It’s not uncommon for those who don’t spend their day immersed in the dental world to have questions about the field. It’s normal to be curious and we definitely encourage patients to ask questions that will help keep them informed about how they can help ensure a healthy mouth for themselves and their families.

We’ve highlighted some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from patients.

Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?

Both electric and manual toothbrushes will clean your teeth. The best way to ensure a good clean is by taking your time – you should be brushing for 2-3 minutes. Take this time to clean all of the surfaces in your mouth thoroughly.

Patients may find that manual toothbrushes that have varying bristle heights help to loosen plaque are more effective, but we recommend choosing the brush that works best for you. It is important to make sure that you’re choosing the correct brush strength and using the right pressure to ensure you don’t cause damage to your gums.

What type of toothpaste should I use?

Most toothpastes on the market are going to clean your teeth. They’ll help rid your mouth of bacteria and acids from the foods you eat. Look for the ADA seal of approval on a toothpaste if your concerned about picking the right one. We’ve got a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right toothpaste here.

Do I really need to floss?

This is probably the dental task that most patients would like to avoid, hence the reason they commonly ask if it’s necessary. The answer is a resounding yes! While brushing helps you to remove the surface bacteria and plaque, these types of things also build up between your teeth.

Those hard to reach areas don’t usually get touched by even the best toothbrushes and that’s where flossing comes in handy. Floss will help remove the buildup between teeth and help prevent longer-term complications that come with tartar buildup. If you’re struggling with flossing we’ve got a guide to help make it easier.

Does mouthwash or a rinse help?

Mouthwashes may come in handy for those who like to add in an extra step to their dental routine. There are a number of options on the market that help with anything from fresh breath to sensitive teeth, however these types of products are not a replacement for a good hygiene routine. The best way to ensure good overall oral health is through a regular brushing and flossing regimen.

Why do I need dental exams?

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is a great way to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, however regular checkups are the best way to ensure your overall oral health stays on the right trajectory. Most dental visits will start with your hygienist who will use special instruments and a well-trained eye to remove any plaque and tartar buildup that regular brushing and flossing my miss. They’re able to get into the more difficult areas and work around any permanent fixtures (like permanent retainers) better than a regular brush.

During these regular visits you’ll also be seen by your dentist who can identify potential dental problems long before you might notice. For example, cavities are not often noticeable for patients until the tooth decay gets close to the nerve causing sensitivity or pain in the area. Your dentist, with the help of dental x-rays, can find these and help create a treatment plan before the problem becomes more advanced.

It’s recommended by the ADA that patients go for checkups on a schedule that is determined by their dentist.

What are early signs of dental trouble?

The onset of dental or oral problems can present in a number of ways, depending on the underlying issues. Some of the most common include:

– Sores or tender areas in the mouth
– Bleeding or swollen gums (especially after brushing)
– Chronic bad breath
– Tooth sensitivity
– Loose teeth
– Pain or a toothache

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend calling to schedule an appointment with your dentist. They’ll be able to take a closer look and help identify any problems and establish a treatment plan.