Dental Upkeep

Flossing

Flossing should be a part of your daily hygiene regimen, it is crucial to maintaining strong, healthy teeth and gums.

The main cause of gum disease is the sticky, colorless film (plaque) that is constantly forming on/around your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate and begin to destroy supporting gum tissue. Flossing removes the small bits of food between teeth that brushing misses and most importantly, disrupts and removes accumulating plaque and bacteria. Flossing also lightly stimulates the gums, keeping them pink, resilient and healthy.

What kind of floss?

You can use waxed, un-waxed, mint-flavored or flossing tape, whichever feels most comfortable to you. There is no “best” brand, but you may find a brand that slides in between your teeth and underneath your gums a bit easier than others.

How to floss?

Break off about 12-18 inches of floss and wind it around your two middle fingers, pull the floss taut and insert between the teeth with a gentle sawing motion. Bring the floss down underneath your gums until you meet resistance (without force), hug the tooth in a C-shape while moving up and down in a sweeping motion about 5-6 times, and don’t forget the far sides of your back four teeth.

After flossing

Rinse vigorously with water or a recommended mouthwash, then brush.
If you have any questions about flossing or want us to check your technique, just ask and we would be happy to demonstrate.

Teeth Brushing

Many adults are still faithfully brushing the same way they were instructed to as children. We’ve learned a lot about dental hygiene since, and what was considered good brushing techniques back then is not necessarily effective now. Since periodontal disease stems from a build-up of plaque and calculus (tartar), proper brushing plays a crucial role in controlling and preventing bacterial growth and infection.

What kind of toothbrush?

Soft, round-end nylon bristles are considered most effective in cleaning tooth surfaces as well as stimulating gum tissues.  In some cases, electric toothbrushes may be a better option, providing the same benefits.  When you visit our office, this is all a part of your individualized oral care- yes, even in choosing the right toothbrush for you!  Either option, make sure to replace your toothbrush/brushhead about every 3 months, be mindful when you see bending or fraying of the bristles- this may mean we need to assess your brushing technique.

How to brush?

Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle at the gumline and without any added pressure, brush 2-3 teeth at a time in a soft circular motion (from gums towards the edge of the teeth). To brush behind the upper and lower front teeth, hold the toothbrush vertically and move in the same soft circular motion with the top edge of the bristles.  Remember to pay extra attention to the back teeth, which have a tendency to collect more plaque.

How often should you brush?

Plaque begins forming on teeth 4-13 hours after brushing; which is why it is important to brush at least twice a day for the minimum of 2 minutes.

 

Fluoride

Fluoride is an important component of dental health, and we are fortunate enough to have fluoride in our drinking water. As a result, people in our community have much lower cavity rates than those in areas without fluoridation programs.

Fluoride is added to the water supply in very low concentrations as a preventive measure against cavities. This is great for the general population, but some children and adults may require even greater protection. We recommend using fluoride toothpaste, and at times will apply topical fluoride after dental treatments as another preventative measure for your oral health.