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Oral Care Tips from Dr. Sands

Oral Care Tips from Dr. Sands, DDS

Dr. Jamie Sands, DDS offers tips for good oral health.

The Power of Good Oral Care Brushing Harder Isn't Better

Proper oral care includes three important steps: flossing, brushing, and rinsing. When you brush, don’t rush! Take enough time to do a thorough job – up to 2 minutes each time, twice daily and change your toothbrush  every three months to get the best at-home care. And don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria that will help give you fresher breath.

Remember to Rinse

I recommend my patients use a fluoridated mouth rinse every time they rinse. But, not all mouth rinses  are created equal! Look for a mouthwash that contains fluoride, because fluoride is proven to strengthen enamel  and fight cavities. This will help you feel more confident in the health of your mouth going into your next dental visit!

Brushing Harder Isn’t Better

Don't brush too hard. This can lead to gum recession.

Make Simple Changes Today For a Healthier Future

When it comes to healthful aging, a preventive approach is the key to success. Neglecting your dental health as you age can have serious consequences, including premature aging of the smile (gum recession and/or tooth discoloration) and the need for extensive and expensive corrective procedures. The good news is that some simple preventive habits started earlier in life may help avoid these consequences and ensure that your smile is healthy well into advanced age. See your dentist twice each year and make time for a complete oral health care routine every day.

What’s that smell?

Oftentimes, my patients complain to me about bad breath . To help rid yourself of this embarrassing problem, make sure to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day to remove odor-causing bacteria from the mouth, tongue and teeth. Anti-bacterial rinses are also effective at treating bad breath because they kill odor-causing bacteria. To keep your breath fresh between brushings try:
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating.
  • Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow, which naturally cleanses teeth.
  • Snacking on celery, carrots or apples, which can loosen food debris while chewing.
  • Eating a nutritious diet, as vitamin deficiency can contribute to bad breath.
  • Using an anti-cavity rinse with fluoride such as Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse to fight bad breath and cavities, plus strengthen enamel

Don’t Leave Your Mouth Sticky


Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. Try to avoid eating too much sugar, as this is the leading cause of tooth decay. Avoid drinking soda (both diet and regular) and eating hard or sticky candy throughout the day.

Read questions from patients and answers from Dr. Sands on why to incorporate a dental rinse into your oral care routine.


Q: Do you have suggestions for people with constant bad breath , even if they brush their teeth?

A: Bad breath can be caused by a number of things from the foods you eat, to dry mouth and/or smoking. One way to remedy the situation is to make sure you are brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day to remove odor-causing bacteria from the mouth, tongue and teeth. Mouth rinses are also effective at treating bad breath because they can kill bad breath germs. To keep your breath fresh between
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating.
  • Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow, which naturally cleanses teeth.
  • Snacking on celery, carrots or apples, which can loosen food debris while chewing.
  • Eating a nutritious diet, as vitamin deficiency can contribute to bad breath.
  • Using an anti-bacterial rinse with fluoride to kill bad breath germs and fight cavities. For people who prefer a non-alcoholic rinse but want the power of fluoride, Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse  is a great option.
Q: What is the proper way to rinse and which type should I use?

A: Choose a mouth rinse that is based on your individual needs. For example, if you often have cavities, use a fluoride rinse. I recommend my patients use Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse  as it contains fluoride to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities, without alcohol. The proper way to use Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse is as follows, but make sure to consult your dentist about the best mouth rinse to meet the needs of your mouth:
  • Adults and children 6 years and older should use mouth rinse twice daily after brushing your teeth with toothpaste.
  • Vigorously swish (10mL) 2 teaspoonfuls of rinse between your teeth for 1 minute and then spit out.
  • Do not swallow the rinse.
  • It is recommended that if using fluoridated mouth rinses, you do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing.
Q: What are the pros of using mouth rinse?

A: The pros are:
  • Rinsing can improve the health of your teeth.
  • If the mouth rinse contains fluoride, like Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse, than it can help re-build enamel and fight cavities.
  • Using a mouth rinse can kill bad breath germs and therefore freshen your breath.
Q: What are the benefits of using a fluoridated rinse?

A: Fluoride is proven to strengthen enamel and fight cavities, which is why I recommend my patients rinse with a fluoridated mouth rinse like Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse.

Q: How do I choose the right rinse?

A: Rinses do more than just freshen your breath. For example, fluoride mouth rinses can help reduce and prevent tooth decay . I recommend my patients use Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse, which contains fluoride and strengthens teeth. Plus, for people who prefer a non-alcoholic rinse but want the power of fluoride, Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse is a great option. If you’re unsure, ask your dentist or hygienist to recommend the type of rinse that would be best for you.

Q: Why do my gums bleed when I brush or rinse?

A: Many times, bleeding gums can be a warning sign for gingivitis or other forms of gum disease . If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more severe gum issues. Removing plaque from in between teeth and along the gum line is one way to reduce the “pink in the sink.” Flossing daily is one way to ensure you remove plaque in between teeth and along the gum line (in between your teeth). Also, it’s always good to talk to your dentist for advice about your gums.

Q: Why do we need to use rinse?

A: A mouth rinse is an oral hygiene solution that is meant to be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing. It should be the last step in your oral hygiene routine in the morning and at night after brushing and flossing. Rinse is beneficial because it can help to kill bad breath germs and freshen breath. Additionally, rinse is a powerful means of protecting teeth from decay, removing food particles lodged toward the back of the throat. Rinses that contain fluoride like Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse can also help reduce cavities and strengthen your teeth.

Q: Why can’t you eat or drink anything until 30 minutes after rinsing with a fluoride rinse?

A: If you eat or drink directly after rinsing with a fluoride rinse, you could prevent the fluoride from coating your teeth properly. Therefore, it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes before eating and drinking to get the full benefits.

Q: What causes bad breath?

A: Bad breath can be caused by a number of things from the foods you eat, to dry mouth and/or smoking. Make sure you are brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day to help remove odor-causing bacteria from the mouth, tongue and teeth. Mouth rinses are also effective at treating bad breath because they can kill bad breath germs. To keep your breath fresh between brushings try:
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating.
  • Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow, which naturally cleanses teeth.
  • Snacking on celery, carrots or apples, which can loosen food debris while chewing.
  • Eating a nutritious diet, as vitamin deficiency can contribute to bad breath.
  • Using an anti-cavity rinse with fluoride such as Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse to fight bad breath and cavities, plus strengthen enamel, without alcohol.  
Q: Why do bacteria get into your mouth at night, causing morning breath when you wake up?

A: There are a number of factors that can contribute to the increase in night time oral bacteria.  Bacteria are constantly forming in the mouth both day and night.  However, normal daytime activities such as eating, drinking and talking reduce accumulation of bacteria in the mouth whereas during the night the mouth is closed with minimal activity (e.g. closed during sleep).  Furthermore, at night, the salivary flow rate decreases and as a result the concentration of oral bacteria in the mouth is significantly higher since it is not washed away as rapidly as during the day. The mouth is closed creating a warm moist environment, similar to an incubator, which acts as a favorable environment for continual bacterial growth. This can lead to a higher concentration of bacteria which gives the “morning mouth” feel. To keep your breath fresh in between brushing try using an anti-cavity rinse with fluoride such as Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse to fight bad breath and cavities, plus strengthen enamel, without alcohol. To combat morning breath and fight bacteria that form while you sleep, use a rinse before you go to bed and when you wake up.

Q: How can I protect my teeth from enamel loss?

A: Enamel loss is irreversible and can lead to larger issues such as dental cavities. But, enamel loss can be prevented. As with most medical issues, primary prevention is the best method.  Limiting ingestion of sodas can help your dental health.  But if and when you do drink acidic beverages, using a straw can help reduce acid exposure. Lastly, when you use a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash, you’re strengthening your tooth enamel, which helps to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride also can help repair teeth that have suffered minor tooth decalcification (first step in the breakdown of the tooth surface). For people who want a fluoridated mouthwash but without the burn of alcohol, Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse is a great option.

Q: How does fluoride prevent cavities?

A: Fluoride inhibits loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages remineralization (strengthening areas of the tooth that are weakened). Fluoride also affects bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks that can break down tooth enamel. Risk for tooth decay is reduced when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.

Q: Is fluoride safe?

A: Yes! Using fluoride for the prevention and control of decay is proven to be both safe and effective when using levels recommended on Crest Pro-Health toothpastes  and rinses. Speak with your dentist if you are concerned whether or not you are receiving enough fluoride daily.

Q: How often should I use mouth rinse?

A: Adults should rinse twice daily after flossing and brushing. I recommend my patients use a fluoride mouth rinse, like Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse, because it fights cavities and strengthens enamel for a healthier mouth. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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