1. My gums bleed when I floss and brush, what’s going on and should I stop?
Luckily the first symptom of gum disease is bleeding gums. This is a good thing because you are getting a warning that you have gum disease before it’s too late! In the early stages of gum disease there may be no pain or other symptoms so bleeding gums may be the only early warning signal you get. Don’t panic and don’t stop flossing and brushing. Work with your dentist and hygienist and you can defeat gum disease and get your healthy mouth back.
2. What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay refers to the destruction of your tooth structure, usually starting on the outside of your tooth and working its way in. Simply put, decay happens when plaque (the invisible, bacteria laden film that sticks to your teeth if you don’t brush and floss) combines with the sugar and starch in the food you eat to produce acid; which then attacks your tooth enamel. This creates the breach in you tooth’s main defense system (the enamel) and allows the bacteria access to the defenceless innards of your tooth, where they can frolic undisturbed, out of range of your trusty toothbrush.
3. How do I select a toothbrush?
There are a lot of toothbrushes to choose from these days. Here are some things to look for: First of all, brand is not as important as the features of the toothbrush. We recommend a soft bristled brush with a small head. The soft bristles are good for your gums, which appreciate a nice massage twice a day, and the small head lets you get into tight spots without bruising your gums or mouth. It’s a good idea to replace your toothbrush, or the head on your electric brush, at least once a month. Of course this is all pie in the sky if you don’t actually USE the brush at least twice a day.
4. How much toothpaste is enough?
A pea sized dab of toothpaste is actually plenty, not the overly generous squirt you see on TV. Something to remember is that most toothpastes are abrasive and if you use too much you may experience tooth sensitivity. We also suggest you use a toothpaste with fluoride in it, especially if you live in Victoria (or anywhere on Vancouver Island for that matter) ,or use well water. None of these water sources have fluoride added to them.
5. Are dental x-rays safe?
Of course we are going to say dental x-rays are safe (or we wouldn’t use them). But then why do we leave the room (and you) when we take your dental x-rays? FYI – First some background, with the advancement in technology dental offices now use digital x-rays, which produce up to 80% less radiation than the old x-rays. Your dentist will only use x-rays when needed and the good that comes of being able to accurately assess your teeth and diagnose any problems outweighs the minor exposure. We leave the room because while you may have x-rays once a year, we take several each day so we need to take extra steps to limit our overall exposure.