Oral Health

Our caring dentists and team at Smiles by Design Dental Care are committed to helping you to achieve and maintain excellent oral health. When you visit our practice, we will carefully examine your mouth and make recommendations to help you improve your oral health.  We will also provide you with information and instructions on a number of oral health topics, including the proper ways to brush and floss, how to alleviate bad breath, the use of fluoride, and the importance of maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet. We welcome you to call us at 952-432-9155 for more information about how you can maintain good dental hygiene and oral health in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Fred Hermanson and Dr. Anne Yahiro.

Brushing Your Teeth

We recommend that you brush at least twice a day. Ideally, however, you should brush after each meal. Keeping a toothbrush and toothpaste in your purse, workbag, or backpack is a good idea if you are frequently on the go. It is especially important to brush before going to bed.

We also recommend that you:

  • Use a fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Use an ADA-recommended toothbrush. If possible, use an electric toothbrush, which is more effective at controlling plaque than manual brushes. If you are using a manual brush, use a soft-bristled brush with a small head.
  • Start brushing from a specific location. You should brush for 2-4 minutes.
  • Use a good technique. Our dentists and hygienist will be happy to demonstrate proper brushing technique for you.

Flossing Your Teeth

Flossing cleans the surfaces of your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach, and it is effective at breaking off plaque and bacteria that accumulate below the gumline. When you floss, we recommend that you:

  • Use a piece of dental floss that is about two feet long.
  • Gently guide the floss as it moves along each side of the tooth.
  • Make sure you are not cutting into your gums.
  • Make sure to floss between all of your teeth. Our hygienist will be happy to demonstrate the proper technique for flossing.

Improving Bad Breath

If you are concerned about bad breath, please contact Smiles by Design Dental Care.  Our dentists and team will help you identify the cause of your bad breath and recommend a course of action to get rid of it. If we cannot locate the cause or find that the source of your bad breath is medical, we will recommend that you visit your doctor.

The most common causes of bad breath include:

  • Your tongue (when bacteria grows between the papilla)
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Extraction sites during healing
  • Dentures and other oral appliances (when improperly cleaned)
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Medical problems (sore throat, tonsillitis, foods, air passage infection, etc.)

Mouthwashes and mints do not treat the problem; instead, they only mask it for a short period of time. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol may actually make the problem worse.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that works to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. Fluoride is found in many foods, and it is often part of the water sources in cities. Dental and medical professionals have noted that children who are born and raised in areas with fluoride in their drinking water have fewer cavities than children in areas without fluoridated water. It has also been discovered that when fluoride is absorbed by the body as teeth are developing (during pregnancy up through early childhood), it integrates with the structure of tooth enamel to make teeth stronger.


Your diet has a powerful impact on your oral health. We recommend that you limit or avoid consuming sugar, as it is the main cause of dental decay.

Sipping a soda or snacking on sugary foods or treats over a long period of time creates a constant supply of sugar for the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Be aware that there are many sources of sugar, and some are more obvious than others. Many foods break down into sugar, including potatoes, bread, and pasta. Limiting the consumption of both sugar and foods that turn into sugar will increase your overall health and decrease your risk of developing cavities.

We recommend that you brush after meals, and that you rinse with mouthwashes that include fluoride. Chewing sugarless gum is also helpful. When you eat a food that will turn into sugar, make sure to drink plenty of water during your meal. This will help prevent the sugar from sticking to your teeth.

Our dentists and team are happy to provide you with any additional information about how you can improve your oral health by including brushing and flossing habits, alleviating bad breath, receiving fluoride treatments, and maintaining a balanced diet. Please contact our office today to learn more.