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When it comes to your oral hygiene, Dr. Haeberer and our team have some tips that can help you keep your teeth healthy between routine dental checkups and cleanings. Signs of a healthy mouth include pink gums that don’t hurt or bleed when you brush and floss, your teeth feel clean, not fuzzy, when you run your tongue on them, and your breath smells fresh, with no unpleasant odor.

To help you improve your oral hygiene skills, let’s look at some questions patients regularly ask:

Q. Is there a right way to brush my teeth?
A. You want to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a compact head to protect tooth enamel and gum tissue, clean all tooth surfaces. A fluoride toothpaste can help protect precious tooth enamel, and you can use a manual toothbrush or an electric one, whichever works best for you. The key is to use it!

Q. Do I really have to floss if I’m brushing well?
A. YES! Your toothbrush can’t clean those areas between the teeth or around the gum line, your flosser can. Flossing gets rid of oral bacteria, food particles, and dental plaque where your toothbrush can’t. Think of brushing as ‘cleaning part 1’, and flossing as ‘cleaning part 2’. The goal is to keep tooth decay and gum disease far, far away from your smile. With so many flossing tools on the market, you can find one that works best for you and do it daily.

Q. How can I improve my breath?
A. Halitosis is often the result of oral bacteria that mixes with saliva to break down food and releases gases. Brushing and flossing daily freshen your breath. If bad breath is a problem for you, be sure to brush your tongue when you clean your teeth and gums. Some people like using a professional tongue scraper, but your toothbrush works just fine; just brush from back to front. You can also boost your breath by rinsing daily with an antibacterial mouthwash to kill odor causing germs.

Q. Can my diet affect my oral health?
A. Absolutely! Eating a healthy, balanced diet gives your teeth and gums the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc., they need to stay healthy and resist disease. Drinking soda and other sugary drinks can harm your teeth while milk, which has calcium and protein helps build tooth enamel and gum tissue. Drinking plenty of water encourages healthy levels of saliva production that benefit your oral tissues. A diet of vegetables, dairy, lean protein, nuts, and fresh fruit can give your mouth the building blocks it needs to stay healthy.

Q. Lifestyle habits; how do they affect my mouth?
A. If you drink excessively or use tobacco regularly, you’re impeding your body’s ability to fight disease, and you are putting yourself at higher risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Likewise, wearing oral piercings can also increase gum disease and harm to teeth. If you have any questions about your habits, please talk to Dr. Haeberer, we are here to help!

Our team at Haeberer Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offer professional checkups and cleanings every six months to help you keep cavities and gum disease at bay. We use ultrasonic scaling to remove hardened plaque, or tartar, off your teeth during routine teeth cleanings and periodontal maintenance. Of course, if you ever have dental pain, injury, or emergency, please don’t hesitate to call us. Dr. Alfred Haeberer and our team in Potomac Falls, Virginia, can be reached at (703) 433.2155.