We are officially in the middle of spring and headed for summer and we can't wait! But, before we get into the heat of summer, have you finished your spring cleaning yet? While it's nice to clean out your garage and basement, redo the landscaping and spruce up the kitchen we're talking about a different kind of spring cleaning - a dental cleaning! Below we have a checklist to make sure your oral health is as tidy as your garage this spring!
- Change out your toothbrush!
- Did you know that you should be changing out your toothbrush about every 3 months? The average American changes their toothbrush about 1.9 times a year, instead of 4 times a year like the American Dental Association recommends. This is not just a ploy to make you buy new toothbrushes - your toothbrush gets extremely germy along a 3-4 months timespan. Toothbrushes harbor bacteria, meaning that after you are sick you should also change your toothbrush out! Toothbrush bristles can wear out after 3-4 months as well. Once your bristles become matted or frayed it's definitely time to change out your brush. At this point it is no longer cleaning your teeth as effectively as it should, and also it can cause damage to your gums! Since children tend to brush their teeth harder and faster their brushes tend to get matted and worn out quicker meaning that they may need their brushes to be changed out more frequently.
- When buying your new toothbrush be sure to look for a soft bristled brush. Electronic toothbrushes that you only have to replace the head and not the whole brush are convenient in that they usually save you money in the long run and they are generally better for the environment (only disposing a small tip of the toothbrush as opposed to a whole toothbrush). In today's society of online shopping for things that come straight to your door, many companies make it easy to get new toothbrushes. Some electronic toothbrush companies even have auto-ship every 3 months so that you don't even have to remember when to change your brush head!
- Check your toothpaste!
- At some point this spring you will most likely have to buy a new tube of toothpaste. Before you buy your toothpaste make sure that you are using the most beneficial toothpaste possible! When looking for a toothpaste aim to find one that has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA has specific guidelines that must be met to get this seal, meaning that if it has this seal it is most likely a great option for you to use! Be sure to look for toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Fluoride is an extremely important "tooth vitamin" as we like to call it. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps protect them from cavities!
- You should also be sure to check the RDA of your toothpaste, or relative dentin abrasiveness. Your toothpaste should not be too abrasive or it could scrape away your enamel. Toothpastes should be below 250 RDA, but 150-250 is regarded as "harmful" to your enamel. Generally, the lower the better so try to find a toothpaste with RDA below 150 or so! Below we have included a chart with common toothpaste abrasiveness so you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether you should choose a new toothpaste! (For more information on this subject, check out our baking soda blog!)
This chart shows RDA of common toothpastes. 0-70 range is regarded as low, 71-100 is medium, 101-150 is high and 151-250 is regarded as harmful level of relative dentin abrasiveness. Using this chart you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether or not you should switch to a lower abrasive toothpaste!
- Get your dental cleaning!
- Our final tip to keep your mouth healthy this spring is to get your spring dental cleaning! Everyone should see the dentist at least every 6 months, however if you need a little extra care we may recommend coming more often. During these cleanings we scale and polish your teeth, making them sparkle and helping prevent cavities! We may also update your x-rays so that we can make sure you don't have any hidden cavities forming or any unusual anatomy in your mouth. Our doctors perform an oral, head and neck cancer physical and you can also get a thorough oral cancer screening using our Identafi. You can get fluoride treatments and also will receive a new toothbrush (which checks another item off your spring checklist)! This dental cleaning will help you ensure your mouth is healthy all spring, so call our office to schedule an appointment if you haven't been in lately or are due for a cleaning.
Springtime is the perfect time to make sure you're staying healthy before the craziness of summer starts. Follow this simple checklist to make sure you and your familes have a healthy, happy, clean spring!