Top 5 Secrets Your Dentist Will Never Spill

Get tips to improve your oral health and hygiene.

ByABC News via logo
July 10, 2009, 11:39 AM

July 13, 2009— -- Your dentist always tells you to brush and floss your teeth, but there are tips that the doctor could be leaving out that could improve your oral hygiene.

Dr. Nancy Rosen, a leading cosmetic and restorative dentist in New York City, gives you the inside scoop on getting a better smile.

"The funny thing is that everyone sits down in the chair and says, 'Oh, I'm sorry, I just had lunch,' or 'I just had coffee.' But the only smell I ever notice is smoker's breath," Rosen said.

People who smoke try to cover it up with mints our mouthwash, but the smell of smoke is embedded in the mouth and gum tissue.

The bacteria that cause cavities can be spread from mother to baby through indirect contact, meaning if you share utensils or food.

If you have poor dental health and you taste your baby's food and then pop the same spoon into his mouth, you're putting him at risk. No one's going so far as to say, "Don't kiss your baby," but if you've got cavities or gum disease, take special care.

Most people, if they brush for 30 seconds, think it's a long time. Proper oral hygiene requires five minutes of brushing and flossing every day.

This includes two to three minutes of brushing your teeth and one to two minutes of flossing. The average adult brushes 30 seconds total each time and kids do even less.

"They think they're brushing for a long amount of time … you have to be brushing for at least 2 to 3 minutes," Rosen said.

Thirty seconds doesn't even cover a quarter of the mouth and 90 percent of the time people are missing the back molars because they brush what people see the most.

That's why Rosen said she loves the inexpensive electric toothbrushes that you can get at the drugstore.

"Im a big fan of the electric toothbrushes," Rosen said, adding that they clean more than the traditional toothbrush.

Just because your front teeth look good doesn't mean there's no gum disease in your back teeth.