You know what some say – “Don’t quit your day job!” I mean, follow your dreams, but your day job is important, too. The same goes for your dental health. Taking care of your dental needs isn’t just a day job. While you dream at night, you’re not swallowing, which is creating a playground for bacteria to grow, according to Donna L. Zak, DDS, of Zak & Frankel Dental Associated in New York City. Insofar as nighttime dental care is concerned, you have one mission, if you choose to accept: don’t give the bacteria anything to feed off, thus grow!
Do you accept this mission? Okay, great, let’s get started on your steps to success. I think we’re all familiar with the three main players in your dental hygiene game: brushing, flossing, and rinsing. While Dr. Zak expresses no need to maintain order in the playing of these three, she shares a preference in brushing first to make flossing easier, then flossing, and leaving the mouthwash to close out the game. Let’s go over the goals of each player so we can ensure success:
- Nighttime Brushing: The American Dental Association (“ADA”) comes in with the clutch by explaining the prime way to brush your teeth, for the best results. They suggest a soft-bristled brush with fluoride toothpaste, and to start by brushing back and forth in short strokes on the outer surfaces first, then solely making your way to the inner surfaces of your teeth. When brushing those front fangs, try to use the tip of the brush, which tends to be smaller, so you can effectively reach the targeted areas. If you’re torn between brushing right after dinner or right before bed, Dr. Zak informs us that the preference lies in your susceptibility to cavities and/or gum disease. If you’re at higher risk for either, shoot for an earlier brush time and a before bed session.
- Nighttime Flossing: Regardless of your level of brushing skill, a toothbrush can’t get everything. This is where your toothbrushes’ trusty sidekick comes in. The ADA suggests you utilizes about 18-inches of floss by wrapping it primarily around your middle fingers, then using the thumbs and forefingers as back-up. Make sure you’re gentle with this step as you’re dealing with your gums here. Move the floss GENTLY between each tooth, making sure you reach the gum-line and curving the floss equally across it. When you hit the root of the tooth, rub the floss gently back and forth so it can grab any remaining food particles ol’ brush left behind (not due to the lack of effort though). Slowly retreat the floss from your gum and out from in between those teeth. Repeat that process for all over your teeth… Yes, even those in the back. I know they’re hard to get to, but they need some flossin’ too.
- Nighttime Mouthwash Rinsing: Time to round third with the mouthwash. The best method of rinsing with mouthwash can be found on the bottle itself. Scope the back of the bottle for directions and follow them to a night of bacteria-less sleep. Rinsing with mouthwash promotes fresh breath, safety from gingivitis, and protection from plaque and cavities.
Alright, you’re now fully equipped with all you need to know for a successful mission. Now, get out there and make your mouth proud! Good luck!
Everyone here at Dr. Peter Wiesel's Dental office is SUPER excited to help you with all your dental needs. We pride ourselves on providing you with outstanding service and invite you to to come see why we are the Best of 2015 in Dental Care for New Jersey! Give us a call to schedule your appointment now! Contact us at 609-927-5300.