Protecting Your Smile From Home

Are you staying home and avoiding crowds to help slow the spread of COVID-19? We’re doing to same, limiting our treatments to emergency situations. But even though you’re stuck at home, that’s no excuse to neglect your oral health! Your Des Moines, IA, dentist offers a few tips for safeguarding teeth and gums against cavities and gum disease.

The Causes of Cavities and Gum Disease

Often, a cavity or a case of gingivitis or gum disease develops when plaque buildup weakens and erodes outer tooth structure or inflames the gums. Plaque forms when bacteria break down particles of food, particularly sugar or starch particles. When we eat foods like these and don’t brush and floss our teeth properly, then this could lead to plaque. Over time, this hardens in tartar, and only a dental cleaning can remove the buildup from your smile. Which means taking steps to reduce or prevent the buildup is crucial for your oral health!

Brushing and Flossing Your Smile

Each day when you wake up, we suggest brushing your teeth for two minutes. Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, be sure to use soft bristles to avoid wearing down enamel. Make sure your toothpaste also contains fluoride, as this helps strengthen outer layers of tooth enamel. Before bed, you should brush again and also floss. When we floss, we need to move the tape up and down each side of every tooth, moving briefly under the gum line in a “c” motion to dislodge and remove trapped particles. These actions help reduce the severity of buildup until you can see our team for a cleaning again.

Better Snack Options

When we eat healthier, we help deprive harmful oral bacteria of a meal, while also improving your overall health too! You should try to avoid candies, sweets, chocolates, chips, and other items high in sugar and starch. We also suggest cutting back on beverages with lots of sugars and acids, like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juice. Water is healthy, contains no sugars or acids, and helps cleanse your smile when you drink it! For healthy snack options, try adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. You can also pick up sugar-free gum, low-fat yogurt, nuts, and cheeses. If you have any questions about safeguarding your oral health, then contact our team today. We want to help you and your family enjoy optimal oral health during your time inside!


We want to make sure you have the knowledge necessary to protect your teeth and gums. To learn more about safeguarding smiles at home, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in downtown Des Moines, IA, at (515) 244-9565.