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, using proxabrushes, soft picks and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle, this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (proxabrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your doctor.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing, flossing and using proxabrushes and soft picks you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease. It has been proven that using waterpik as an adjunct to regular brushing and proxabrush, soft picks and flossing, has a high impact in improving oral hygiene as well.
How to Brush Teeth
Dr. Daneshvar recommends using a soft tooth brush. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use adequate pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort and not so much to leave plaques on teeth surfaces. Moreover, making sure while brushing to go below the gum-line for the lower teeth and above the gum-line for the upper teeth is essential to avoid leaving plaques behind at the gum-line.
When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of 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 gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your 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, waterpiks are great help to achieve this goal.
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
How to Floss
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing, proxabrushes and soft picks are very effective to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique and making sure you are using the right size proxabrush to avoid harming your gums. 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 middle finger of the other hand.
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. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to place. Bring the floss to the gum line 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 there are two tooth surfaces that 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 fresh 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 or it could be due to gums infection and inflammation. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop. However, if the bleeding doesn’t resolve please reach out to us for an assessment.
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 kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your dentist or periodontist. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste made especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
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. However, the best way is letting us to try different tools in different sites of your dentition to see which one is the best for each site.
Automatic and “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices/waterpik) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You still need to brush, floss and use proxabrushes in conjunction with the irrigator.
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 gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Daily brushing, flossing and using broxabrushes and soft-picks will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional dental cleaning will remove calculus in places that you cannot access with dental tools that you buy from the store. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease or stop its progression and addressing it. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.