teeth strong and your smile beautiful. Some of these products include:
- Oral Mouthwash: swishing with mouthwash for at least 30 seconds twice a day can help strengthen your teeth, remove plaque, and fight bad breath. Be sure that children use only small amounts and do not swallow the mouthwash.
- Waterpik: if you are not a fan of traditional flossing, a waterpik may be for you. This tool shoots a powerful stream of water out of a narrow head, which you can steam in between your teeth and around the gum line to remove plaque.
- Eat a well-balanced diet: eating a low-sugar diet, as well as avoiding large amounts of highly acidic foods, can help keep your teeth healthy and strong. The sugar and acids in foods can feed harmful bacteria, ultimately breaking down your enamel and causing decay.
- Visit the dentist regularly: we recommend that you visit the dentist at least once every six months. This helps Dr. Bruce Speake and our team catch any tooth damage early on and provide quick treatment, thus helping you avoid more extensive, painful, and expensive treatment later on.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, which is an infection within the gums often caused by harmful bacteria found in plaque. When plaque is not removed from teeth, the bacteria can grow and spread along the gum line. Prolonged exposure causes the gums to become inflamed. Some patients also experience gums that are red, swollen, or that bleed easily. Other common symptoms include bad breath, gum recession, and tender gums.
In many cases, these symptoms of gingivitis are not painful and can go unnoticed without regular visits to the dentist. If gingivitis is caught before it progresses into more advanced stages, it can be fully treated.
If you have noticed any of these symptoms in your gums, we encourage you to visit Dr. Bruce Speake at your earliest convenience. We can evaluate your condition and perform a deep cleaning to remove the harmful plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your mouth. In this procedure, called scaling and root planing, our dentist will also clean underneath the gum line and smooth the roots of your teeth to help prevent further damage.
After your deep cleaning, our dentist will provide a detailed and personalized at-home treatment plan for you to care for your smile and avoid developing gingivitis again.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it develops into periodontal disease, which is also commonly known as periodontitis. This advanced stage can lead to severe and irreversible damage to your smile, including loose teeth, severe gum recession, bone loss or tooth loss, bad breath, painful chewing, and changes to your bite alignment.
There are three different types of periodontal disease:
- Chronic Periodontitis: this is the most common type of periodontal disease in adults. It is caused by plaque buildup and often results in the loss of gum tissue, bone, and teeth.
- Aggressive Periodontitis: this condition is rarer, but it can often develop in children and young adults. If left untreated, it can rapidly lead to bone and tooth loss.
- Necrotizing Periodontitis: this is when the gum tissue, bone, and tooth ligaments die as a result of an infection caused by a lack of blood supply to the affected areas. Patients who are at-risk for this condition include those who have malnutrition or suppressed immune systems.
If you notice a change in your gum health or appearance, it is important to visit the dentist as soon as possible. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition, meaning it will continue to damage your gums and oral health if it remains untreated. However, early and thorough treatment can halt its progression and help restore your smile. Because each case is different, your treatment will depend on your unique condition. Some treatments may include a deep cleaning (such as scaling and root planing), antibiotic treatment, or gum surgery. After evaluating your condition, Dr. Bruce Speake will provide a customized treatment plan to care for your smile, as well as at-home dental habits you can do keep your smile healthy.
Tooth Decay Information
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental issues. It is caused by a prolonged exposure to harmful bacteria that is found in plaque and food. Tooth decay occurs in the surface of your teeth, and while everyone is susceptible to developing tooth decay, it is most common in children and older adults.
Some common symptoms of tooth decay include:
- Unexplained tooth pain
- Increased tooth sensitivity to heat and/or cold
- Pain while chewing or biting down
- Visible holes or pits in the tooth’s outer surface
- New or unexplained stains on the tooth surface
While tooth decay begins within a small surface area, it can progress and cause greater damage if it is left untreated. To help you understand the various stages of tooth decay, take a look at the image below:
When you visit the practice of Bruce Speake DDS PA, our dentist and team will examine your teeth and check for signs of tooth decay. In many cases, we can locate and diagnose tooth decay even before it is visible or before you realize it is there. By keeping your regular appointments with our dentist, we can catch tooth decay early on and help you avoid unnecessary pain or complex treatments.
There are many things you can do to prevent tooth decay. First, you can keep your regular appointments with our dentist and practice daily, effective dental hygiene at home. You can also limit the amount of sugary or acidic food and drinks that you consume. To help your infant avoid tooth decay, do not put them to bed with a bottle, unless it is filled with water.
If you have any questions or concerns about how you can maintain better oral hygiene in Topeka, Kansas, we invite you to call our office today at 785-267-6301. Our team is always happy to help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile!