The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. At some time in their life, three out of four adults experience gum disease. Proper daily tooth brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. Both tooth decay and periodontal disease are caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that constantly forms and sticks on your teeth at the gum line. Proper daily brushing and flossing can remove these germs and help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Here are several ways in which you can fight tooth decay simply and affordably.
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day.
- Professional dental cleanings and checkups should be done twice a year.
- Cut down on acidic and sugary foods.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and rinse, which make teeth more resistant to cavities.
- Additional cleaning supplements can be recommended by your dentist.
The Proper Way to Brush
Call our office at Irondequoit Family Dentistry Phone Number (585) 266-4860 if you have any pain while brushing or have questions about proper brushing technique.
Dr. Park recommends using a soft bristle tooth brush for two minutes, two times a day.
- 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 any discomfort.
- 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, 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.
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is the best way to remove plaque and using the proper flossing technique is very important. These instructions will help you floss correctly.
- 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. 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 can be sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids. If your mouth is kept clean, this sensitivity should not last long. If your mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain. Your doctor may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse especially made for sensitive teeth, if your teeth are especially sensitive.
The Best Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market, it can be confusing. And, choosing the right products can be difficult. We can help tailor your home care routine to best fit your needs.
Electric toothbrushes are clinically proven to be safe and effective for the majority of our patients. We see excellent results with both Oral B and Burst Sonic brushes. Ask your hygienist which brush would work best for your needs.
Oral irrigators like Waterpik brand are also clinically proven to help combat plaque buildup and remove food particles. If you notice food getting trapped between teeth, there are also tiny brushes (interproximal brushes) and rubber tips that can help.
Dr. Park and our hygienists will recommend the best products for your particular needs.
Professional Dental Cleaning is Vital
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional dental cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. By visiting Irondequoit Family Dentistry for a professional dental cleaning, our hygienists, along with Dr. Park, can make sure your teeth will look and feel good the rest of your lifetime.