If you’re over the age of 35, you’re more likely to lose teeth due to gum disease (e.g., gingivitis, periodontitis) than you are from cavities. Three out of four adults experience gum disease at some point during their life.
Thorough, daily brushing and flossing are essential for removing the plaque that causes gum disease, which eventually leads to gum decay. The proper home care techniques, combined with regular prophylaxis, can help you maintain your oral health.
When shopping for a toothbrush, choose one with soft or medium thistles. Hard thistles can aggravate your gums, and they actually make it more difficult to reach certain areas of your mouth.
To start, position your brush at a 45-degree angle on your gumline, where the gums and teeth meet. Make small, circular motions across the outside surfaces of your upper teeth.
It’s important to move the brush gently and only place light pressure when putting the bristles between your teeth. This prevents irritation. You will want to repeat these steps when cleaning the outer surfaces of your lower teeth.
After, you’ll then clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. To do so, hold the brush vertically and make multiple back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. You’ll also want to lightly brush the gum tissue.
Finally, it’s time to clean the biting surfaces of your teeth with short, gentle strokes.
You will likely need to reposition the brush several times to make sure you’ve brushed all surfaces of your teeth. It’s useful to look at yourself in the mirror to ensure you’ve reached everything.
Once you’re finished, rinse your mouth to get rid of any plaque that loosened while you were brushing.
If you experience pain while brushing, or you have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Plaque often gets stuck between teeth, in areas a toothbrush is unable to access. If left unchecked, this plaque leads to periodontal disease. Luckily, flossing can remove the plaque from those surfaces.
It takes time and practice to develop the right technique. Here are some tips to keep in mind when learning to floss:
Start with your upper teeth, holding the floss between your thumbs and forefingers. While holding it tightly, you want to gently insert it in each of the gaps between your teeth.
You want to clean both tooth surfaces in each of the spaces you’re flossing into, moving the floss up and down each side.
To reach the area under the gumline, gently move the floss into a C-shape against the tooth, getting it into the area between the gum and tooth until you feel a light resistance. It’s important to be gentle so you don’t cut gum tissue.
As you move through the mouth, the floss will become dirty. You’ll want to wrap the dirty piece of floss onto your finger, so that you can continue flossing with a fresh section.
Some treatments can make your teeth more sensitive to temperatures. So long as you brush and floss regularly, your mouth will become acclimated to hot and cold temperatures.
Not following proper oral health habits can lead to increased sensitivity. If this occurs, please let us know, so we can recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse that can help alleviate your discomfort.
There are a lot of dental care products out there, but not all of them are equally effective. Here are some suggestions for products that work well for the majority of patients. As always, it’s best to get advice from your dentist, who can speak to your specific situation.
When buying a toothbrush, find one with soft or medium bristles. Hard bristles can irritate your gums and make it more difficult to reach certain areas of your mouth.
Many patients also benefit from electronic, automatic toothbrushes. Rotadent and Interplak have both led to positive outcomes for many patients.
If your toothbrush has a rubber tip on the handle, you can use it to massage your gums after brushing.
Some patients wonder about interproximal toothbrushes, which are designed to clean between your teeth. Even though they’re small, they can irritate or even injure your gums if misused. Therefore, it’s important to speak with a dentist before using one.
Water spraying devices are excellent for ensuring your mouth is thoroughly rinsed. That said, they’re no replacement for brushing and flossing, since they don’t remove plaque. Instead, irrigators should supplement your oral health care routine.
While certain toothpastes and mouth rinses can be effective ways to protect your oral health, it’s important to note that they only work when combined with brushing and flossing.
Tobacco has been linked to a number of different periodontal issues. Smokers are likely to experience:
Smokeless tobacco is also problematic, increasing the risk of oral cancer.
We recommend against using tobacco after a procedure since it can interfere with healing, ultimately interfering with the success of treatment.
Along with improving your overall health, quitting tobacco is essential for improving your oral health.