5571 NW Barry Road
Kansas City, MO 64154

Preventive Care A Strong Foundation

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is relatively easy. A simple routine of cleaning your teeth daily (there is more to it than just brushing), developing good eating habits and having regular dental visits can go a long way toward preventing tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Are There Any Tips For Brushing Teeth Properly?

1. When brushing along your gumline, tilt the brush at a slight angle -- about 45 degrees -- against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline. When brushing your teeth, use short, gentle strokes. It doesn't take too much pressure to remove plaque from your teeth. Overly vigorous scrubbing could irritate your gums.

2. Clean all the surfaces of your teeth -- the outer surfaces and inner, as well as the chewing surfaces. Many people overlook the chewing surfaces, a.k.a. the top of your teeth. Some also neglect to thoroughly brush their front teeth, especially the inside portion of both their lower and top front teeth.

3. And remember your tongue. Gently brush it all the way to the back. This is a crucial, often overlooked part of a good tooth brushing. Brushing the tongue removes bacteria, including the bacteria that can cause bad breath. Don't negate the effectiveness of your tooth brushing by forgetting to also brush your tongue.

Why Is Flossing Necessary If I Brush Twice A Day?

1. When brushing along your gumline, tilt the brush at a slight angle -- about 45 degrees -- against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline. When brushing your teeth, use short, gentle strokes. It doesn't take too much pressure to remove plaque from your teeth. Overly vigorous scrubbing could irritate your gums.

2. Clean all the surfaces of your teeth -- the outer surfaces and inner, as well as the chewing surfaces. Many people overlook the chewing surfaces, a.k.a. the top of your teeth. Some also neglect to thoroughly brush their front teeth, especially the inside portion of both their lower and top front teeth.

3. And remember your tongue. Gently brush it all the way to the back. This is a crucial, often overlooked part of a good tooth brushing. Brushing the tongue removes bacteria, including the bacteria that can cause bad breath. Don't negate the effectiveness of your tooth brushing by forgetting to also brush your tongue.

What Causes Tooth Decay & Gum Disease?

In a word, plaque. Your teeth are covered in plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. When you eat, bacteria converts the sugar and starch in the food into acids that attack tooth enamel. In time, the enamel can break down, resulting in cavities.

If plaque's not removed through daily brushing and cleaning between the teeth, it can eventually harden into calculus -- a.k.a. tartar. When tartar collects near or directly along the gum line, brushing and flossing become increasingly difficult.

Unremoved plaque can cause your gums to become increasingly irritated and inflamed, causing them to swell and/or bleed. This condition, called gingivitis, is the early stage of gum disease. The good news is gum disease is reversible through professional teeth cleaning and good oral hygiene at home.

The bad news is if left untreated, gum disease may result in your gums actually pulling away from youth teeth, forming pockets or spaces between the teeth and gums. These pocket or spaces usually become infected. Without treatment this infection can progress, causing bone loss and loosened teeth that may fall out or require extraction.

Brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth at least once a day -- with floss or other dental cleaners -- can help remove food particles and plaque. This preventive care is essential to avoiding tooth decay and gum disease.

How Do I Know What Types Of Products Will Be Most Effective For Me?

Ask us -- your dentists -- what types of oral care products might be most effective for you. People's needs differ, and we are as concerned as you are about choosing the products that will best serve your individual needs.

Choosing products that bear the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance is generally a smart move. The ADA Seal assures you that a product has met the Association's criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators and mouth rinses.

How Do I Know What Types Of Products Will Be Most Effective For Me?

Ask us -- your dentists -- what types of oral care products might be most effective for you. People's needs differ, and we are as concerned as you are about choosing the products that will best serve your individual needs.

Choosing products that bear the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance is generally a smart move. The ADA Seal assures you that a product has met the Association's criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators and mouth rinses.

Are There Any Other Tips For Preventive Care?

Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps strengthen your teeth's enamel and can assist in repairing microscopic decay. Be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. If you have sensitive teeth, we may suggest using a specialized toothpaste.

Pick the brush that's best for you. You want a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth. Then you want to use it at least twice a day. Brushes that have earned the ADA seal can remove plaque above the gumline and reduce gingivitis. Kids should use child-sized toothbrushes.

Keep your brush fresh. About every three or four months, if not sooner, you'll need to replace your toothbrush because if you're using it it's going to become worn down. A brush with frayed bristles simply can't do a good job cleaning your teeth.

Children's toothbrushes tend to wear out more quickly than adult brushes.

A powered toothbrush. A powered toothbrush is an option anyone might choose, but persons with physical difficulties or manual dexterity limitations may find a powered brush easier to use and, thus, more effective.

Oral irrigating devices. These devices use a stream of water to remove food particles in and around teeth. They can be especially useful for people wearing braces or fixed partial dentures. But they are meant to enhance -- not replace -- regular brushing and flossing.

Therapeutic vs. Cosmetic Mouthwash. Therapeutic mouth rinses include those that contain fluoride and those with antimicrobial agents, which can help reduce plaque and gingivitis. Cosmetic mouth rinses freshen breath by masking the odor, actually reducing the bacteria that produces the bad breath, and/or neutralizing the odors they produce. If you find that you are constantly using a breath freshener, ask us about it. In some cases, bad breath can be a sign of poor health.