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 at some time in their lives. 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. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. 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.

  1. Brush your teeth twice and floss once a day.
  2. Professional dental cleanings and checkups should be done twice a year.
  3. Cut down on acidic and sugary foods.  
  4. Use fluoride tablets, which make teeth more resistant to cavities.
  5. 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.

  1. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet.
  2. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth.
  3. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
  4. When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Flossing Basics

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing the best way to remove plaque and using the proper flossing technique is very important. These instructions will help you floss correctly.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 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 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 and “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the 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 used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your doctor.

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.

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.

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. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.