WHY IS ORAL HYGIENE SO IMPORTANT?
Oral hygiene is important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. According to research, adults over the age of 35 are more likely to lose teeth due to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. It is estimated that three out of four adults will be affected by gum disease at some point in their lives. One of the best ways to prevent both cavities and periodontal disease is by practicing good tooth brushing and flossing techniques on a daily basis. Both of these oral hygiene practices help to remove bacterial plaque from the teeth and gums, which is the main cause of these dental problems.
Plaque is a colorless film that can accumulate on the teeth, especially at the gum line. If it is not removed regularly, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. By thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth every day, you can effectively remove this harmful bacteria and reduce your risk of developing oral health problems.
How To Brush Your Teeth
To properly brush your teeth, use a soft to medium toothbrush and position it at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes to brush the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
Once you've cleaned the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically and make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don't forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Finally, 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're done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
Caring for sensitive teeth
If you experience sensitivity in your teeth when consuming hot or cold foods or beverages, it is important to take extra care to keep your mouth clean. Failure to do so could lead to prolonged or worsened sensitivity. If you have particularly sensitive teeth, it is recommended to consult with your dentist. They may suggest using a medicated toothpaste or mouthwash specifically designed for sensitive teeth.
How to floss
Flossing is an effective way to remove plaque from the areas between the teeth, which cannot be reached by a toothbrush. Follow these steps to floss properly:
Take a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long and wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
Hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand to clean the upper teeth. Gently insert the floss between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not snap the floss into place or force it.
Bring the floss to the gum line and 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, cleaning both tooth surfaces in each space. Floss each side of all the upper teeth.
Use the forefingers of both hands to guide the floss between the bottom teeth. Don't forget to clean the backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
Rinse your mouth with water to remove any leftover food particles and plaque.
Don't be alarmed if your gums bleed or are sore during the first week of flossing. This is normal, but if your gums continue to hurt while flossing, you may be flossing too hard or pinching your gums. With daily flossing, your gums should heal and the bleeding should stop.
CHOOSING ORAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS
When it comes to choosing oral hygiene products, it can be overwhelming with so many options available. Here are some tips to help you select products that will work for most people. Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are generally safe and effective for most patients. Oral irrigators or water spraying devices can rinse your mouth thoroughly, but they cannot remove plaque. Therefore, it's important to use them in conjunction with brushing and flossing. Two electric toothbrushes that we have seen excellent results with are Rotadent and Interplak.
Some toothbrushes come with a rubber tip on the handle that can be used to massage the gums after brushing. Additionally, there are tiny brushes called interproximal toothbrushes that can clean between your teeth. However, improper use of these products could injure your gums, so it's important to discuss proper use with your dentist.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, when used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay by up to 40%. Keep in mind that these rinses are not recommended for children under the age of six. While tartar control toothpastes can reduce tartar above the gum line, they have not been proven to reduce the early stages of gum disease, which starts below the gum line.
Finally, there are anti-plaque rinses that have been approved by the American Dental Association. These rinses contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control, but they should also be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANING
Getting a professional dental cleaning is an important aspect of maintaining good oral health. Even with regular brushing and flossing, it's still possible for plaque and tartar to accumulate in hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. During a professional cleaning, a dental hygienist will use specialized tools to remove this buildup, reducing your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay. It's recommended that you get a professional cleaning at least twice a year to keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent any potential problems from developing. So, make sure to schedule regular appointments with your dentist to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for a lifetime.
TAKE A LOOK AROUND
While we specialize in providing dentures, dental implants and oral surgery, we also provide other dental services in our area. From cleanings and exams to oral health screenings, you can count on our team to meet your oral health needs.
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