Teeth Technique

​What is Dental Deep Cleaning and Do I Need It?

October 11th, 2018

dental deep cleaningDentists will often recommend a deep dental cleaning for people who don’t brush and floss regularly or for those who have missed several dental check-up appointments.

While it may sound like another way for the dentist to make money, the reality is that deep dental cleaning is an established procedure that is critical to the health and well-being of both you and your teeth.

Even with regular flossing and brushing, plaque and tartar can slowly build up on the teeth causing the beginning stages of gum disease. This is why dentists recommend that you go in for a checkup at least once a year (twice, preferably).

We’re going to look at what deep cleanings are, why they’re recommended, and how they’re performed.

Why Are Deep Cleanings Recommended?

The technical term for a deep cleaning is “root scaling and planing.” It’s an established dental treatment that’s been around for well over 70 years. When you sit down in the dental chair, and the dentist starts to examine your mouth, he will use a small metal probe to measure the areas around your teeth.

He’s specifically looking to measure the depth of the gum tissue between the teeth and gums. If the depth goes beyond five millimeters, it’s referred to as a “pocket,” and this is the area where bacteria will form and live. Healthy pockets measure no more than three millimeters deep. Anything deeper and you have the beginning stages of gum disease.

Deep pockets are caused by an overabundance of bacteria and can form if the teeth aren’t regularly cleaned. While brushing and flossing on a daily basis can help remove the majority of food debris in your mouth, sometimes minute particles will be left behind. Only a dental checkup can eliminate the areas of plaque and tartar that can build up over the course of a few months.

What Does a Dental Deep Clean Entail?

dental deep clean usually requires a separate appointment as it can take upwards of 45 minutes per quadrant in your mouth. There are four quadrants that need to be cleaned: lower left, lower right, upper left, and upper right. Depending on the extent of the cleaning that needs to be done, it may require multiple appointments to treat all four quadrants.

The dentist will use a set of small surgical grade metal probes and scrapers to physically remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth and gums. He will carefully poke and prod and scrape until he’s confident the tartar and plaque have been removed from the area.

If the process sounds a bit uncomfortable, well, it kind of is. This is why dentists will use a local anesthetic to numb the areas where he will be cleaning.

If the patient suffers from anxiety issues or would like something to make the procedure a bit more bearable, the dentist can prescribe specific medication to help alleviate the unpleasantness of the cleaning process.

What Happens if You Don’t Keep Dental Appointments?

Root scaling and planing is a necessary process. It’s the last line of defense people have before their early stages of gum disease turn into a much more serious condition called periodontitis. If this condition occurs, their immune system will start to attack bone and tissue in the mouth because the inflammation of the gums is so severe.

If the periodontitis worsens, it can result in massive toothaches and teeth needing to be pulled. While a dental deep cleaning can temporarily halt that process, the plaque and tartar will return if the person doesn’t take a more proactive role in their dental hygiene.

Periodontitis causes irreversible bone loss which can give bacteria even more places to hide and grow. Regular brushing and flossing will completely miss these areas. This is why some people will require multiple deep cleanings over the course of several months. In some situations, the dentist may require more than one deep cleaning per year until the situation has stabilized.

How Much Do Deep Cleanings Cost?

The only downside to deep cleanings is that they require heavy manual labor on the part of the dentist. There are no shortcuts, nor automated machines that can speed up the cleaning process. Scraping plaque and tartar off teeth is not easy, and this is why it can take upwards of 45 minutes for each of the four quadrants of your mouth.

It’s impossible to say what the deep cleaning will cost until the dentist has evaluated the patient's mouth and determined a plan of action. The good news is that most dental insurance plans will cover a portion of the deep cleaning. Once the dentist has given you a treatment plan, you can take that information back to your insurance company, and they will tell you exactly what they will cover.

Dental Deep Cleanings in Chicago

If you haven’t had a checkup in over a year, or you have been lax on keeping up with brushing and flossing, you owe it to your health to make an appointment for a dental deep cleaning.

Give us a call today at (312) 787-2131 to schedule an appointment for your dental deep cleaning. At Water Tower Dental Care, our gentle and caring dentists will help clean your teeth and make your smile look like a million bucks!

​What are Gum Measurements and What Do the Numbers Mean?

September 6th, 2018

gum measurementsCan you remember your last dental checkup?

If so, think back to when the dentist was poking your gums with a small metal instrument while calling out seemingly random numbers to his dental assistant.

You were getting an exam called a “periodontal charting,” also known as “gum measurements.” The purpose of it is to determine the health of your gums the amount of gum tissue around each tooth. There are six sides around each tooth, which means you probably heard a lot of numbers being called out.

If you’ve ever wondered what was going on during this exam, we’re going to look at the overall process of measuring your gums and looking at what the numbers mean.

Gum Measurements

A gum evaluation is usually performed when you get your teeth cleaned. The purpose of it is to measure the depth and health of your gums. They’re measured in millimeters in accordance with the following chart:

  • 0 to 3mm (no bleeding): Perfectly healthy gums
  • 1 to 3mm (with bleeding): You’ve got gingivitis. Fortunately, it’s the mildest form of gum disease and can improve provided that you brush your teeth daily.
  • 3 to 5mm (no bleeding): This is the cusp where gum disease starts. A dental cleaning cannot go deeper than 3 mm, so you’ll probably be required to visit the dentist at least 4x per year to improve your gum health.
  • 3 to 5mm (with bleeding): This is the stage where moderate gum disease begins. Better oral care and more regular dental cleanings will be required.
  • 7mm and up (with bleeding): You’ve got advanced periodontal disease. Surgery will most likely be needed to fix the problem, along with dental cleaning every three to four months.

How Is It Performed?

A groove exists between your gums and your teeth. To check for gum depth, the dentist will use a specialized small metal probe. It will measure how far it goes into your gums in millimeters. Each tooth has six different areas that need to be measured.

As the dentist starts the measurements, he will call out the depth numbers to his assistant who will log the information on a chart or hand-held tablet. In some cases, he might require a dental X-ray to check for bone loss where deeper pockets are observed.

Treatment Options

There are several surgical and non-surgical treatment options if your gum measurements go over 5mm. The dentist will recommend one or the other based on the current state of your gums.


If the gum disease is not advanced, non-surgical treatment is an option. There are three ways to go about it:

  • Root planning – This procedure will smooth the root surface and discourage the buildup of bacteria and tartar. It’s a super deep teeth cleaning process.
  • Scaling – Bacteria and tartar are manually removed from your mouth by metal instruments or in some cases a laser.
  • Antibiotics – Oral or topical antibiotics can lower the bacteria counts in your mouth. The dentist might prescribe an oral mouth rinse or gels to help fight the infection caused by the bacteria.


For those who have advanced periodontitis, surgery might be the only way to treat the problem.

  • Soft tissue grafts – When your mouth loses gum tissue, the gumline will recede. A soft tissue graft is performed by removing a small amount of tissue from the roof of your mouth and transplanting it to the damage site.
  • Flap surgery – Small incisions will be made in your gums so that the dentist can perform an even deeper root planing and scaling procedure. Once you’re healed up sufficiently, the entire area will be much easier to clean.
  • Tissue regeneration – If you had bone that was destroyed by bacteria, this procedure would help regrow it. A piece of biocompatible fabric is placed in between your tooth and the bone which keeps the gums from intruding and allows the bone to grow back.

How to Reduce Periodontitis?

In some cases, surgery is the only way gum disease can be reduced or eliminated. However, you can do your part in the fight by adopting a more regular oral care schedule.

Try brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis and limit the number of sugars and other unhealthy foods that you consume. Mouth rinse (either prescribed or over-the-counter) can also help reduce the number of bacteria inside your mouth.

You should also schedule more regular teeth cleanings. Brushing and flossing alone will not prevent plaque, tartar, and other yucky stuff from forming in hard-to-reach areas inside your mouth. A professional dental cleaning every four months can help remove plaque and tartar and keep your gums and teeth healthy.

Dental Checkups in Chicago

If you haven’t had a dental cleaning or checkup in a while and you haven’t been brushing and flossing on a regular basis, you should schedule an appointment to see us as soon as possible.

At Water Tower Dental Care, we specialize in helping our patients improve their oral health. Our caring and gentle dentists will help you make your smile look like a million bucks!

Do I Really Need to Floss My Teeth Every Day?​

August 30th, 2018

dental flossDo you floss on a daily basis? If your answer is an emphatic “no,” you’re not alone.

It’s been estimated that around 36% of Americans would rather clean their toilet than floss their teeth. What’s the reason for people’s resistance to moving a waxed piece of string between their teeth to remove stuck food particles?

Nobody knows for sure. It could be that our go-go-go lifestyle has led us to view flossing as a waste of time – after all, we just finished brushing our teeth, shouldn’t that count for something?

Complicating matters further, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans set forth by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has removed flossing as a guideline for good oral health.

So, case closed, no need to floss anymore because the USDA told us so?

Not exactly.

What Does Flossing Prevent?

Many dental experts don’t share the same viewpoints as the USDA when it comes to flossing your teeth daily. Flossing can help prevent gum disease, and over 12 studies have found that people who floss on a daily basis were less likely to suffer from bleeding gums.

Those same people were found to have lower overall levels of gum inflammation (aka “gingivitis”). No matter what the USDA claims, food particles that remain lodged in-between teeth can and will cause gum inflammation and tooth decay.

Why is Flossing a Good Idea?

There’s an old saying that carpenters and other tradesmen have:

“The right tool for the job.”

If a carpenter needs a screwdriver to turn a screw, he’s not going to reach for the hammer inside his toolbox. He’s going to select the screwdriver that will best be able to turn the screw to complete the job.

The same goes for brushing your teeth. Think of your toothbrush as a tool. Its job is to remove loose food particles and other gunk and debris after you eat. It also helps remove plaque.

The problem with toothbrushes is that they can’t reach the food that’s stuck in-between the small natural gaps in your teeth. This is where dental floss comes into play. By flossing after every meal, you will be removing food particles that are too small for you to feel with your tongue (and instinctively reach for a toothpick).

How to Properly Floss?

Believe it or not, there is a recommended technique for flossing. It will not only help save time and energy but allow you to be more efficient in removing food particles that are stuck between the teeth.

1. Start with around 18 inches of dental floss. Wind most of it around your two middle fingers, leaving two inches of floss in the middle.

2. Using your thumbs and middle fingers, hold the floss tightly and slide up and down and in-between your teeth.

3. Curve around down to the bottom of each tooth and gently go beneath the gum line. This is one place that a toothbrush or mouthwash can’t reach.

4. As you move from tooth to tooth, be sure to unwind a bit of new dental floss from one hand to ensure maximum efficiency.

Alternatives to Flossing

Ok, so what if you really, really, really don’t like flossing – but reading this article makes you a bit concerned for your oral health? There are flossing alternatives on the market that could potentially help.

Water Piks – There is a debate amongst medical professionals as to whether or not water piks are a viable alternative to actual flossing. They perform the same primary function, but instead of a wax piece of a string, a gentle jet of water is sprayed into your mouth to remove any loose food.

Floss Picks – Floss picks are great for when you don’t want to hassle with a long string of dental floss. They are made out of a small piece of plastic that has one inch of dental floss attached to it. It has a handle on one end, and that makes it very easy to use.

Soft-Picks – These are relatively new. They offer a gentler flossing experience, which is good for older people and those who have braces. You can find them online or in any grocery or home goods store.

What Can Happen if You Don’t Floss?

Have you ever gone to the dentist and wondered why they recommend a thorough teeth cleaning? It’s because you’re not flossing regularly. Over time, tartar can build up, and only your dentist will be able to remove it with professional teeth cleaning.

You can have bad breath from minuscule particles of food rotting away in your mouth which can ultimately lead to tooth discoloration and gum disease.

Flossing shouldn’t take more than a few minutes after every meal. By doing a bit of preventative maintenance on a daily basis, you can protect your health as well as the health of your teeth.

Teeth Cleaning in Chicago

If you don’t floss as often as you should, you should get a professional teeth cleaning which will not only leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean, but help prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues.

At Water Tower Dental Care, we specialize in helping our patient’s smiles look and feel like a million bucks!

​5 Tips On How To Keep Your Teeth Healthy In The Chicago Summer

June 15th, 2017

chicago summerSummer is just around the corner! Are you ready to take in all that summer in Chicago has to offer? With all the hustle and bustle of the city, it can be pretty easy to lose your routines, like your oral health. By being conscious about your oral health, you will be more inclined to continue your good habits even though the weather, and the city, are beckoning as the whether begins to warm up. Here are five tips to help you keep your teeth healthy this summer in Chicago!

Limit Sugary Drinks

When you are strolling around the Water Tower Place or Millennium Park this summer, try to limit the sugary drinks you have - there are lots of slushy machines and drink carts just waiting to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated, but try to resist drinking too much sugar. As you know, sugar causes cavities and decay, and you don’t want to roll into the autumn season having to visit the dentist, now do you? If possible, substitute soda for water, or drink through a straw to help minimize the sugar effects on your teeth.

Don’t Forget to Brush

It seems ridiculous to remind grown men and women to brush their teeth, but when the weather gets nice, you’re going to be so excited to get out of the house and do all there is to do that you’ll likely forget to do more than just brush your teeth. When you visit the city, try to maintain some semblance of routine so that your oral health doesn’t go by the wayside. Long days on the beach can lead to naps, and naps can sometimes turn into staying in for the night. So make sure once you get home from a long day out, you take the time to brush your teeth before laying down to relax.

Make Healthy Choices

While visiting Streeterville, Chicago, you will be tempted by many amazing dining establishments and food carts and vendors. There is lots to enjoy and lots of food to try, but remember to make healthy choices. Eating good, clean, healthy foods is good for your oral health and overall well-being. Just because you are enjoying the big city doesn’t mean you have to wreak havoc on your routines. Try the foods you really want to try and then steer clear of the rest. Remember not to drink your calories and stay away from really sugary drinks. An easy way to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle is to eat vegetables with every meal you order. Enjoy your vegetables first and then enjoy smaller amounts of the other foods you wanted to try. It all adds up to help keep you healthy and happy this summer!

Protect Yourself and Your Mouth

When you make your way to Millennium Park in the heart of Chicago, don’t be surprised by the sheer number of people that are enjoying themselves there! It’s an amazing place, but you need to be careful not to hurt yourself if you get a spontaneous game of touch football going, or another fun sport. Wear protective mouthpieces if you engage in any kind of aggressive activity: you don’t want to be spending your summer days in the hospital or dental chair. Be safe, and you won’t have anything to worry about. The same goes for the rest of your body: be sure to wear the proper equipment when you are cycling, walking, or running this summer in Chicago. Don’t leave that bike helmet at home.

Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools

BBQ's are a great way to enjoy the weather while hanging out with family and friends, but sometimes we get a little too relaxed and don't feel like standing up to go find things that we may need... like a bottle opener for instance. Don’t use your teeth as a bottle opener: this can cause a lot of damage to your teeth, and they could even crack. Similar to the touch football from this afternoon, don’t put yourself in harms way just for the sake of putting yourself in harm's way! You are going to need those teeth to bite into the amazing food throughout the Chicagoland area this summer. Take that extra 30 seconds to stand up, stretch your legs, and walk over to find the bottle opener. Your relaxation will end pretty quickly if you crack your teeth on a bottle cap.

Whether you are making your way to Chicago for a weekend getaway, or you live here year-round, you’ll find an incredible array of activities, entertainment, shows, events, concerts, food establishments and more. There is something for everyone in the Windy City! But before you go hog wild and forget about your health, remember to make a plan to ensure you are taking care of yourself throughout your time in Chicago this summer. Don’t open bottles with your teeth, use mouth guards if you are engaging in random sports, try to make healthy choices or at least, healthier than you would normally pick at a restaurant, remember to brush your teeth and try to limit the amount of sugary drinks you purchase this summer. If you keep your oral health, and overall well-being in the back of your mind, you’ll have an even better time in Chicago than if something happened that caused you to break, chip, or hurt your teeth.

How to Stop Floss From Getting Stuck Between Your Teeth

October 20th, 2016

How to Stop Floss From Getting Stuck Between Your TeethFlossing is one of the more overlooked (and frequently skipped) steps to good dental hygiene. Dentists agree it’s an essential part of dental care. But if it seems like your floss is getting stuck between your teeth more often than your food does, it’s tempting just to brush your teeth and skip flossing. Don’t do it!

The Academy of General Dentistry cites flossing as the most important line of defense in fighting plaque. Flossing removes plaque and food particles that a toothbrush can’t reach, which leads to fresher breath and a reduced risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth for two minutes twice a day as well as flossing (or using another interdental tool) to clean between the teeth once a day. If your floss keeps getting stuck, there are solutions to help you floss with ease.

Reasons why floss may be getting stuck between your teeth  

Dental floss is thin, but it can still get wedged in between teeth. This happens more often when you are experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Your teeth are set too close together.
  • There is plaque build-up between teeth.
  • Tooth enamel or restorative dental work has started to break down and creates uneven surfaces between the teeth.
  • You use an improper flossing technique. Are you making one of these common flossing mistakes?

How to prevent floss from getting stuck

Not all dental floss is created equal. Sometimes, switching types of floss can aid in preventing it from getting stuck in between your teeth.

Unwaxed dental floss, made of nylon fibers, is more likely to get stuck, shred, or break while flossing. Waxed dental floss is sometimes thicker because of the wax coating, but the wax also enables it to glide more smoothly between teeth.

Polytetrafluorethylene floss is another synthetic floss that is stronger than most conventional waxed or unwaxed varieties. It is also slick, which allows it to slide easily through the tight spaces in between your teeth.

Proper flossing technique 

If your dental floss routinely gets stuck between your teeth, you might need to adjust your flossing technique to make flossing easier and more effective.

No matter what type of dental floss you choose, start with a strand about 18 inches long. Wind most of the length around your two middle fingers, leaving just a couple inches between your hands. Pull the floss tight, holding it taut with your index fingers and thumbs.

Use a gentle sawing motion to guide the floss between your teeth, moving it up and down. When the floss reaches the gum line, bend the floss into a C-shape around the tooth, allowing the floss to reach all the way to the base of the tooth.

Still working gently, scrape the floss against the base of the tooth, working on one side of one tooth and then moving to the side of the adjacent tooth.

Continue to use the up and down sawing motion, as you move, and be gentle! Keep the floss taut against the surface of your teeth to remove plaque, and avoid letting the floss dig into the gums, which can cause irritation, redness, and bruising.

After each tooth, unwind a clean section of floss from your fingers. Make sure to get into each crevice between the teeth, including the hard-to-reach teeth in the back of your mouth! When you're finished flossing your entire mouth, remember to rinse well to remove any leftover bits of plaque or debris.

If you're going to make an effort to floss, follow proper flossing technique to prevent your floss from getting stuck in the tight spaces in your mouth. Your teeth will thank you!

If you continue to experience problems flossing, visit Water Tower Dental Care! We can take a look at your teeth to see if there are any serious issues causing flossing to be difficult for you and teach you the proper way to floss in person.

Can You Use Too Much Mouthwash?

October 6th, 2016

Can You Use Too Much Mouthwash?Everyone wants to maintain a healthy mouth with minty fresh breath. But if you use too much mouthwash, you might not get the intended results. Studies have shown that when it comes to mouthwash, there can be too much of a good thing.

How Much is Too Much?

Dentists often recommend mouthwash as part of a healthy oral hygiene routine. A study of 4,000 people conducted by the University of Glasgow in Scotland found that people who used antibacterial mouthwash more than three times a day had an increased risk of developing mouth and throat cancers. Some dentists also feel that certain types of mouthwash are too harsh and should never be used.

The Consequences of Using Too Much Mouthwash

The Glasgow study showed that excessive use of mouthwash – three or more times a day – correlated with an increased risk of certain oral cancers; that doesn't necessarily mean, however, that using too much mouthwash automatically causes cancer.

People who frequently use mouthwash to clean their mouths and teeth may be at a higher risk for some oral cancers because of poor overall oral hygiene. Some may rely on mouthwash to cover up odors from unhealthy habits such as smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol, behaviors that are already damaging to the teeth and gums as well as the overall mouth health.

Others may use mouthwash or an oral rinse as a substitute for routine brushing, flossing, and dental visits. While mouthwash can be an occasional “quick fix” to kill bacteria and freshen breath, everyone – particularly those who smoke or drink alcohol – still needs to follow a routine of daily brushing and flossing.

Mouthwashes that are alcohol-based can be dangerous in any quantity because the alcohol destroys the natural mucous in the mouth that should shield and protect the mouth from cancer-causing irritants. Without the natural mucous barrier, a person’s risk of developing oral cancer rises.

A smoker, for example, is already at an increased risk of certain types of cancer. If that person also regularly uses an alcohol-based mouthwash to rinse after smoking, he is repeatedly rinsing out the protective mucous, eliminating the body’s natural defense mechanism and further increasing the risk of developing cancer.

Another problem with using too much mouthwash is that many of the “bad” bacteria are found beneath the gum line, and a quick rinse with an alcohol-based mouthwash will usually only kill the “good” bacteria in the mouth without affecting the potentially dangerous bacteria below. When the good bacteria are gone, the mouth becomes even more susceptible to infections as the harmful elements are allowed to grow unchecked.

Rinsing with an alcohol-based mouthwash eliminates the protective properties of the mouth’s natural mucous production and can also cause the mouth to feel dry. Dry mouth can lead to more bad breath, causing people to reach for more mouthwash. It’s a cycle that, combined with other poor hygiene habits, can put people at a high risk for oral cancers.

How to Properly Use Mouthwash

Dentist recommendations on the use of mouthwash vary based on the dentist and the patient. Those who choose to use mouthwash as part of their oral hygiene regimen should choose a gentler rinse that does not contain alcohol and follow the instructions on the label.

A general rule of thumb for safe use is to limit the use of mouthwash to one time per day, in conjunction with brushing the teeth and flossing two to three times per day and visiting the dentist one to two times per year for routine oral health exams and screenings for oral cancers.

Worried your mouthwash is doing more harm than good? Make an appointment to visit Water Tower Dental Care today! We can take a look at your mouth and recommend a safe mouthwash based on your needs, whether you have a sensitive mouth or need more aggressive care.


Is Eating After Brushing Your Teeth Bad For You?

August 20th, 2015

Is Eating After Brushing Your Teeth Bad For You?Many people think they should brush their teeth right after they eat. At first glance, this seems to make sense. If you brush your teeth after a meal, you should keep your teeth healthy by getting rid of the food in your mouth, right?
Actually, that’s not always the best option. Like most things in life, deciding when the best time is to brush your teeth isn’t so black and white. It really depends on what you’re eating. In fact, if you brush your teeth immediately after eating acidic food, you can cause irreversible damage to your pearly whites. Let’s take a look at the best times for you to brush your teeth so that you can keep them as healthy as possible and avoid damaging them.

When To Brush Your Teeth After Eating

In most cases, it’s best to brush your teeth after eating a meal rather than before. After you eat food, bad bacteria can form that cause acids to eat away at your enamel. These acids attack your teeth for at least 20 minutes after you eat your food. This is especially true when you eat food that is high in carbohydrates and sugars.
When you brush your teeth with toothpaste right after you eat, you get rid of a lot of the bacteria that could otherwise cause cavities. This is why many dentists suggest brushing your teeth after every meal. Make sure to brush with a correct technique, and don’t brush too hard or with a toothbrush with overly strong bristles.

When To Brush Your Teeth Before Eating

There is an exception to the brushing-your-teeth-after-eating rule. When you drink or eat something that is acidic, like orange, grapefruit or lemon, you shouldn’t brush your teeth right afterwards. The acids that these foods contain weaken your tooth enamel directly after they are in contact your teeth. If you brush your teeth while your enamel is in this weakened state, you can damage your teeth by removing enamel. Mayo Clinic recommends waiting at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after you’ve consumed an acidic food or drink.
Instead of waiting to brush your teeth after you’ve eaten acidic food or drink, you can brush your teeth beforehand. When you brush your teeth before you eat acidic food, you reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. That means less bacteria will be around before you feed your mouth, and consequently the remaining bacteria as well, with sugars, which cause the bacteria to grow. After you’ve brushed your teeth and eaten your acidic food, you should drink a glass of water to get rid of any remaining acids.
While it’s important to eat acidic fruits, it’s best to avoid unhealthy and unnecessary acids that can ruin your teeth, such as those found in soft drinks. If you stick to a healthy diet filled with food that is good for your teeth and practice proper oral hygiene, your teeth (and your dentist) will thank you.

Does Tooth Enamel Naturally Grow Back?

June 4th, 2015

does tooth enamel grow backFrom extreme temperatures to hungry bacteria, enamel protects your teeth from all of the bad stuff out there. This hard mineralized surface on your teeth keeps them looking and feeling great. But unfortunately, over time, your enamel can chip, break off and erode. Unlike most other parts of your body, enamel doesn’t grow back naturally because it doesn’t have any living cells. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Let’s take a look at what causes enamel to wear away and what happens when it’s eroding so that you can do your best to prevent it.

What Causes Your Enamel to Wear Away?

Your enamel’s two biggest enemies are acids and physical contact. Here are some of the most common reasons why it wears away over time.

  • Lack of saliva. Your saliva keeps your enamel strong and dilutes acid. Smoking can reduce your saliva secretion, causing the mineralized surface of your teeth to erode.
  • Soda pop and fruit drinks. Sodas and even some fruit drinks are filled with acids that eat away at your teeth.
  • Acid reflux. If you suffer from acid reflux, your stomach acid may cause enamel erosion.
  • Your medication. Some medications, such as aspirin and asthma medication, can erode your teeth.
  • What you eat. If you have a high sugar and starch diet, you could be hurting your teeth.
  • Teeth grinding. Clenching or grinding your teeth can damage your enamel over time.
  • Bad habits. If you bite your nails, chew tobacco, bite pens, brush your teeth too hard or floss the wrong way, you’re probably wearing down your enamel.
  • Tooth fractures. You can physically break off your enamel by fracturing your tooth.

What Are Some Symptoms of Enamel Erosion?

Once you identify that erosion is happening, you can work to prevent it and treat it. Here are a few common symptoms of enamel erosion:

  • Yellowing teeth.
  • Sensitivity to sugary food and extremely hot or cold food. This sensitivity becomes more painful and severe as erosion gets worse.
  • Regular cracks, chips and jagged edges in your teeth.
  • Dents in your teeth.

What Can You Do To Help Your Teeth?

Dental problems like enamel erosion are normally pretty easy to prevent. If you practice proper hygiene by flossing every day and brushing your teeth twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride, you’re on a path to having healthy teeth. Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride will also help, as fluoride helps to strengthen your enamel. If you’re looking for an easier way to help, drinking water will lubricate the mouth and rinse acidity away, helping to balance PH levels in the mouth. Of course, you should also try to avoid any actions that cause your enamel to wear away, like the ones we listed out earlier in the article.
Just because you’re enamel can’t grow back doesn’t mean it can’t be treated. If you already have trouble with your teeth, you may be interested in our Enamel Remineralization Treatment. This treatment helps to improve the appearance, sensitivity and strength of your teeth with calcium phosphate, sodium fluoride and recaldent. Feel free to contact Chicago’s #1 dentistry, Water Tower Dental Care, to learn more.

Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

May 14th, 2015

Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?We love to see our patients taking care of their teeth with proper brushing habits. While most people brush twice a day, we do get some asking if they can brush their teeth too much and damage their teeth that way. Many people are surprised to hear our answer: yes, you can actually brush too much. But before you start cutting down your time with your toothbrush, keep reading to find out exactly what brushing too much means.

Over-Brushing: What Happens If You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

While brushing regularly is extremely important, you can brush so much that you harm yourself. According to the Wall Street Journal, between 10% and 12% of the population have damaged their teeth or gums due to over brushing. This damage results in sensitive teeth, receding gums and wear around your tooth’s root.
If you brush your teeth excessively more than the suggested two times a day for three minutes each time, your teeth may become sensitive. This sensitivity could be a result of worn down enamel caused by over-brushing. You could also have pushed back your gums and exposed the root area of your teeth, which is sensitive.
The best way to stop this type of damage from getting worse is to cut back on brushing, apply less pressure and use a brush with a softer bristle. Enamel remineralization treatment can also help to make your teeth less sensitive. In the worst case scenario, gum grafts can help fix receding gums by covering up the sensitive teeth roots with soft tissue from the roof of your mouth.

How Much is Too Much?

The best way to avoid all of the problems that come with brushing your teeth too much is to avoid over-brushing. Though we usually recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, it can be beneficial to lightly brush after lunch or sugary snacks, waiting a minimum of 30 minutes. Still, try to avoid brushing more than three times a day for three minutes each time on a regular basis. When you do brush, don’t use hard bristles that can easily damage your teeth and gums, and don’t apply too much pressure. A gentle, circular brushing motion on each of your teeth two times a day should keep your smile clean and glistening.

Why Is Brushing Your Teeth So Important?

Brushing your teeth with toothpaste is essential to your oral health. Every morning and night, you should spend at least two to three minutes brushing your teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. We recommend using an electronic toothbrush because they tend to be more effective at breaking up plaque than traditional brushes. For proper brushing technique, take a look at our article here.
By brushing correctly, you’re breaking down the plaque that eats away at your teeth and causes cavities. But it’s not only your teeth that benefit from brushing. Your gums do too. Plaque also causes a gum disease called gingivitis, which makes your gums sore and swollen and can lead to more serious complications in the future. So if you have a good brushing technique, keep it up!
If you have any more questions about how much you should brush your teeth, what toothbrush you should buy, or brushing technique, don’t be afraid to contact us! Everyone’s smile is different, so we may have some tips that are unique to you and aren’t covered in this article. After all, it’s our job to keep your individual smile healthy and bright!

Five Common Flossing Mistakes

July 24th, 2014

Five Common Flossing MistakesNext to brushing, flossing your teeth is the most important daily practice for great oral health. It helps scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth and remove harmful bacteria from your gums. However, many of us make common mistakes that keep us from doing the best floss job possible. Thankfully, all of these mistakes are easily fixable, and after a short read, you can better your technique and ensure healthy gums and shining teeth.

1. Flossing Too Much or Too Little

To be truly effective, flossing should be done daily. Plaque and tartar can build up quickly, and only flossing every few days will do very little in helping keep your teeth free of harmful particles and bacteria. However, there is such a thing as flossing too much. There’s no need to floss more than once a day. In fact, you can begin to harm your gums if you floss too much. Creating a simple routine that helps you floss only once a day (after you shower in the morning, or before you go to bed at night) and sticking to it will help guarantee you floss just the right amount.

2. Using the Wrong Motion

When flossing, your main objective is to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth. This is essential to keeping plaque and bacteria from moving inside pockets of your gums. In order to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth, you should be using an up and down motion. However, many use a front and back motion. Remember, you are not shining a shoe. Push against the side of the tooth with your floss and scrap down on the top teeth and up on the bottom.

3. Not Cleaning Both Sides of Your Teeth

When scraping the sides of your teeth, make sure that you scrape both sides. It’s not enough to slip the floss between your teeth then snap it back out. You need to consciously push against both sides of your teeth and push the plaque off. Start on one side, then move to the next.

4. Take Your Time

Many people don’t realize how much time they should realistically spend on each tooth. For the best results you should spend a few seconds on each side of a tooth, scraping about ten times. Plaque is hard to remove, and doing a quick once-over will not help much. You need to make sure you really scrape on each side of the tooth until you hear a squeak (that’s the sound of your teeth becoming squeaky clean).

5. Stopping When Your Gums Bleed

Sometimes, especially if you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums can start bleeding when flossing. Gum disease causes this. Your gums are inflamed and will start bleeding when becoming irritated. This is because you have too much plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Rather than stopping, you need to continue flossing. If you avoid the mistakes above and floss daily, the bleeding will subside over time and eventually stop.
Flossing is extremely important for great oral health. By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing great oral hygiene, you will have a bright smile for many years. If you have any questions, or would like to talk to a professional about your oral health, contact Water Tower Dental Care. We are happy to help.

What Is Oil Pulling?

April 3rd, 2014

what is oil pullingSometimes we find home remedies and new tricks to cleaning your teeth incredibly interesting, and potentially helpful. Oil pulling has been around for thousands of years, yet has only sparked the attention of many of our patients just recently. So what exactly is oil pulling and can it help keep your teeth is top health?

Oil pulling originally comes from Indian folk remedies to help clear the mouth of harmful bacteria. Not until the ‘90s did oil pulling start to emerge as a healthy practice in America. A medical doctor, Dr. F. Karach, was the first to introduce oil pulling to his patients in the United States. After finding the remedy a successful tool for lowering harmful bacteria levels, oil pulling began to grow in popularity.
As bacteria build up in your mouth, it creates plaque so it can adhere to your teeth and cause as much harm as it wants. Brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist all aim to remove the plaque that the bacteria are harboring on. Oils such as sesame, sunflower, and coconut oil, when used properly, can help pull these bacteria off of the teeth for a cleaner, healthier mouth.
It’s rather simple to do, just use a tablespoon of oil and swish it in your mouth like mouthwash for 20 minutes. Once the twenty minutes are complete, spit into a trash can. Twenty minutes is the instructed amount of time because it allows enough time for bacteria to be pulled off the teeth and into the oil without allowing them to be reabsorbed into the body.

Does Oil Pulling work?

There is much debate as to the effectiveness of oil pulling and what it actually can help. In a study conducted in 2008, 20 adolescent boys were instructed to either perform an oil pulling procedure, or to use Chlorhexidine to reduce the amount of streptococcus mutans- one of the main bacterias that can cause plaque build up and tooth decay. After two weeks, the boys who used oil pulling had significantly reduced the amount of streptococcus mutans in their mouth, however not as much as the patients using the Chlorhexidine. That does not mean oil pulling does not work, only that it is slightly less effective than the harsh chemicals of Chlorhexidine.
A similar study was conducted to test oil pulling’s effect against gingivitis causing bacteria alongside Chlorhexidine. In this study, both the oil pulling and mouthwash were equally effective against the bacteria.
And last, a final study showed that oil pulling is significantly effective in reducing bacteria that cause halitosis, or more commonly know as bad breath.
While oil pulling may not be recommended by every doctor, we find it to be a more natural way to help clean your teeth and keep your gums healthy.
If you have more questions about this home remedy or many others that are often discussed on this blog, please contact Water Tower Dental, would be happy to help answer any of your questions.

Alternative Ways to Brush Your Teeth

February 27th, 2014

alternative ways to brush your teethEven as a dental team, we can understand that it’s hard to maintain a solid routine of teeth brushing throughout the day. Many people aren’t home when they eat lunch, thus it makes it hard to brush your teeth after. If you stay at your partner’s place, or a relative’s, and you realize you forgot your toothbrush, what do you do? While brushing your teeth is the first line of defense against plaque build up and cavities, sometimes you need to look for alternative ways to clean your teeth.
When it comes to brushing your teeth, the most important aspect of your toothbrush is the abrasive touch that helps loosen and remove plaque and debris. The slightly abrasive surface is perfect for scraping off any particles that shouldn’t be around. If you want to have a good set of clean teeth and you’re missing a toothbrush, you can use several common household items to assist you.

Paper Towel

Use a small square of a paper towel and add a small dab of toothpaste. These days, paper towels are strong enough that they won’t fall apart if they get a little moist. You can easily use if to “buff” your teeth so to speak. This is a simple method that works fairly well, though it can be hard to reach far back in the mouth with a paper towel.


However, a Q-tip has a little better reach and can also be used as an alternative method to brushing your teeth. Again, use a small dab of toothpaste on the tip of the Q-tip. With a Q-tip, we do recommend brushing softer than you normally would. The cotton tip is delicate and can begin to fall apart if used too much.


The most common method to brush without a brush is a simple finger. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly first, you don’t want to be sending more bacteria into your mouth than you need to. Use an index finger to softly loosen plaque and debris from your teeth. This method is simple but only so effective.
After any of these options, rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water. The water is a great way to flush all loose- and some not-so-loose- plaque out of your mouth; try rinsing and spitting several times for maximum effect.
Of course, if you don’t have your toothbrush, you should see if the people you are staying with are willing to share any floss or mouthwash. Both are not considered an alternative to your toothbrush, but if you can use both products on a night without your brush, you’re well on your way to a clean smile.
If none of these products are available, there is a simple method to employ.
Gargling salt-water is a great way to flush bacteria our of your mouth. Salt’s natural anti-bacterial qualities can help eliminate some of the plaque in your mouth. Just use a teaspoon of salt for every 8 ounces of water. This is the least one might be able to do on a night away from their oral hygiene products.
The best method we recommend for long-lasting, bright smiles is to always come prepared. Try to always remember a toothbrush and some floss. Keep an extra brush in your backpack or purse. Travel toothbrushes are available and come in compact packaging for mobility. Brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can go a long way when caring for your teeth, and we recommend staying diligent in your practices.
If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental Care today.

Proper Mouthwash Practices

October 31st, 2013

proper mouthwash practiceMouthwash is an essential key to proper oral hygiene. However, many Americans misuse the product, either by using too much, too little, or often not using it for the right amount of time. To ensure that you’re using the proper mouthwash practices, we would like to offer you this simple guide to using mouthwash.
There are several kinds of mouthwashes to choose from, and knowing what you want your mouthwash to do for you can help you choose which is right. However, all mouthwashes do have a simple, yet main purpose: to help kill bacteria and flush away loose plaque in your mouth. Following the steps below, no matter what kind of mouthwash you use, will ensure that its main objective is completed.

Floss and Brush First
Many confuse this, but the proper way to practice good oral hygiene with mouthwash is by flossing, brushing, and then using your mouthwash. Flossing is your first step to loosen and remove bacteria and plaque from the hard to reach spaces between and under your teeth. Brushing removes that plaque along your gum line and on the top of your teeth. Mouthwash then sanitizes and kills any bacteria that may be left in the mouth that your toothbrush could not reach. Together, this tri-force of oral hygiene will make your mouth shine with cleanliness.
Use The Right Amount
After flossing and brushing, you need to make sure you use the right amount of mouthwash. You don’t want to use too much as you might swallow it, and if you use too little, you won’t feel the effects of the solution. While each mouthwash may recommend varying amounts (check the bottles directions), the standard is 20 mL of the solution. Some bottles have caps with measuring markers to determine the right amount. If you use Dixie cups, you’ll want to fill just less than a third of it with mouthwash.
Dilute If You Must
Some mouthwash companies recommend you dilute your mouthwash with water. Read your product’s directions to determine if you must dilute. If you have trouble using mouthwash, we suggest diluting just slightly. Adding too much water to your mouthwash can hurt your chances of killing all bacteria.
Time Yourself
It’s best to have a watch or clock to keep good time when cleaning your teeth. With flossing and brushing taking over 4 minutes, you might become impatient and cut your mouth-washing short. Unfortunately that can keep the mouthwash from working effectively. We recommend using your mouthwash for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the products’ directions. Most will recommend using mouthwash between that amount of time. We like to play it safe and always use it for a full minute.
Swish Right
When it comes to using the mouthwash, swish it back and forth in your mouth, and make sure to reach all areas from the top gums to lower front teeth. Just before spitting, gargle the solution for a few seconds making sure not to swallow it.
Spit It
Spit your mouthwash out and try to avoid rinsing your mouth with water. If you must, only rinse once. When finished, avoid eating anything for at least 30 minutes. We recommend using mouthwash once a day, preferably at nighttime so you avoid eating afterward.
It’s as simple as that. If you follow these directions, you’ll be well on your way to a great smile and fresh breath. And remember to visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and check ups. Call Water Tower Dental today if you’re looking for expert dentists that can help you revitalize your mouth and give you the smile you deserve.

Want Fresh Breath? Employ the Use of a Tongue Scraper

October 3rd, 2013

tongue scraperWhen it comes to oral hygiene, Water Tower Dental encourages daily brushing and flossing along with biannual dental cleanings and check ups. Clearing harmful bacteria out of the mouth will help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, but what about your breath? Although brushing a flossing can help keep the bacteria that cause bad breath away from your teeth and gums, there's still a chance you'll have bad breath. That's because many of the bacteria can camp out on your tongue. Cue the tongue scraper, a leading tool in keeping harmful bacteria off your tongue.

Ever wake up in the morning and take a good look at your tongue? You may notice a white or murky yellow build up near the throat. That is from the mouth having insufficient amount of water to flush bacteria out of your mouth over the long night. Those tiny ridges and bumps on the surface of the tongue are the perfect breeding ground for volatile sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulfide: the main ingredients to bad breath. While mouthwash or using your toothbrush to scrub at the tongue can help, bacteria can still hide in the spongy gaps of your tongue. A tongue scraper however, is much more efficient.
before after tongue scraperThere are several different designs of a tongue scraper (also referred to as a tongue brush or tongue cleaner), but their objective is still the same. Tongue cleaners- unlike toothbrushes- are designed for the purpose of lifting and trapping the plaque coating and removing it from the tongue.
The user will reach as far back on the tongue as possible, place the scraper down, and pull forward. It is recommended to repeat several times.
A regular user of a tongue brush might not get the assurance of seeing the white or murky yellow plaque be scraped from their tongue. But rest assured that with each scrap, you're keeping a colony of bacteria out of your mouth. In a study by the NCBI, tongue scrapers showed a 75 percent reduction of volatile sulfur compounds compared to a 45 percent reduction with a toothbrush. That means is a tongue scraper can guarantee cleaner, fresher breath.
tongue scraperA tongue scraper will not just help your bad breath though. A tongue scraper helps remove ama from the tongue. Ama is sanskrit meaning anything that is undigested. Specifically for your mouth, undigested food. Old remnants of food, just like plaque, can build up along the tongue. The more build up you have, however, the less your taste buds can detect flavors of food. By using a tongue scraper, you can actually help your tongue taste food better. That's a great plus for anyone who loves a good meal.
As well, tongue scrapers are great for the overall hygiene of your mouth. By removing bacteria and plaque from your tongue you're limiting the amount of bacteria that can spread throughout your entire mouth. This will help with general oral hygiene.
If you're looking for the ultimate fighting tool against bad breath, after following the basic practices of oral hygiene, we recommend investing in a tongue scraper. They're a great way to keep bacteria and unwanted plaque out of the mouth for cleaner, fresher breath.

Getting Brighter, Whiter Teeth

August 14th, 2013

Are you tired of at-home teeth-whitening remedies that promise big results but fail to deliver? Do you want guaranteed brighter, whiter teeth? It may be time to stop trying methods that don't work and start talking to Water Tower Dental Care for a teeth-whitening experience that will bring noticeable changes.

What Causes Discolored Teeth?

teeth whitening before afterThere are two ways your teeth can become discolored.
1. When eating and drinking, your teeth attract small amounts of the food, minerals, and microorganisms onto your teeth. This sticky build up is known as plaque. The more you eat and drink, the more plaque builds up. If plaque isn't taken care of within 24 hours (by brushing and flossing), a much harder layer forms known as tartar. While plaque can be removed with a simple cleaning, tartar is much harder to handle. This is when teeth start to discolor.
Tartar is a perfect medium for further plaque build up, discoloration, and tooth decay.

2. The second way that teeth become discolored is by loss of enamel, the protective layer on your teeth that give them their shiny, white look.
Enamel is like a “force field” for your teeth, it protects from food particles and the destructive impact of chewing and grinding. However, over time enamel can wear and crack, which allows for food particles to stain and further break down the enamel.
If proper dental care and cleaning is avoided, this enamel can break down to the point that the underlying layer, a yellowish material known as dentin is seen. If your teeth are stained from exposed dentin, you have much worse problems than a yellow mouth and will need special attention to repair and clean your teeth.

How To Treat Discolored Teeth

Some tartar build up cannot be removed by just brushing your teeth; a dental appointment is necessary. First you will want to schedule a regular cleaning to help break up and remove the top layers of tartar on your teeth. The more that can be removed, the whiter your teeth will look.
Next, because even a dental cleaning can't remove all of the staining caused by tartar and diet, you will want to schedule a teeth-whitening treatment.
Tower Dental Care uses the Zoom! treatment to brighten teeth up to 8 shades. The process is quite simple: first a special pH-balanced hydrogen peroxide solution is applied to the teeth. Then we use a low-heat light to activate the solution. The light will stimulate the gel and allow it to penetrate inside the tooth's surface. This process is repeated 3 times with 15 minute intervals.

zoom teeth whitening

Of course, if you aren't comfortable with sitting in the dentist's chair too long, Water Tower Dental Care offers a take-home teeth-whitening kit using custom bleaching trays and professional strength whitening gel. Similar to the Zoom! treatment, the teeth whitening gel breaks down the toughest layers of tartar to remove any discoloration on your teeth.
As mentioned before, if the teeth are discolored from the wear down of enamel, you may have bigger problems to deal with. Enamel is essential in protecting your teeth and preventing decay. If you have lost a considerable amount of enamel on any of your teeth, your dentist may recommend porcelain or resin to protect your teeth from further damages.
Whatever shape your teeth are in, if they're discolored and you want a whiter, brighter smile, Water Tower Dental Care can help. Don't hesitate to call us and set up an appointment for a cleaning. That's the best time for us to determine the next steps to making your smile memorable.

Proper Care for Your Gums

July 2nd, 2013

proper care for your gumsWhen people think of dental hygiene, they often only focus on the teeth. That's what most people see, right? Bright, white, straight teeth are the goal. However, most people neglect to consider how important it is to take care of your gums properly. While sore, sensitive gums can occur from lack of brushing and proper care, the gum's biggest threat is Periodontal Disease, or Gum Disease. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 8% of adults and 17% of seniors over the age of 65 have periodontal disease. Without proper care of your gums, Periodontal Disease can cause red and bleeding gums, bad breath, sensitive teeth, pain while chewing, and eventually loose teeth. However, if you take the proper steps to good oral hygiene, which includes care for your gums, you will be able to avoid this terrible disease.

Eat Right

The first step to proper gum care is to eat healthy foods that promote the best possible gums. That starts with avoiding sugars. Sugar isn't just candy for you, it's candy for bacteria as well. Plaque forms when sugar feeds the harmful bacteria that can be roaming in your mouth.
As well, focus on eating foods that are high in Vitamin C and Zinc. Vitamin C is a great defender of your gums as it builds up white blood cells, which have the ability to fight bacteria. Zinc also improves your white blood cell count but also helps restrict the build up of plaque.
There are plenty of foods that help promote healthy gums as well. Check our list of foods that are good for your teeth.
Don't forget to drink plenty of water as well. Especially after eating, water is a great way to flush out the teeth and gums to keep any potential bacteria from forming.

Brush The Right Way

Of course, brushing is a must and should be done at least twice a day. Make sure you're following a correct brushing technique. It's important to note that you don't have to brush your teeth or gums too hard. A soft touch away from the gums, yet still slightly massaging them, is the best technique.
It's best to brush at least twice a day. If possible brush after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you're unable to brush directly after a meal, use water to swish around in your mouth for 30 seconds. This will help clear most food and sugars from your teeth.

Find the Right Toothpaste

There are plenty of toothpastes to choose from, many with special ingredients that focus on different parts of the mouth. Of course there's plenty of teeth whitening and cavity-preventing toothpastes, but there are also ones that focus on fighting gingivitis and gum disease. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that were listed above, think about using toothpaste that specifically focuses on the gums.

Floss Often

Flossing is a great way to keep food and bacteria that forms in between your teeth from traveling down into your gums. Flossing is extremely important for proper gum care. It's recommended to floss once a day. Focus on the tooth more than the gums. Though flossing is a critical element to healthy gums, it's really about removing the plaque and build up between your teeth before it reaches the gums.

Visit Your Dentist

Even if you take proper steps to keeping your gums healthy, there can always be complications that go much further than you think. It's recommended to visit your dentist twice a year to ensure you're on the right track to healthy gums, not just for the present, but for the future as well.
If you have any more questions, contact Water Tower Dental Care and speak to our expert dentists and team to put you on the path to healthy oral hygiene.

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

June 6th, 2013

how to properly brush your teethIt may seem elementary to you, but believe it or not, many people still don't brush their teeth correctly. Either they don't do it for long enough time, concentrate on the wrong areas, brush too hard, or just completely misuse the toothbrush. For our Water Tower Dental Care patients, and anyone else that has discovered our blog, we would like to provide you with the steps to properly brushing your teeth.

Common Brushing Mistakes


First, one of the most common mistakes made when brushing is not taking the amount of time needed to properly clean. To effectively brush your teeth, you should spend at least two minutes. If you need a good measure of time, sing the Beatles 'All My Loving,' or hum the Happy Birthday song eight times in a row. Seems like a long time, but in reality, you need to give your teeth this much focus every time you brush.

Frequency & Strength

Another common mistake is people often brush too many times and too hard. Rather than brushing five times a day, really quickly, with extreme force, take the two minutes to effectively brush your teeth two to three times a day with a soft yet efficient hand. Brushing too often and too hard can expose the root of the tooth and cause irritation. That can then cause pain in the gums. Brushing too hard can wear away at tooth enamel as well. Using an electric toothbrush, like the Pilips Sonicare, can help prevent any enamel wear.

How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

So now you know the common mistakes of brushing, let's focus on how to properly brush.

wet toothbrush apply toothpasteWet the toothbrush and apply a thin strip of toothpaste. Although there is a plethora of toothbrushes to choose from, we don't recommend a specific design of brush, rather it's more important to find a brush that if manual is soft and if electric, ultrasonic. Richard H. Price, DMD and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association has been famously quoted saying, "It's not the toothbrush, it's the brusher."

However, selection in toothpaste can matter. It's important to choose a toothpaste that focuses on any issues you may have. With a wide variety of toothpastes available, you can find one specific to your conditions, perhaps a toothpaste that focuses on cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth, or sensitivity. For better help with toothpaste, make an appointment with Water Tower Dental Care to help decide what is best for you.
brush outer surfaceWhen using a manual soft toothbrush, start by brushing the outer surface of your upper teeth, then your lower. Keep the bristles at a 45-degree angle from your teeth and sweep or roll away from the gum line. Your gums are very sensitive and must be treated with care when brushing. Never brush up, into the gums, always away. When using an electric ultrasonic toothbrush, hold bristles at a 45-degree angle at gum line and slowly move brush across teeth.
brush inner surfaceAfter the outer surface, focus on the inner surface of the teeth, first the upper then lower teeth. Again, brush away from the gums at a 45-degree angle.
brush chewing surfacesClean the chewing surfaces of the teeth. You can be slightly more aggressive with the surface of the teeth, but nothing too hard. Pay extra attention to the hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings or crowns.
brush your tongueOnce you've finished on the teeth, give your tongue a gentle brush to remove any bacteria and to keep your breath fresh longer. We highly recommend using a tongue scraper as well.

You’re All Done!

That's all it takes to keep bright, clean teeth everyday. Make sure to floss before you brush. If you don't floss, we recommend you start.
Remember to replace your toothbrush, or brush head, about every three months or when there are visible signs of wear. If you recently had a cold or any other sickness, you should replace your toothbrush as soon as you're better. Often a toothbrush can collect the germs that cause the sickness and induce another infection.
If you have any more questions about brushing your teeth or proper dental care, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental Care, the number one dentist in Chicago, we would be happy to help with any of your needs.