Dental Hygiene

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Lakewood, Denver, Golden & Nearby Colorado

We tend to associate the principles of dental hygiene with general dentists who do basic cleanings and check-ups, but hygiene is also a matter of true importance to the cosmetic dentist. Lakewood cosmetic dentist Dr. Scott Greenhalgh has seen too many smiles ruined when they could have been saved by taking a few simple steps over the years.

General dental problems become cosmetic problems with impressive speed. Fail to take care of your gums and they become puffy and inflamed; gum disease has serious long-term implications for the health of your teeth, but this excess gum tissue also leads to a gummy, unattractive smile.

The good news in all of this is that protecting yourself is really quite simple. By following a few simple dental hygiene tips you can not only protect your dental health but maintain a photogenic smile. Proper dental health also affects your general well-being.

Want to learn more about dental hygiene? Read our blog!

If you live in the Lakewood, Colorado, area and you’re looking for a skilled dentist to help you achieve your cosmetic goals, please call Scott Greenhalgh, DDS today at 303-988-9060.

Dental Hygiene Steps and How They Relate to Your Smile

Infographic showing how to prevent cavitiesYour dentist will explain to you in more detail what your daily teeth-cleaning should look like. However, there are usually some common recommendations that will serve you well. Those include:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly: Teeth suffer when there is a build-up of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. The best way to clear away bacteria is two thorough brushings a day, combined with regular, daily flossing. If you allow plaque to build up your teeth will lose their whiteness and your gums might become infected, inflamed and puffy. Tooth loss is a common long-term effect of these problems, requiring the use of dental implants as teeth replacements.
  • Minimize your consumption of certain foods: Teeth whitening is a popular service with many of our Lakewood-area patients. Avoiding stained, yellowed teeth is obviously quite important to an attractive smile. Foods and drinks like soda, coffee, wine, candy and dark fruit juices can stain your teeth. So can smoking and chewing tobacco.
  • See your dentist regularly: While most of the responsibility for your dental health rests with you, there are some things you just can’t do yourself. That’s why it’s so crucial to see your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and thorough check-up. Your dentist has technology and experience you don’t have access to. Regularly scheduled cleanings are vital for your long-term dental hygiene and cosmetic dental needs.

By taking these few simple steps, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your teeth healthy and your smile bright, white and photogenic.  If you need an experienced general and cosmetic dentist in the Lakewood, Colorado area, please contact Scott Greenhalgh, DDS today by calling 303-988-9060.

Why is it Necessary to Have My Teeth Cleaned Every Six Months?

Your general dentist will request that you visit every six months for routine dental care. During these visits, you'll have your teeth and gums examined and cleaned. You may have dental x-rays taken, as well, to observe the roots and bone structure beneath the gums for signs of potential problems.  Your routine cleanings are designed primarily to remove the sticky, clear, odorless biofilm called plaque that can adhere to your teeth. Plaque can hide near the gum line and in between teeth, where it can cause inflammation. Routine cleanings, hopefully, catch plaque and remove it before it hardens into calculus. This is also referred to as tartar. Plaque that's hardened to tartar can become visible on your teeth, affecting your appearance. It can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist and requires the use of special instruments. 

What is the Risk of Plaque Buildup Around My Teeth?

When plaque and tartar sit on the teeth for prolonged periods, inflammation and infection may develop. Early inflammation, which you may know as gingivitis, can be reversed with professional care and improved daily hygiene that includes brushing and flossing. A dentist may also advise you to use a special oral rinse to decrease inflammation and fight harmful bacteria. Untreated, plaque remains on the teeth and harbors the bacteria that continually degrade gum strength. Over time, your weakened gums can pull away from your teeth, creating pockets in which infection-causing bacteria can become unreachable to your toothbrush and floss. 

Untreated gingivitis is a significant concern. It can cause discomfort and bad breath. It can get in the way of receiving rewarding cosmetic treatments. It can also increase your risks for various health conditions. Treatments are available for all levels of gum disease. The earlier treatment occurs, the better. 

I Take Good Care of My Teeth. Why are They Yellow?

It's commonly understood that tooth discoloration can occur as a result of foods and beverages. With that understanding, it makes sense that you might believe you can brush and floss away a yellow appearance. The truth is, there are several reasons this doesn't work. 

First, your teeth aren't as naturally white as you might believe they should be. We've come to expect a degree of brightness that simply isn't natural for most people. Your enamel is an off-white color, and the underlying dentin, the material that makes up the majority of your tooth structure, is somewhat of a darker shade. Your oral care cannot alter these conditions even if you completely avoided all things that could stain your enamel. 

Another reason your teeth may yellow over time is that it's nearly impossible to avoid items that can lead to staining and yellowing. It isn't just coffee and tea and red wine that we worry about; it's also soda consumption, berries, and many other richly-colored foods. Stains may also occur as a result of some types of medications. If you smoke, your chances of tooth discoloration are extraordinarily high, regardless of your brushing habits.

Finally, brushing and flossing aren't designed to whiten teeth. This is true even if you use whitening toothpaste. All whitening toothpaste does is gently polish the surface of the enamel that covers your teeth. This might help to slow down the deepening of yellow color and staining but it won't prevent it from happening. 

Brushing and flossing are necessary tasks that you should perform every day. If you're concerned about discoloration, Dr. Greenhalg can help you explore the best professional whitening options for your needs.