Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from 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, which sticks to your teeth, especially at the gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. Thorough daily brushing and flossing can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush
When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.The Dentistry at Winbury team recommends using a soft tooth brush. 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 and inside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure to thoroughly clean the area where the tooth meets the gum..
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. Dont forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your back teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush 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.
Our office also highly recommends the use of electric toothbrushes. These brushes are often more effective at plaque removal and can also cause less wear to the teeth and gums. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes such as the Oral B/Braun and the Sonicare. Please ask a member of our team to discuss these brushes and proper usage at your next visit!
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office at 440-543-5020.
How to Floss
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important 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 may be easier) about 18 long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle or index finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle or index finger of the other hand.
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 to get through the contact where the teeth meet. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to 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 until you feel light resistance. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Floss the adjacent tooth before removing the floss from that area. 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 fresh section. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
You may also choose to utilize one of the floss aids or pics (such as the Reach flosser) that are available on the market. These devices work well and make it easier to floss for some patients and children. Remember, parents should brush and floss for their children until age five or six or until they are able to effectively do it themselves.
When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. If you have not been a regular floss user, 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, usually within 7 to 10 days. If your gums continue to bleed after that time, please call our office as this is not normal and may be an indication of gingivitis or periodontal disease.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should resolve, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean, sensitivity can remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor or hygienist. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth
There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic or electronic toothbrushes are safe and very effective for the majority of the patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You must brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator if you choose to use one.
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 help to clean between your teeth. These are available in many sizes and work very well in areas where larger spaces exist.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can 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 gumline 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 early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing. Our office also recommends daily use of Listerine mouthwash which will further reduce the bacteria present. You must keep the Listerine in your mouth for thirty seconds to allow the product to work effectively.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an essential part of your program to prevent gum disease. At your professional cleaning, we will also update your xrays, thoroughly examine your teeth and gums, and perform a comprehensive oral cancer screening.
Keep your teeth for your lifetime, your health depends on it!