Got questions about tooth whitening? Want to find out if you’re doing the best you can do to look after your teeth and gums? Your questions are all answered in this four-part FAQ guide to oral health and hygiene.

Welcome back to our four-part article series in which All On Four implant dentists in Chicago answer all your frequently asked questions on oral health and hygiene. Last week, we kicked off with a look at proper brushing techniques as well as the importance of regular and thorough brushing. Let’s continue with where we left off…

FAQ: There’s good brushing technique, but is there anything I shouldn’t be doing with regards to my brushing technique?

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Answer: Yes, pressing down too hard or using a toothbrush with very hard bristles could actually be damaging and irritating your gums and leading to the hastened erosion of your dental enamel. If your gums bleed when you brush, try not to push down too hard. Invest in a soft to medium bristled brush and if your current one looks more like a toilet brush than a toothbrush, it may be time to replace it. Also, try to store your toothbrush in a closed cupboard away from the toilet. Avoid those little storage containers that clasp around the head of the toothbrush: they hinder evaporation, which fosters an environment favorable for bacterial growth.

FAQ: Why is flossing so important? None of my friends do it.

Answer: If it’s your aspiration to have the same oral problems as your friends one day, then by all means follow in their footsteps. If, however, you wish to keep your teeth and gums in excellent condition, daily flossing is a must according to the Chicago implant dentist: the healthcare professionals who replace teeth that are lost as a result of sloppy oral hygiene habits! Brushing alone cannot remove 100% of the food debris and plaque, which is essentially oral bacteria, that naturally accumulates between your teeth during the course of the day. If you don’t floss, you allow this debris to sit and accumulate further. This causes gum irritation and inflammation, bad breath and eventually tooth decay and gum disease. Floss your teeth every day, preferably before you go to bed at night so that they truly are squeaky-clean.

FAQ: What’s the best type of floss to use?

Answer: As long as you floss daily and pay close attention to being thorough, it really doesn’t matter what type of floss you use (waxed, unwaxed, minted, unminted, etc.) It must be legitimate dental floss though… don’t think you can get away with using a toothpick, fingernail or bootlace.

FAQ: I think I may have gingivitis: what are the symptoms?

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Answer: First of all, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, you’re not alone: a shocking 85% of Americans present with gum disease, the beginning stage of which is gingivitis. Common symptoms of this condition vary, but generally you may notice that:

  • Your gums are red and inflamed instead of pink,
  • They are swollen, forming angry “teardrops” of gum between the teeth,
  • You struggle with bad breath, which returns soon after brushing,
  • Your gums tend to bleed when you brush them.

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, it’s imperative that you seek the attention of a qualified dental healthcare professional. Ignoring the early signs of gum disease allows it to progress to something that is far more expensive and requires more invasive procedures to fix. You’ll also risk permanent damage.

Stay Tuned for Part 3

To read the answers to more Frequently Asked Questions about oral health, hygiene and cosmetics, stay tuned for the third installment of this four-part article series, courtesy of Chicago implant dentists.