Dental Health and Oral Hygiene 101

Incredible Smiles

Looking after your teeth is vital for your health. This is why we always recommend certain toothpaste or tell you to floss your teeth. Of course, not every issue can be avoided which is why you should have contact details for your local emergency dentist in Sioux Falls, SD, but you can prevent the biggest issues in oral health just by doing the basics.

“When our patients tell us they floss, we can always tell whether they’re telling the truth.”

How? The health of their tissue tells us. When a guest comes into Incredible Smiles for a dental cleaning, we assess the health of his or her gum tissue. This dental hygiene assessment is scored much like a report card. Three indicators that oral health might be compromised are: tissue recession, increasing pocket depths and bleeding gums.

Gum Recession

Patients need to understand that tissue follows bone. Where there is gum recession, there was bone loss first. When the forces of a bite are incorrect, the bone is sacrificed. The bone resorbs, and the tissue recedes. Many patients are told that gum recession is caused by poor brushing technique, but this is not true. Both gum and tissue recession should be measured and documented at each cleaning appointment to assure that tissue levels are maintaining a healthy position. If the recession gets worse over time, you may need to have a gum treatment to try and fix the issue.

Pocket Depths

At every cleaning interval (three, four or six months), your hygienist should measure six pocket depths per tooth. We explain to our patients that measurements of 1, 2 or 3 mm are healthy. Fours, fives and sixes are not as healthy, and 6 mm pocket is more difficult to shrink to a healthy 3 than a 4 or 5 mm pocket. A periodontal pocket is space that has developed between the tooth and the tissue. This space, or pulling away of the tissue, is a response to bacteria building up in and around the tissue. Pockets typically develop between the teeth. Poor dental hygiene; not flossing (or using a WaterPik) are common reasons for pocket depth development. Unhealthy pockets are most commonly treated by seeing a hygienist and regular flossing and WaterPik use.


Bleeding is a sign of infection. Healthy tissue does not bleed. It is important to note the number of bleeding sites in the mouth. A bleeding 4 mm pocket is less healthy than one that is not bleeding. Resolving bleeding tissue is important for overall systemic health. Infection in the mouth is infection in the body. Watch this video with Dr. Lori Kemmet, to learn more about bleeding gum tissue:

To maintain healthy tissue, and good dental hygiene, we recommend brushing twice daily as well as daily flossing and WaterPik use.

Our favorite oral care products are: the WaterPik, the Sonicare toothbrush and Dr. Tung’s floss.

We also recommend seeing your dental hygienist at least twice a year.

WaterPikSonicare ToothbrushesDr. Tung's Floss

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