You go to the dentist for your cleaning and check-up. The hygienist reviews your medical history and the medications you take, measures your gums and takes x-rays to evaluate the health of your teeth.

She hands you a mirror, takes her little measuring tool and scrapes the plaque that is sitting along the gumline.

“You’re not brushing well enough to remove this plaque,” she says. “This stuff is full of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.” She recommends an electric toothbrush.

“But I know how to brush my teeth! I’ll do better!” you say. A motorized one will do all the work for you, she says. You just guide it around at the gumline.

Motorized toothbrushes can move the bristles in ways the human hand cannot. The best ones either move the bristles in a circular motion or they use sonic technology to vibrate the plaque off the teeth.

The other huge plaque removing component is flossing. Don’t use the waxed or glide type of floss because it just glides right over the plaque!

A Waterpik is also a must to rinse out all that loose plaque so it doesn’t resettle and infect your gums. Healthy gums put you at a lower risk for diabetes, inflammatory diseases, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Remember, only brush and floss the teeth you want to keep.

For advice on caring for your teeth and any other dental issues, make an appointment with Dr. Dawnie Kildoo at Legacy Smile of Southern Arizona, 520-625-0131.

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