The importance of oral hygiene
Gum disease (or periodontal disease) affects three out of four adults during their lifetime, and leads to more teeth loss than even cavities. The most effective way to prevent these issues is by practicing proper oral hygiene every single day. Daily brushing and flossing remove potentially dangerous plaque buildup and can keep your teeth healthy and stunning!
How to brush your teeth
Position a soft toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Then, gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow these same instructions to clean the inside of the back teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold your brush vertically and make several back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush surrounding gum tissue!
Lastly, clean the biting surfaces of your teeth using short, gentle strokes. After you are done, use a fluoride rinse and swish vigorously to remove any plaque you may have loosened during the brushing process.
How to floss your teeth
Flossing is an effective method to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. Start with a piece of floss that is about 18” long. Clean your upper teeth by holding the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert it between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Bring the floss to the gumline and then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down the side of one tooth. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth in this way.
To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefingers of both hands. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop. If you have any questions or experience severe pain or bleeding, contact your local dentist’s office immediately.
How to care for sensitive teeth
Some dental treatments may temporarily increase your teeth’s sensitivity to heat and cold. Continue to keep your mouth clean and the sensitivity should pass. If your teeth are especially sensitive or the symptoms do not go away, consult with your dentist. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
How to choose oral hygiene products
Knowing which products to choose can be difficult considering how many options there are available. Automatic or “high-tech” electric toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Sonicare and Oral-B.
Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will help rinse the mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. If you wish to use one of these devices, continue to brush and floss in conjunction with them.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, have been shown to reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help control early gum disease. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Professional dental cleaning
A professional dental cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Don’t delay from scheduling and attending your regular dental visits and screenings!