3 Things to do Before Your Next Dental Cleaning
The time has finally come…the day of your dental cleaning has arrived! So what are you doing!? Flossing! Of course.
Spoiler alert – we already know if you have been flossing the last several months! So instead of panicking the morning of your dental cleaning, here are three quick things to take care of between your dental cleanings!
- FLOSS. (I know, I know) but really – there are a variety of easy ways to floss these days. It is not necessary to use the string floss we give you at your appointment if that doesn’t work for you. The bottom line in the age old floss debate is this – just make sure you are cleaning between your teeth. We don’t care if you like string floss, water floss or floss picks, just pick a method that works for you and try to do it consistently! A good rule of thumb if you are currently only flossing the morning of your dental cleaning (don’t worry – you’re not alone!) is to pick one day of the week and start from there. Maybe you watch Cubs baseball, floss during the commercial breaks! Many of our patients prefer to floss in the shower, that’s ok too! Just pick a time that works and build from there. Ideally, everyone would floss daily, so that’s the goal – however, one to three days a week is MUCH better than none! If you don’t love using string floss, we highly recommend WaterPik! Several of our staff members use and love their WaterPik daily! An added bonus – your dental hygienist will be THRILLED to hear that you’re upping your floss game. You’re quickly on your way to a great dental cleaning!
2) Update your insurance information. Employers are changing their insurance policies almost annually in most industries. It is especially difficult to keep track of which company you are insured through when your insurance company doesn’t provide identification cards! Prior to your dental appointment, check with your HR department and ensure that you have the most up-to-date information on your dental insurance carrier and, if possible, print an identification card with you to bring to your visit! This will minimize your out of pocket expenses at the office as well. Our office accepts the majority of PPO policies but if you have any questions regarding insurance – check out this page! If we are aware of your insurance coverage information we can more accurately anticipate your insurance payment – virtually eliminating the need to send an additional statement or issue a refund.
3) Change your toothbrush head. Whether you have an electric toothbrush or a manual brush, it needs to be changed between dental visits. The American Dental Association recommends changing every three to four months or when the bristles begin to fray. The two most important reasons to change the brush are:
A. Frayed bristles decrease effectiveness! Frayed bristles are generally less effective in cleaning than bristles that are intact. They can also lead to damage to the tender gum tissues surrounding the teeth. According to Dr. Mark Burhenne at Ask the Dentist, the bristles undergo a “rounding out” after they are cut to size to ensure they are not too sharp for our gum tissue. (Read more on that here.)
B. Toothbrushes harbor bacteria! According to the ADA, “…a common-sense approach is recommended for situations where patients may be at higher risk to infection or re-infection by various microbes.” While the bacteria living on your toothbrush might not be immediately dangerous, it is always a good idea to evaluate the risk of potentially harmful bacteria being constantly re-introduced into the body, especially in situations where the patient is compromised in anyway.
Happy flossing! The dental office definitely plays a crucial role in taking care of your teeth and oral health in general; however, the work you do at home counts too! Hopefully your next dental check up is a cavity-free success!