Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush
Brushing is essential for good Oral Hygiene. If you have any pain while brushing or have questions about how to brush properly, please call one of our offices. Or schedule an appointment.
Shine Dental recommends using a soft to a medium toothbrush. Position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes, brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel discomfort.
When cleaning the outside surfaces of your teeth, follow the exact directions while cleaning the back teeth:
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth:
- Hold the brush vertically.
- Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth.
- Don't forget to brush the surrounding gum tissue gently.
Next, you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth using short, gentle strokes. Change the brush's position as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
How to Floss
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is another basic routine for having good oral hygiene. It's also a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is crucial to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you but remember it takes time and practice.
Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 18" long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the other hand's middle finger.
To clean the upper teeth:
- Hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand.
- Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion.
- Please do not force the floss or try to snap it into place.
- Bring the floss to the gumline, 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 on the side of one tooth.
- Remember, two tooth surfaces need to be cleaned in each space.
- Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth.
- Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth.
- As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a new section.
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.
When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. 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.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is clean. If the mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and become more severe. If your teeth are susceptible, consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse, especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market that it can become confusing, and choosing between them can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic and "high-tech" electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for most patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Rotadent and Interplak.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle. This is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are misused, you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your doctor.
Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six. Tartar control toothpaste will reduce tartar above the gum line. Still, 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 bring the early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum. Still, a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is essential to your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.