FAQ

Why should I go to the dentist regularly?

Your oral health is important to the overall health of your body.  More and more studies are connecting oral health and systemic health, and they are finding the same bacteria that contributes to gum disease contributes to heart disease.  Going to the dentist every three to six months helps control the bacteria levels in your mouth.

Why should I floss, isn't brushing enough?

Although brushing is the most effective way to remove plaque from your teeth, the brush can’t reach every surface of the tooth.  Floss removes the plaque bacteria between the teeth and under the gums that the brush can’t reach. Once it is scraped off of the surface with the floss, it can be easily brushed away.

How can I get my kids to brush their teeth?

Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a challenge.  The best way is to make a game out of it by getting them a two-minute timer that they can use.  You might have to begin by brushing for them to demonstrate how to clean each tooth. The timer will make sure they do it for enough time.

How can I prevent cavities?

No secret here; brushing and flossing your teeth especially last thing before bed is the best way to prevent cavities.  But here are some other tips to prevent cavities: 1) avoid sugary drinks and foods; 2) use a fluoride toothpaste and/or mouth rinse; and 3) regularly go to the dentist so they can help you identify possible weak areas.

Why does the dentist take X-rays?

X-rays or dental radiographs allow the dentist to see areas between the teeth to identify any loss of tooth enamel due to cavities.  They also help identify any bone loss or areas of possible infection.

Why do I need dental exams?

Dental exams allow the dentist to inspect each tooth to ensure its strength and to identify any possible weak areas that might become problematic in the future.  In other words, dental exams are to keep you out of pain. 

What is fluoride and why is it important to dental health?

Fluoride is a mineral in your bones and teeth.  It is commonly used in dentistry to strengthen enamel, which is the outer layer of your teeth.  When bacteria in your mouth break down sugar and carbs, they produce acids that eat away at the minerals in your tooth enamel.  This loss of minerals is called demineralization which leaves your teeth vulnerable to bacteria that cause cavities.  

Fluoride helps to remineralize your tooth enamel, which can prevent cavities and reverse early signs of tooth decay.

Does a rinse or mouthwash help?

Depends on what your goal is.  If your goal is fresh breath, yes it helps.  If your goal is to reduce plaque and prevent tooth decay, you must brush your teeth first.  Because plaque bacteria form a protective biofilm, you must first break up the bacteria with your brush for the mouthwash to be effective. 

Do teeth need fluoride?

Teeth need fluoride.  Fluoride replenishes the calcium and phosphorous that keep your teeth hard and protected.

What is the best way to whiten my teeth?

The best way to whiten your teeth is by using a professional bleaching system.  There are many available that can be done professionally in our office or at home.  Other tips for white teeth are to:

  • Brush daily!  It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Use whitening toothpaste
  • Try staying away from food that stain your teeth (examples: coffee, red wine, tea).
  • Get regular checkups and cleanings.
What causes tooth decay?

Plaque bacteria in your mouth break down sugar and carbs and produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel.  When that acid is on the teeth long enough it will cause decay and lead to cavities in your teeth.   

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, or gingiva.  It commonly occurs because plaque bacteria accumulate on the teeth due to poor brushing and flossing.  Signs of gingivitis include red and puffy gums that bleed easily when the person brushes their teeth.  Gingivitis often resolves with good oral hygiene, such as longer and more frequent brushing and flossing.  However, if left untreated, it will lead to periodontal disease.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Periodontal or gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place.  It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque bacteria to build up on the teeth and harden.  In advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to sore, bleeding gums; bad breath; painful chewing problems; and even tooth loss.

What are the most common oral health problems?

The most common oral health problems are tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer.  According to the CDC, more than 90% of adults experience tooth decay; 40% of adults over the age of 30 have gum disease; and in 2016, there were 45,000 new cases of cancer in the oral cavity and pharynx diagnosed in the U.S.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

Your toothbrush should be changed every three months or sooner if the bristles have lost their shape.  Once a toothbrush is worn out, it doesn’t remove plaque as effectively.  

What should I look for when choosing a dentist?

When choosing a dentist, look at more than just the dentist.  You will be interacting with the whole office. So, look for a team that will hold their patients as the number one priority.  At Snow Family Dentistry we strive to create an experience that is as smooth as possible from the very first phone call and office tour, to all of your appointments.  We want our office to be somewhere that is comfortable for you and somewhere that you enjoy being at.