Dental FAQs

At Peabody Dental Care, we believe patient education is an essential aspect of oral healthcare. Here, we review some of the most frequently asked questions we hear at our practice.

How do I use dental floss?

Even though flossing is part of a healthy daily oral regimen, many patients are not doing it correctly. You should tear off between 18 to 24 inches of floss and wind the majority of it around your two middle fingers. Only about one to two inches of floss should be used to actually floss your teeth.

As you hold the floss taut, you should gently slide the floss up and down between two teeth. The floss should rub against each side of each tooth. However, be careful not to use the floss on your gums since this can cause irritation. When you get to your gums, curve the floss up into a C-shape. You should repeat these steps as you clean in between all teeth. Be sure to use a clean piece of floss for every section.

How often should I have a dental checkup?

For the majority of patients, it is recommended that they receive dental check-ups at least twice a year. For patients with gingivitis or gum disease, they need more frequent check-ups. Your dentist will determine the appropriate schedule based on your condition.

How often should I have x-rays taken?

Your dentist will determine how often you need x-rays. The dentist typically uses the diagnostic tools for new patients to get a benchmark of their oral health and to assess the state of their health. Patients with gum disease or more extensive dental problems might need x-rays more frequently. However, healthy patients who regularly visit their dentist might only need x-rays every couple of years.

What is a tongue scraper?

A tongue scraper is a tool that is used to scrape away and remove built-up bacteria and debris to leave the mouth fresher and cleaner. The scraper can also help your breath smell better. Scrapers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can be purchased as a stand-alone product or combined with a toothbrush.

To use it, simply start at the back of your tongue and work your way to the front, gently scraping the surface as you go. You should replace your scraper frequently to reduce possible contamination.

What are cavities?

Cavities are also known as tooth decay and are one of the most common dental problems for people of all ages. They occur when the surface of the tooth is permanently damaged. Bacteria, poor oral hygiene habits, and a diet with too much sugar and starches can cause decay. Teeth with cavities can have holes, pits, and appear discolored. If cavities aren’t treated, they can become larger and cause more damage to the tooth.

What causes tooth decay?

Several factors lead to tooth decay, with one of the most common being consuming too many sugary and sticky foods and drinks. The sugars can cause an overproduction of acids that lead to decay. Not brushing and flossing regularly is another reason for decay since plaque and food debris aren’t being removed frequently enough. Too much plaque causes harmful bacteria to gather on the teeth and damage the structure. Certain medical conditions and medications can also cause tooth decay.

What is the best kind of toothbrush?

Since patients vary, everybody has different needs, so it’s best to speak to your dentist about the type of toothbrush that’s most beneficial to meet your needs. However, soft-bristled brushes are always recommended. In addition, electric toothbrushes are known to remove more debris, bacteria, and plaque. Talk to your doctor for guidance on choosing the right toothbrush and brand.

Contact Us to Learn More

Still have questions? Our Santa Cruz, CA, team is always available to address any concerns. To learn more about the services we offer, schedule an appointment at Peabody Dental Care.

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From Dr. Peabody

I love being a dentist, and for 33 years I have tremendously enjoyed providing dental care for you as well as the relationships we’ve formed.  I have decided to retire from the private practice of dentistry so that I can spend more time with my family.

I have interviewed several quality dentists, and I am delighted that I found an outstanding dentist that I know will fit my current patients and the community of Santa Cruz.

With sincere confidence, I am happy to introduce Dr. Martha Catalina Payne. (Dr. Cat)

Please visit her website:
to learn more about her and schedule your next appointment with her.

I will work closely with Dr. Cat in this transition so she has a thorough understanding of each patient’s dental needs.

I am confident that you will enjoy Dr. Cat as much as I have enjoyed getting to know her. The team is also quite impressed with her, and you will continue to see them at your reserved dental care visits.

Dr. Guy Peabody DDS