Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (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, daily tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
How To Brush
Gently move the brush several times using small, gentle strokes on all surfaces of the teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue and tongue. If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office.
How To Floss
Since our tooth brush cannot fit between our teeth, floss is an important aspect of oral health. Once you have found the type of floss you like best (i.e. floss picks, REACH flossers, or regular string floss), wrap the floss around each side of the tooth- making a "C" shape. No need to "see-saw" or go side to side. Floss stirs up bacteria, when that bacteria is stuck between your teeth it breaks down the gums, causing bad breath and gum disease and breaks down the tooth causing cavities.
Practice makes perfect and once you have flossing down, it shouldn't take longer than 15 seconds to floss all of your teeth. When you are done, pull your lips and cheek out. Wherever you see bleeding is a sign of gingivitis. After few weeks of good flossing, the bleeding will stop.
Caring For Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, provided your mouth is kept clean. If your mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market that it may 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 patients. We see excellent results with the Oral-B electric toothbrush.
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.
If used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age.
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.
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 important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.
Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. However, a balanced diet will help to boost your body's immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.
How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies, and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth feed on it, they then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying tooth enamel.
- Granola bars
- Chewy fruit snacks
- Dried fruit
- Hard candy
Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles, and neutralizing harmful acids.
Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay causing bacteria in the mouth.