At University Dental Associates we care about your smile. One of the best ways to ensure a healthy smile, along with regular check ups,  is brushing and flossing.


Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:

  • In the morning after breakfast
  • After lunch or right after school
  • After dinner
  • At bedtime

As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.


For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.

Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting from the interaction between sugars in the everyday diet and bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth. Sugar creates a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the minerals in teeth, forming cavities. Dentists remove the decay and fill each cavity using a variety of fillings materials to restore the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may necessitate more extensive treatment, such as a root canal. Preventive services are critical for early detection of decay and for avoiding costly dental treatment; therefore, preventive services are strongly stressed in our practice along with practicing good dental hygiene on a daily basis.


The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult to keep clean. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that eighty-eight percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars, and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.


Research and data proves fluoride helps teeth resist decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride, periodic applications of fluoride, and good daily hygiene practices ensure significantly lower cavity rates. For this reason, children drinking nonfluorinated water may be advised to take a fluoride supplement. For our cavity-prone adults, daily topical applications of fluoride at home may also be recommended.

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1340 University Ave, Sewanee, TN