What causes cavities?

We tend to think that sugar causes cavities. Technically, sugar only adds fuel to the cause of cavities. Cavities actually develop as tooth structure is weakened by the acid waste of bacteria. Sugar is food for harmful bacteria, which can be washed away, along with the acid, with routine brushing and flossing.

What type of toothbrush is most effective?

People sometimes question whether an electric toothbrush is better than a manual toothbrush for optimal oral hygiene. In reality, either is fine. What is important to look for is a brush with soft bristles rather than hard. Hard bristled toothbrushes may give you a squeaky-clean feeling, but they are harsh on enamel as well as gum tissue, sometimes causing abrasions.

What is the best way to floss?

Flossing teeth is the most important accompaniment to brushing. Without flossing, about 15 percent of your tooth structure is not cleaned. Floss is inexpensive and easy to find, so there is no need to be stingy when performing this important task.

  1. Tear off a length of floss about as long as your forearm.

  2. Wrap one end around your middle finger on one hand. This is your anchor.

  3. Hold the other end between your thumb and forefinger, about six inches from the end.

  4. Insert a strand of floss between two teeth, moving it in an up and down motion. Do not use a back and forth motion, as this can cut the gums or notch teeth.

  5. As each section of floss is used, move on to another section of floss about four to six inches away from the previous one, "reeling" it in as you go with the middle finger anchor.

  6. Floss between all teeth. Back teeth can be hard to reach, and may be best addressed with flossers. Our friendly staff finds oral care incredibly important to sustained health. We are happy to show you how to floss teeth properly!

How often should I see my dentist for examination?

The goal of dentistry is to prevent dental problems and promote oral health. Visiting the dentist at six-month intervals typically allow us to catch any developing dental problems early. During examinations, we can discuss oral hygiene and adjust daily practices as needed. In the instance of ongoing dental problems or gum disease, it may be best to schedule visits every three months. Cleanings, as well, may be performed this often.

How often are x-rays needed?

X-rays are a vital part of understanding what is happening in the mouth, giving us a visual image of all areas, including below the gums. Typically, a full set of dental x-rays is completed every three years. Supplemental films may be done on a yearly basis. This frequency exposes you to about the same amount of radiation you would see in a flight from Seattle to San Francisco. Hillside Dental is equipped with digital x-ray technology, which further reduces exposure to radiation.

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