Oral hygiene matters for a beautiful smile and a healthy body

At Acton Dental Associates, we are privileged to be your partner in oral health in northern Massachusetts. Our doctors and hygienists are there for you and your family – even when we can’t be with you physically. We empower patients with practical, personalized, clear, and credible information on excellent home care.

Additionally, by working with our patients to prevent conditions like advanced gum disease (periodontitis), we support their overall health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Researchers have linked the bacteria and inflammation associated with periodontitis to serious systemic conditions, including heart disease. A combination of oral hygiene at home and our office is about more than keeping or restoring a pleasant smile and healthy teeth and gums. 

Technique matters.

The foundation for excellent oral hygiene is built on consistent and thorough brushing and flossing. We emphasize “consistent” and “thorough” because how you brush is as important as how often you brush (and floss). 

The harmful plaque that inflames soft tissues and eats away your teeth hardens every 24 to 48 hours. Solid tartar or calculus can only be removed at the dentist’s practice by our skilled hygienists who use specialized tools. Since plaque is constantly accumulating in your mouth, it’s essential to brush and floss consistently. It’s usually suggested that you brush at least twice daily. Floss at least once daily. Brushing alone only eliminates bacteria and plaque from around two-thirds of each tooth. Many germs are left behind that would otherwise be “captured” with a strand of floss. 

Don’t rush.

It’s usually advised to brush for a minimum of two minutes each time. Move the brush back and forth in short strokes to cover the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces. Tip the brush so you can make several up-and-down strokes to brush the inside of each of the front teeth well. The same attention applies to dental floss. Take great care to floss both sides of the tooth behind and around the molars or back teeth most susceptible to decay. Spend a couple of seconds flossing on each side of every tooth. If only your wisdom teeth have been removed, that adds up to 28 teeth, or a total suggested flossing time of two minutes – the same amount of time that should be spent on brushing. 

Be sure to clean areas of the mouth that harbor bacteria and plaque, including the tongue and palate (roof of the mouth). Also, brush your gums! The teeth in the smile zone are not the only areas that require TLC. 

Use the right products.

We are happy to recommend the right products to meet our diverse patients’ needs; for instance, super floss may be appropriate for patients who wear braces and have dental bridges. Disposable flossers or picks may be easier for kids to use. We may also suggest electronic toothbrushes, oral irrigators, and mouth rinses during your next visit as a way to clean your mouth more effectively and with ease. Be sure to replace the brush head (or brush itself, depending on what you use) at least every three to six months – sooner if the brush is worn or frayed. Be aware that prematurely-worn brushes may be indicative of aggressive cleaning. A light and gentle touch are adequate to remove decay- and disease-causing germs and food particles. Aggressive flossing and brushing can damage the teeth and the tissues that support them.

Due for a checkup? Call us at (978) 263-3526 to schedule an appointment with our doctors and hygienists. Acton Dental Associates proudly serves Littleton, West Concord, Concord, Maynard, Westford, Boxborough, Stow, Harvard, Sudbury, and the surrounding area.