You may think of dental implants, dentures, and other restorative dentistry procedures as just an inevitable part of getting old, but that’s far from the truth.

Plenty of people age with their natural smiles healthy and intact, and they have one thing in common: they’ve prioritized their dental health by practicing excellent oral hygiene and visiting the dentist every six months.

Preventive dentistry is the practice of preventing problems in the first place. It includes taking care of your teeth and gums at home and making sure you get regular professional checkups.

To book a cleaning and exam at Aberdeen Smiles in Aberdeen, SD, call 605-277-9049.

How to Keep Your Smile Healthy at Home

You only see us twice a year, so what you do at home really makes a difference.

Hopefully you’ve been brushing twice a day, but have you taken a good look at your technique? Brushing correctly is key to removing the bacteria and plaque that generate the acids that wear down your tooth enamel.

  • You should brush twice daily for two minutes at a time.
  • Brush all surfaces of your teeth, including the backs.
  • Don’t brush aggressively, which can damage your tooth enamel and gums. Use gentle pressure and a soft-bristled toothbrush only.
  • Hold the toothbrush at a forty-five-degree angle to the gums.
  • Use short back-and-forth or circular strokes.
  • Always use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brushing your tongue gets rid of additional harmful bacteria.
  • Get rid of that old toothbrush! Replace it every few months or when bristles become frayed.

If you aren’t flossing daily, now is the time to start. The American Dental Association says time of day matters less than just making sure it gets done.

  • Pull off about eighteen inches of floss.
  • Wrap it around your middle fingers and work with about two inches at a time.
  • Keep the floss taut against your enamel as you go up and down between each tooth. This helps it remove bacteria and plaque on the tooth.
  • Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth.
  • At the base of each tooth, clean gently under the gumline.

Good nutrition is also important to healthy teeth and gums.

  • Get your calcium. This mineral is essential for keeping your teeth strong and healthy. Dairy products and leafy greens are excellent sources of calcium.
  • Leafy greens are also packed with folic acid, which helps promote gum health.
  • Drink lots of water. Carry a reusable bottle filled with tap water so it’s with you throughout the day.
  • Ditch the habit of quenching your thirst with soft drinks, sports drinks, and juices. These coat your mouth with sugar, promoting bacterial growth and tooth decay. Diet soft drinks aren’t much better, as they contain destructive acids.
  • Avoid chewy sweets like soft granola bars, gummy treats, fruit leather, and even dried fruit. Their texture causes them to become lodged in the grooves of the teeth, where they cause bacteria to proliferate and produce acids that wear down the tooth enamel.
  • Try to minimize grazing. Keeping your food consumption to mealtimes limits the number of acid attacks on your teeth. If you do need a little something to stave off hunger, avoid pretzels, chips, and other carb-heavy snacks. Choose something that will benefit your teeth, like cheese, low-sugar yogurt, an apple, or raw veggies with hummus.

Visit Us for Cleanings & Exams

A dental cleaning is much more thorough than brushing your teeth at home. Our expert hygienists have special tools that enable them to remove plaque and tartar stuck on the teeth and underneath the gumline. This must be removed to keep your mouth free from tooth decay and gum disease. We will also thoroughly floss and polish your teeth with a special toothpaste so that they gleam.

Dr. Drake will conduct a comprehensive examination of your mouth. We will check for signs of gum disease and cavities, which you may not notice in their early stages.

We will screen you for oral cancer and other problems.

We may take X-rays of your mouth. These enable us to see hidden issues such as cysts, impacted teeth, cavities between teeth, abscesses, and problems with the jawbone (such as deterioration due to gum disease).

If we do discover a problem, we will lay out your treatment options and help you come to a decision.

Additional Services

We offer optional preventive services to keep your and your family’s smiles healthy.

An athletic mouthguard is a smart idea for any child or adult who participates in contact sports or other activities (such as skating or bike riding) that could result in injury to the teeth or gums. Our sports guards are custom made from impressions of your mouth, so they fit perfectly and are comfortable to wear.

Sealants are often thought of as a procedure for children — and indeed, they have been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of tooth decay in school-aged kids. A sealant is a plastic coating that, as the name suggests, seals out the bacteria and acids that destroy tooth enamel. They are generally applied to the chewing surfaces of the back molars. The process is simple and painless. After cleaning the teeth, we apply an acidic gel that roughens the surface, which promotes a tighter bond. The sealant material is painted on and hardened with a special light. Sealants will offer protection for years. (Although, of course, they are not a substitute for good brushing and flossing!)

As you may know, fluoride keeps teeth strong and able to resist decay. It and other minerals are continuously shed from your enamel in a process called remineralization, so they must be replenished on a regular basis. You may get some fluoride through drinking water and toothpaste. We offer fluoride treatments for an extra boost of this essential mineral.

If you need to get your next dental appointment in the books in Aberdeen, SD, call Aberdeen Smiles at 605-277-9049. Or fill out and submit our convenient online form. We will get back to you promptly.