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What if you were destroying your teeth and didn’t even know it? We brush our teeth twice a day in order to keep cavities and other oral health issues away. But just brushing your teeth is not enough to protect them. Instead, you must ensure you are brushing them the right way. That’s where we in. Keep reading to discover our top 5 Webster Family Dentistry tips to brush perfectly every time as well as some easy mistakes you need to avoid!

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?

It’s important to brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time twice a day. You should use a timer or stopwatch to ensure you brush for the minimum amount of time.

At first, using a timer or stopwatch may seem like overkill. However, it’s not until we start brushing each morning and evening that we realize Albert Einstein was correct. Time is relative!

Without checking the time, it’s easy to think two minutes have gone by when they haven’t. And if you keep finishing 30 seconds too early, this can sabotage your dental care over time.

Is It Possible to Brush Too Much?

While brushing for more than two minutes is usually not dangerous, it is possible to brush your teeth too hard. This can lead to sensitivity, abrasion, and even gum recession.

Most people who brush too hard are very concerned about their dental hygiene. Unfortunately, brushing hard can cause its own kinds of dental care issues separate from not brushing enough.

If you’re worried that you’re brushing too hard, be sure to consult with your dentist. And here at Webster Family Dentistry, we’re happy to make sure each tooth brushing session is “just right.”

The Type of Toothbrush Matters

When you go to the store, you may notice that there are often dozens of different toothbrushes to choose from. However, some of these are going to be more effective than others.

For example, you need a toothbrush with soft bristles. This is ideal for removing plaque from your teeth, which is why such brushes are recommended by the American Dentistry Association.

Beyond that, you have some choices in which type of toothbrush to use. Some people prefer a brush with a smaller head because they find it easier to get to those hard-to-reach places within the mouth. And many prefer an electric toothbrush because it provides a stronger and more consistent brushing experience.

How Often Do I Need to Replace the Toothbrush?

It’s best to replace your toothbrush every three months. However, you can replace it earlier than that if you begin to see signs of wear and tear. And you should always replace your toothbrush after you recover from an illness.

It’s important to think of your toothbrush like any other tool. It will wear down and become less effective over time. And if you don’t replace the brush in time, then even a vigorous brushing job may not effectively clean your teeth.

If you use an electric toothbrush, you can replace the head instead of getting a brand new brush. This helps cut down on the overall costs of your dental care.

Finding the Right Toothpaste

One of the most common questions we get is what toothpaste a person should be using. However, the correct answer varies from patient to patient!

For example, some toothpaste is designed for sensitive teeth. And some toothpaste is designed to whiten your teeth. Other types are formulated to fight cavities in a particular way.

Long story short? If you are concerned about which toothpaste is right for you, it’s best to consult with your dentist. This is especially true if you have concerns about your current toothpaste.

Toothbrushing Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to dental hygiene, sometimes it is important to know what not to do. Even small mistakes in toothbrushing add up over time and can lead to major issues with your dental care.

Fortunately, the most common toothbrushing mistakes are easy to fix. Below, we have a few mistakes you need to avoid!

Just Going Back and Forth

The most common toothbrushing error is that people go back and forth over their teeth with the brush. This technique might make your teeth look good, but it won’t remove most of the plaque.

That’s because plaque builds up around your gums. To go after the plaque, you need to start at your gums and move the brush up and down instead of left to right. This “gentle massage” technique will be much more effective.

Brushing Too Soon After Eating

One of the reasons that we brush at night is to clean up our teeth after a day of eating various meals and drinking assorted drinks. Some people think it is best to brush right after eating. However, that can be a big mistake!

The food we eat leaves acid on our teeth. Fortunately, our saliva helps deal with the acid. But if you don’t wait at least 20 minutes after eating to brush, you’re sabotaging your dental care.

That’s because if you brush before your saliva helps deal with the acid, your brushing may spread the acid around. Just like that, brushing can do harm to your teeth.

Ignoring the Inside of Your Teeth

We brush in front of a mirror most of the time. Because of that, we brush what we can see. But it’s also important to brush what you can’t see: the inside of your mouth.

Plaque can build up inside your teeth just like it builds anywhere else. And if you don’t take care of this hidden plaque, it can lead to cavities and other major issues.

Brushing the inside of your teeth as well as your tongue helps improve your dental hygiene. As an added bonus, your breath will smell better, too!

Visit Webster Family Dentistry Today

Now you know how to brush your teeth better every time and what mistakes to avoid. But do you know who you can trust with your overall dental hygiene?

Here at Webster Family Dentistry, we specialize in giving you healthier teeth and a brighter smile. To see what we can do for you and your family, just contact us today!

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Americans are putting off going to the dentist because of the pandemic. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry.

Visiting the dentist is perfectly safe and policies and protocols are in place to ensure patient safety.

The reality is, putting off going to the dentist can lead to serious health issues.

Going to the dentist for a regular dental check up is critical for your health. Keep reading for the top 7 reasons why you should schedule your next dental check up today. 

1. Cleaner Teeth

Even if you practice good oral hygiene at home, you won’t be able to get your teeth as clean as your dentist can.

Plaque and tartar often build up in places you simply can’t reach. Dentists and their teams have the tools and expertise to deep clean your teeth.

When you keep your teeth clean, you can reduce the risk of tooth decay. Dentists can spot this problem early and prevent tooth decay from becoming a much bigger problem. Your dentist can also identify the early signs of gum disease and take action to keep the issue at bay. 

2. Protect Dental Work

If you’ve had dental work done in the past, scheduling a regular dental check up can help you protect that investment. Dental work isn’t cheap, so the last thing you want to do is have it redone.

Your teeth, gums, and bones all work together to support your dental work. Ensuring they stay healthy protects your dental work and reduces the chances of needing further work. 

3. Get a Whiter Smile

Have you been longing for a whiter smile? You can save money on whitening treatments by simply scheduling a regular dental check up and cleaning.

During a dental check up, your dentist will clean your teeth and get rid of plaque and tartar, which are often responsible for teeth’s yellow appearance.

With cleaner teeth, your smile will appear whiter. You’ll feel confident that your teeth are cleaner – and it will show. 

4. Build Better Habits

When you visit the dentist regularly, you set yourself up to continue healthy habits at home. In a stressful and busy time, we often forget about the importance of practicing good oral hygiene at home. While visiting the dentist for regular dental check ups is important, it’s not enough.

Practicing good oral hygiene at home is necessary to keep your mouth in the best possible shape.

What can you do at home to protect your oral health? Good question! These healthy habits can help keep your smile healthy:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Use mouthwash
  • Replace your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months
  • Avoid using tobacco
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Floss every day

Not only will visiting your dentist for a dental check up give you the tools you need to practice good oral hygiene at home, but your dentist will help you identify any bad habits that might be causing you problems. Bad habits like grinding your teeth or biting your nails can have consequences for your oral health.

Your dentist will help you identify these issues before they become bigger problems and advise you on how to care for your teeth properly. 

5. Set a Good Example

Remember the saying, “Monkey See, Monkey Do?” It turns out there’s a lot of truth to the old adage, especially when it comes to our kids.

Kids are more likely to do what they see us do, rather than what we tell them to do. The behavior we model is very influential to our children. In fact, our kids will learn lifetime habits from watching what we do – for better or worse.

One of the best lifelong habits you can promote in your children is a dedication to practicing good oral hygiene. Schedule regular dental check ups for kids as well as yourself.

Practice good oral hygiene at home and encourage your children to do the same. Being a good role model will help your children grow into healthy adults. 

6. Save Money

Some people skip their regular dental check ups because they want to save money. Unfortunately, putting off regular dental appointments can actually cost you more in the long run.

This is because with many dental problems, the longer you wait the worse the problem becomes. Simple procedures are often inexpensive, but if you wait until the problem becomes larger, you may need more expensive treatments. 

7. Protect Your Overall Health

When you think of going to the dentist, you probably mostly think of keeping your teeth clean. The truth is, your oral health is a window to your overall health.

Most people don’t realize how connected your mouth, teeth, and gums are to your overall health. For example, your oral health can often provide valuable clues about your overall health. When you visit the dentist for a regular dental checkup, your dentist will look for clues that may signal issues with your overall health.

A number of different medical conditions with serious consequences have been linked to oral health.

It’s important to remember that our mouths are full of bacteria. Our mouths are also an entry point to the rest of our bodies, including our digestive and respiratory tracts. Scheduling a regular dental checkup can help keep these bacteria under control and prevent oral infections from spreading to other parts of your body. 

Are You Due for a Dental Check Up?

If you’ve been putting off visiting the dentist because of the pandemic, now is the time to schedule an appointment.

Dental offices are considered low risk and are one of the cleanest places you can be.

As we begin the new year, one of the best resolutions you can make is to prioritize your dental care. Protecting your oral health means protecting your overall health.

The first step is to schedule a dental check up. Click here to book a Webster Groves dental check up with our team today. 

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Is trying to get your kids to brush their teeth an ongoing battle? If so, you aren’t alone. 

As a parent, you want them to have healthy teeth and healthy brushing habits. But it’s easier said than done!

We understand how difficult it can be to keep kids on a regular schedule of healthy oral hygiene. If something isn’t fun or engaging, kids will consider it a chore.

That’s why we suggest incorporating some fun and play into their daily teeth brushing routine. Here are a few fun ways to get your kids to brush.

Brush Along With Them

Your kids are always watching you whether you realize it or not. They learn so much about the world from observing you in their first few years. 

When it’s time to brush their teeth at night, brush yours along with them. Don’t make it seem like a chore. Smile to lighten the mood.

If you make brushing and caring for your teeth a positive experience, they will quickly learn the importance of caring for their own. Presenting a positive attitude about oral hygiene can make trips to the dentist easier too.

Let Your Child Choose Their Toothbrush

Kids love to feel like they’re in control of some of their decisions. Give them the responsibility of choosing their own toothbrush.

Toothbrushes are inexpensive, so it can be fun to get a new one when the novelty of the old one wears off. Let them choose their favorite color or character toothbrush.

They can also pick their favorite flavor of toothpaste. You can change this once in a while too. Adult minty toothpaste is too strong for some kids.

Whitening toothpaste isn’t for little mouths. Kid’s toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors. A new toothbrush and flavor of toothpaste can help get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.

Brush Each Other’s Teeth

If you’re looking for a way to get your kids to brush, try brushing each other’s teeth once in a while. This approach isn’t ideal for the long term. But it can be a fun distraction and a way to ensure their teeth are thoroughly brushed from time to time.

Let your child brush your teeth and “teach” you about how to do it properly. Then, you do the same for them. You can even try making a game of it and brushing each other’s teeth simultaneously.

Offer Rewards for Motivation

Kids work harder when they have a goal in mind. Brushing their teeth twice a day is a goal you can encourage.

Let them know if you see them doing a good job brushing for a whole week, there will be a reward. This can be a small prize, a new book, or an extra hour of video games.

Think about what will motivate your kids. Developing healthy habits they will carry through their lives is definitely worth a reward.

Sing a Toothbrush Song

Establishing a routine is an important part of daily oral hygiene. One way to establish a routine is to play the same song every time they brush. 

This passes the time and teaches them the proper amount of time to brush. You can choose a song or find one The American Dental Association recommends.

They will get used to listening and brushing at the same time. You can even put them in charge of starting the music when it’s time to brush.

A little singing and dancing in the bathroom can be a fun part of your child’s brushing habits.

Keep Your Cool

As a parent, you know that nothing is perfect. Don’t expect every brushing session to go as planned. Tired and irritable children aren’t always in the mood to brush, no matter how fun you make it.

Remember to stay calm. Try not to make brushing a stressful situation by venting your frustrations or getting angry with your child.

If they associate brushing with stress or “mad mommy,” they will try to avoid it even more. Your child doesn’t have to do a fantastic job brushing every night.

Some days it may seem impossible to know how to make kids love brushing their teeth. Consistency is the key.  

If you have a bad episode, it’s okay. Try again tomorrow.  

Incorporate Brushing Into Playtime

Young children learn through play. You can teach them about the importance of brushing by incorporating it into playtime.

Kids love to brush their stuffed animals, baby dolls, and bath toys’ teeth. They can pretend to floss them too.

Pretend to be a dentist and go through the motions of a visit to get their teeth cleaned. Read fun books about teeth and good oral hygiene.

The more they see the importance of oral hygiene modeled into everyday life, the more routine it will seem.

Make Going to the Dentist a Good Experience

You don’t want to wait until your child has their first cavity to take them to the dentist. Start early and make it a positive experience for them. 

The dentist does not have to be scary. if your children take good care of their teeth, dentist visits are a breeze.

You want them to have a relationship with their dentist and feel comfortable and safe in their office. Your dentist and the dental staff can reinforce what you’re teaching your child at home.

When your child feels happy and confident heading to the dentist, it’s a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Make Your Child’s Teeth Brushing Routine Fun

Establishing healthy oral hygiene habits early in life is so important. You can help your child accomplish this by starting early and making their teeth brushing routine fun.

Our team at Webster Family Dental is here to support your child and the entire family with all their dental needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Practicing good dental habits is a crucial part of maintaining your overall health and well-being, but some brushing habits can actually do more harm than good.

Whenever you brush and floss, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing this correctly to prevent damage to your teeth and gums.

Read on to learn more about some habits that might not be great for your oral health, and what you can do to correct them.

Bad Brushing Habits: Too Much Pressure Can Cause Harm

When you brush your teeth, you might think that the harder your brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. However, these brushing habits can actually make things worse for your teeth and gums over time.

Brushing too vigorously or applying too much pressure when you brush can damage the protective enamel on your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to cavities or infection. It can also cause your gums to become inflamed, make them bleed, or just cause pain in general.

When you brush your teeth, pay close attention to how your gums feel. If they’re tender or sensitive to the touch, there is a good chance that you could be applying too much pressure with your toothbrush.

Other signs of brushing too hard include tooth pain or your teeth look darker near the gum line – an indication that the gums are receding and the dentin is exposed. To avoid these problems, simply apply less pressure and try to brush your teeth more gently moving forward.

Biting or Chewing Things You Shouldn’t

While this one isn’t a brushing habit, it’s still a common habit that many people have. If you love to chew on ice, pencils, or other hard objects, you’re putting the health of your teeth at risk.

Never try to open something using your teeth, and try not to chomp on ice cubes whenever you can avoid it. Chewing these things will eventually cause damage to your teeth and could even cause one of them to crack.

If you have fillings, chewing on hard items can cause the filling to become loose or even fall out completely. To avoid this, drink beverages with a straw and try a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol to keep those unhealthy chewing habits at bay.

For those who grind their teeth or clench their jaw, it’s important to find a way to avoid this common issue. A mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep will help to protect your teeth and keep them from grinding together.

Avoiding Visits to the Dentist

Perhaps you have a fear of the dentist, or maybe you simply haven’t made the time for an appointment. Scheduling regular cleanings are one of the most important good dental habits you can adopt.

Ideally, you should have your teeth professionally cleaned at least every six months. Not only will you get a good cleaning, but your dentist will also perform x-rays and look carefully at your teeth and gums for any signs of damage or disease.

It’s estimated that approximately 42% of Americans admit that they don’t go to their dentist as often as they should. Don’t be a statistic! Schedule an appointment to have your teeth cleaned and examined as soon as possible to keep your oral health on the right track.

When you visit the dentist on a regular basis, you’ll have a much better idea about the state of your oral health. It’s also the best way to catch any issues as soon as possible before they get out of hand so you can take steps to correct them.

Not Brushing After Meals

Another bad brushing habit is simply not brushing your teeth after you eat. When you eat food, it leaves residue behind, which will eventually wear the enamel off of your teeth and cause painful cavities.

According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth approximately 30 minutes to an hour after you eat to keep them healthy and clean. This allows time for the food you eat to be removed from your teeth before you brush them.

If you brush too soon after eating, certain ingredients like acids in orange juice or sugar in desserts will still be sitting on the surface of your teeth. Brushing immediately can spread those harmful ingredients out and onto the rest of your teeth and gums, causing more harm and good.

Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to work, then brush about a half hour or so after lunchtime. You should do the same thing in the morning after breakfast and again after dinner or before you head to bed.

Bad Flossing Habits

Using dental floss is another part of good oral care, but you can also do harm if you don’t floss the right way. First, avoid flossing between your teeth in a saw-like motion, or else you could cut your gums.

Never re-use the same section of floss since it will already be covered in plaque and food particles. Floss gently and never use aggressive movements that can cause gum irritation and inflammation.

Finally, while flossing is important, it should never be considered a substitute for brushing your teeth. The two things should be done in conjunction to ensure that your mouth is as healthy as possible.

Start Good Dental Care Habits Today

Now that you know more about some bad brushing habits and oral care habits, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. Remember to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and examinations every six months for the best results.

If you’re ready for a cleaning, examination, or other dental services near Webster Groves, MO, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Sure, you brush your teeth every day, but what about the other half of your dental regime? Flossing is an essential part of dental care; however, a recent study has shown that only 30% of people floss daily, and 32% do not floss at all. We want to change those numbers with this simple guide! 

We will show you how to floss your teeth and answer some other questions along the way. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Floss 

First things first, let’s get into why flossing needs to be apart of your daily routine. Flossing helps to remove food particles that are stuck between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot get. If your teeth do not get flossed, then the food can accumulate bacteria, leading to plaque. 

Plaque can become problematic as it builds up in your mouth. It can cause issues from cavities to tooth decay and more. Flossing also helps reduce Gingivitis’s chances, which is a disease of the gums that can cause complications down the line. 

When You Should Floss

As we said, flossing helps to loosen the food debris between your teeth, so considering that you are eating each day you will want to make sure you are flossing as well! It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. It is better to floss first and then follow up by brushing your teeth. 

If you are only going to floss once per day, consider making it a part of your nightly routine after eating your last meal of the day. 

Types of Floss

Not all floss is created equally! There are a wide variety of brands and types of floss available on the market.

The first type of floss is called Dental Tape. This type of floss is flat and ribbon-like in appearance. This floss’s broad design makes it easy to use and ideal for people with larger spaces between their teeth and those with braces.

Standard Floss is the more common type of floss on the market. It is made from nylon and is much thinner than Dental Tape. This type of floss has various options such as flavored floss and waxed and unwaxed options.

Waxed Floss is a better choice for anyone with tight or crowded teeth. Standard Floss is not always the best choice for anyone with braces though. 

Finally, Super Floss is a type of floss that is heavy-duty. It is ideal for people with dental work such as fixed bridges or braces because its design has three components. There is a stiffened end, a sponge-like section, and then regular floss. This type of floss can clean the gums and braces with ease.

Other Flossing Equipment 

Toothpicks with a flossing attachment are another option for flossing. They are equipped with a toothpick on one end and then a small line of floss secured by two plastic pieces at the other end. They are ideal for reaching teeth far back in the mouth, and they are convenient for on-the-go flossing after a meal. 

Water flossing tools are another option for a deeper clean. This type of flosser uses pressurized water to eliminate plaque and food debris from the teeth and gum line.  

How to Floss Your Teeth

So you know the tools that you will need, and when you need to do it, now let’s talk about how to do it! Here are the steps:

  1. Spool off around 18 inches of the dental floss of your liking.
  2. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers until only around 2 inches is left between them.
  3. While firmly holding the floss with your index finger and thumb, start to gently move the floss in a C-Shape up and around each tooth avoiding flossing the gum in a back and forth motion.
  4. Repeat the process on all of your teeth, using a clean section of floss each time.

When you reach your gum line, you should be gently working the floss between the delicate area between your tooth and gum. Avoid using any sawing motions as you could damage your gums. Once you have finished flossing, either brush your teeth or use an antibacterial mouthwash. 

Always make sure to floss your teeth in front of a mirror. This will help you better visualize the area you are flossing, which could help prevent any injury to your teeth or gums.

Pro-tip

When it comes to buying floss, you should do your best not to skimp on the floss’ quality. Cheaper flosses are made with lower quality materials, and they could easily fray. When the floss frays, it can get stuck in between your teeth and cause injury to your gum, so save yourself the trouble and buy a reputable brand.

When to Visit a Dentist

If you are new to flossing, you will most likely see a little blood when you first start getting into a new routine. This can be due to any number of things, from vitamin deficiency to Anemia; however, more often than not, it is due to the fact that you have a mild build-up of plaque or mild Gingivitis.

Aggressive or incorrect flossing can also cause bleeding, so make sure you follow this guide! The more you floss, the healthier your mouth will become, and the bleeding should stop. With that being said, if you have excessive or prolonged bleeding, it could be a sign of a more serious health issue like Periodontal Disease, which would require immediate attention from your dentist

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Now that you know how to floss your teeth, you can be on your way to a happier and healthier smile! This simple guide will help you find the right floss and utilize the right technique with ease. 

Good overall health starts in your mouth! Our team is here to help you achieve optimum dental health, from helping you get back your pearly smile to managing routine check-ups. Visit us today to get your next appointment on the books!