Airport Road Dental Associates - 3465 Airport Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 - (219) 763-2727

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Posts for: April, 2019

Although professional tooth cleaning is vitally important to avoid cavities, home cleaning is the daily maintenance that you must have if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Your dentist may show you the correct way to brush and floss, but you might it all too easy to revert to previous habits or to allow technique to become sloppy.

Checking your technique and your overall hygiene on a regular basis may help avoid relapses or laziness from creeping in. This can also help you keep an eye on things in your mouth so you're more likely to notice a problem early. Here are three ways to see how effective, successful, and thorough your oral hygiene habits are.

1. Use Plaque-Disclosing Dye

Whether you use tablets, toothpaste, or even floss with added plaque-disclosing dye, this brightly colored substance helps you to literally see where the plaque is. The dye sticks to the plaque so that you can see where it likes to hide on your teeth.

You have a couple of ways to utilize this dye. You could use it daily as you brush so that you can instantly see any spots you missed and go back for them. You can also use it once a week to monitor how effective your tooth-cleaning routine is. You could even use the dye between brushing and flossing to see for yourself how much plaque flossing can remove that brushing can't.

2. Use a Mouth Map

When you go to the dentist, they clean your teeth and look for any concerning spots of damage that may need filling. However, the dentist alone should not look at the inside of your mouth. You can also open up wide to inspect your own teeth. This way, you can monitor health and appearance of teeth and gums on a weekly or monthly basis.

You can use a worksheet such as a mouth map to help you monitor various criteria such as bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, or visible plaque and tartar. You can even keep an eye out for white spots that look like eroded enamel, which might indicate that you should go to the dentist early and ask if you need a filling.

3. Take Photographs

Photographing your teeth may not be the easiest task but can provide a brilliant way to compare the state of your teeth with how they looked a month or two ago. If you're worried that your teeth have started to look a little more transparent than they used to, for example, you could start taking pictures once every month or two and then compare them. 

Although no substitute for x-rays, photographing your teeth can help you record exactly what your teeth look like for next month. This way, you don't have to rely on your memory to decide whether something's changed that may require professional dental care. You may even be able to get a smartphone app to help you compare your teeth with how they looked before.

The trick here is making sure the environment and conditions are the same, or the photos may give inaccurate results. Make sure you take all the pictures at the same time of day with the same lighting and from the same angle and distance (and brush your teeth beforehand) so they truly compare how the teeth look rather than comparing, say, the quality of the photos.

These three strategies can help you get a feel for how your teeth are supposed to look and give you a baseline to compare and contrast how they normally do with how they look today. They can also help you visualize the effectiveness of your daily routine so you add more effective techniques (such as an electric toothbrush) if needed.

Call Airport Road Dental Associates today to schedule an appointment if you're due for a checkup or if you're experiencing worrying symptoms.