At Harmony Dental, Dr. da Costa and his friendly staff understand that patients have a lot of questions about how to maintain and improve their oral health. Because you might not always have the time or remember to ask during your next appointment, we present to you a list of commonly asked questions.

Q. I keep getting cavities even though I brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily. What can I do differently?

If you follow all of the steps required for practicing quality oral hygiene- brushing twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash- and still get frequent cavities, you need to reexamine your hygiene techniques and go over your diet with Dr. da Costa. Your cavity concerns could be related to a high acid content in your saliva. A variety of foods and drink, including diet colas, sport drinks, and exercise bars, contain high level of sugar and acid, both of which contribute to tooth decay.

Q. How long does a child need a parent’s help to brush their teeth?

It takes several years after a child’s baby teeth begin to form before they develop the motor skills needed to adequately brush their teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommend that parents continue to brush their child’s teeth until he or she can successfully write his own name or tie her own shoes. In general terms, parents should continue to brush or help to brush their child’s teeth until between the ages of six to eight.

Q. Does it matter what type of dental floss I use?

Some debate exists in the dental community about whether waxed or unwaxed floss better cleans a patient’s teeth. In the end, what really matters is that you feel comfortable with the type of floss you choose to use. Trying to recommend a patient use a floss they’re uncomfortable with may cause them to floss less frequently or less efficiently than before. So stick with whatever type you feel most comfortable with using.

Q. What causes teeth to become yellowed or stained?

Stains to your teeth occur when dark foods (such as berries and beats) and drinks (like tea and cola) or the chemicals in cigarette smoke begin to stick to the plaque and tartar that sits on the surface of a tooth or penetrates into the enamel that has been weakened by decay. Additionally, tooth enamel begins to thin with age, exposing the yellowish in color dentin that lies underneath.

Q. I had a cavity filled two weeks ago and it’s still sensitive to hot and cold. How long should this last?

To experience some sensitivity after a deep filling isn’t at all uncommon, and could last between eight and 12 weeks. What patients need to keep an eye on is whether a change occurs and the pain begins to worsen. This could indicate a nerve damage has occurred to the tooth, which could become infected. This scenario would require a root canal in order to save the tooth. Patients should carefully monitor their symptoms, and call Dr. da Costa if a change occurs.