Daily brushing and flossing will keep plaque and tartar at a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove buildup in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your efforts to prevent gum disease and keep your teeth for a lifetime. Our appointments are one hour in length and consist of periodontal screening, oral cancer screening, taking any necessary xrays, fluoride treatment, especially in children and older adults, examination, and polishing the teeth. At Maplewood Laser Dental Clinic we offer Saliva Testing as an adjunctive tool for diagnosing periodontal disease as well as tendencies toward various oral and systemic diseases such as cardiovasculr disease and diabetes.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults, 35 and over, lose more teeth from gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by gum disease at some point in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by regular tooth brushing and flossing.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which 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
Dr. Guess recommends using a soft toothbrush only. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a small back and forth motion brushing the inside and outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any pain.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle, back-and-forth strokes on each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror and make sure you clean every surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
How to Floss
Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from in-between surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper flossing technique. The following instructions will definitely help, but it really takes time and practice.
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 thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss 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 tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two surfaces to each tooth and booth need to be cleaned. 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 forefinger of both hands. Don’t forget the back 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 your gums bleed or a little sore during the first week of flossing. If the gums hurt during flossing, you may be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and the remove plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market that it can become confusing and difficult to choose between them. Here are some suggestion for choosing dental care products.
Automatic, electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective. We see many excellent results in patients who use Sonicare electric toothbrushes. Oral irrigators, water spraying devices, will rinse your mouth thoroughly. However, they do not remove plaque. You must brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator.
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.
Some toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used with proper technique, can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under 6. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below it. These products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain elements that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in tandem with brushing and flossing.