Dental Health & Oral Hygiene

Practicing excellent oral hygiene is the key to maintaining good overall health – for patients of all ages! Parents must introduce proper oral care early in a child’s life, as early as infancy. Parents are responsible for ensuring their children brush and floss every day, and we encourage them to lead by example.

In recent years, bacterial inflammation associated with gum disease has been linked to chronic health problems, such as stroke, coronary artery disease and premature, low birth-weight babies. Yet there are a number of things you can do to help protect your teeth and your overall health. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year allows us to thoroughly clean your teeth, and dental exams give us the ability to evaluate any potential problems (i.e. cavities, gingivitis, etc.) before they become more serious. We are also able to recognize whether a patient is getting proper nutrition, maintaining a proper oral hygiene regimen and whether there are any growth or development problems.

To ensure you and your family are practicing good oral hygiene at home, be sure to:

  • Brush at least three times a day using a non-fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
  • Stop smoking
  • Discontinue the use of smokeless tobacco products

By following these steps, you can help prevent common problems, such as cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, oral cancer, as well as prohibit the development of more serious diseases that affect your overall health, including heart disease and diabetes.

When to Visit the Dentist

Regular visits are important because they allow dentists to find problems early when treatments are often more affordable and simpler. Dentists also can help patients prevent problems. There are multiple reasons to see a dentist.

  • Pregnancy
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bleeding gums and/or sensitive gums
  • Serious medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes
  • Medical treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone replacement therapy

Caring for Braces: Good Oral Hygiene Delivers a Lifetime of Beautiful Smiles

If you wear braces, caring for your mouth is vital to loving your smile when they come off. Patients with braces who fail to brush and floss daily run the risk of prolonging treatment and developing unhealthy teeth. Dr. Stephen L. Chan, a dentist in La Mesa, helps patients with and without oral devices care for their teeth.

4 Tips for Keeping Clean With Braces

These four steps can help you maintain good oral hygiene while wearing appliances.

  • Use an interdental brush. Begin cleaning your mouth with an interdental brush before using a regular toothbrush to gently remove debris underneath and around braces and wires.
  • Clean your teeth after every meal, ideally four times a day. It is fine to use non-fluoride toothpaste, as fluoride can irritate gums. Brush for at least two minutes.
  • Floss daily. Floss threaders can simplify cleaning of dental appliances.
  • Finish with a rinse of water and a final rinse with an antiseptic. Rinses with tea tree are natural, effective oral treatments.

An experienced, reliable pediatric dentist who practices holistic dentistry, such as Dr. Stephen L. Chan, helps children learn good oral hygiene habits.

These are some of the signs you should visit a dentist, but any oral problem is a signal to see a dentist in La Mesa.

Contact Us Today

Good oral hygiene gives you a lifetime of beautiful smiles and protects your general health. If you wear braces, a clean mouth is especially important for successful treatment. Dr. Stephen L. Chan and his staff at Smilehaven Dental Center are ready to help you develop a daily oral care routine. Contact us at 619-464-2801,, or use our convenient online appointment request form.