Here at Fusion Dental Care in Raleigh NC, our goal is to help our patients maintain outstanding oral hygiene so that visits to the dentist office are easy going. One of the ways we do that is sharing our knowledge about oral hygiene to help keep issues like gum disease a thing of the past.
Periodontal (gum) disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in most adults above 35 years, with three out of every four adults getting affected at some point in life. Cavities came second to periodontal disease, but they both are preventable through observing proper oral hygiene – mainly brushing and flossing daily.
Bacterial plaque is the leading cause of both dental problems. The plaque will start as a colorless film of germs that accumulated around the teeth near the gumline, and it is a constant thing. However, brushing and flossing help to remove plaque and prevent gum disease.
How to Brush
Dr. Bassiri recommends that you use a soft bristled toothbrush holding it at an angle of 45 degrees positioned at the gumline (where the teeth and gums meet). When brushing, move the brush in in small, gentle circular motions as you brush the outer surface of the teeth. Apply light pressure as you run the brush over your teeth making sure there is no discomfort.
Or better yet, purchase one of our electric power toothbrushes that will do all the work for you!
Once you are done with the outer surface, use the same process to thoroughly clean the inside (back) of your teeth. Start with the upper front teeth and the lower ones while holding your tooth brush vertically to your teeth. Use back and forth and back again motions as your run the brush over the teeth using little pressure. Remember also to always brush the surrounding area of gum tissue.
Once you are done, you can focus on the biting surfaces (the molars). Clean theses using be gentle as you do short strokes over the teeth changing positions after every few strokes to ensure that all the areas are cleaned. Stand in front of the mirror as you brush so that you can see how you are doing it and make sure you clean each surface. After brushing, rinse your mouth vigorously with water so that you can remove any loose plaque.
How To Floss
Plaque forms around the teeth and leads to gum disease which appears between the teeth, often the areas where the toothbrush cannot clean. Therefore, flossing is the suitable alternative to cleaning these areas to remove the plaque. However, flossing requires a particular technique, and it takes time and practice to master.
Waxed floss is the best option to start with when learning how to floss. Be sure to wrap your floss gently around your middle finger in one hand and the other end of the middle finger of the other.
When flossing the upper teeth, tightly hold the floss between the forefinger and the thumb in each hand and then insert the floss right between your teeth as you gently use a back and forth motion. Avoid trying to snap the floss in place. The best method is to have the floss at the gumline then curving it against the tooth to make it have a C-shape. You can then slide the floss gently between the tooth and gum; you may feel some slight resistance. Start moving the floss up and down against the sides of the tooth. Focus on one tooth before you switch to the next. Be cautious when flossing to avoid cutting into the gum tissue. Pay attention to the floss and turn the soiled up into one middle finger as you unwind the floss from the other.
For the bottom teeth, use your forefingers in both hands to guide the floss between the teeth. As you clean, remember to clean the back of the teeth, working your way up to the last tooth as the back of your mouth.
Rinse your mouth vigorously with water once you are done flossing. Flossing helps to remove the food particles left behind after brushing, and this prevents the formation of plaque. The gums may bleed and become a bit sore during the first week of flossing. However, if the gums are overly painful, then you might have pinched or cut them when flossing too hard. The gums will eventually adapt to the effects of flossing and bleed will stop.
Caring For Sensitive Teeth
You may clean your teeth but still find them somewhat sensitive to hot and cold substances; the same things can help after undergoing dental treatment. However, this is not a long-term thing more so if the mouth is kept clean. Failure to clean the mouth daily will only maintain or increase the sensitivity. Consult a dentist if the teeth get too sensitive. You may be recommended to use a particular mouthwash or medicated toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
The market is awash with different oral hygiene products, and these can make it hard to know which is the ideal thing to use. Below are some suggestions that can help you find the best dental care products.
The “techy” toothbrushes that can be electric and with an automated function are safe, and a majority are effective for most patients. Water spraying devices (oral irrigators) are also efficient when it comes to rinsing your mouth thoroughly; however, they do not remove plaque. So, you need to brush and floss before you use the irrigator. We can recommend Interplak and Rotadent electric toothbrushes which we have seen give excellent results.
You may find some toothbrushes have rubber tips handles; the tips are for massaging the gums after brushing. Interproximal toothbrushes are tiny brushes that you can use to clean between the teeth. But you should use these with caution to avoid injuring your gums. Discuss with your dentist about the proper use of these toothbrushes.
It is recommended to floss first before brushing. The reason for this is that flossing first will allow all the plaque and food debris to be removed from between the teeth, so that when we brush with fluoridated toothpaste, the fluoride can easily go between the the teeth to have the most effect.
The floss, toothpaste and mouth rinses you use should contain fluoride; it is an essential ingredient that significantly reduces cavity by nearly 40%. Keep in mind that tartar control toothpaste will not work the same way as fluoride toothpaste; the former reduces the buildup of tartar above the gumline. Gum disease starts below the gumline thus the tartar toothpaste cannot help in prevent or reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
Only use anti-plaque rinses that have the approval of the American Dental Association; they have properties that help to treat or reduce early periodontal disease. The rinses should be used together with brushing and flossing.
We highly recommend that your brush and floss daily to keep dental calculus to a minimum. However, we also do acknowledge that this will not be a foolproof solution; hence, the need to see a dentist for a professional cleaning to remove any calculus you have missed when brushing and flossing. Therefore, part of your oral hygiene efforts should include a visit to our office so that we help you keep your teeth clean, strong, and healthy for your lifetime.