A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals and reducing the number of high-fructose and sticky snacks you eat. We also recommend limiting your consumption of soda both regular and diet.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA-approved soft bristle brush or a Sonicare toothbrush and Colgate Total toothpaste.
- Place the brush where the tooth and gum meet at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and help freshen your breath.
We recommend the Phillip’s Sonicare Electric Toothbrush in our office. The Sonicare toothbrush is easy to use and can remove plaque more efficiently than a manual tooth brush. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job. Hold the brush in one area for a few seconds before moving to the next area. Brushing time should be a minimum of 2 minutes for the whole mouth.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss and have limited dexterity.
It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with Dr. Knochel or our dental hygienists on its appropriateness for you. We have found that many oral rinses are high in alcohol, which can increase dryness of the mouth. Many also create staining on the teeth.
Use of other dental aids as recommended by our staff: Inter-dental brushes, tongue cleaners, and Prevident fluoride toothpaste can all play a role in good dental home care.
Reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential:
- Prevention of tooth decay– Tooth decay is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and its treatment often requires complex dental procedures. Tooth decay occurs when the acids found in plaque erode the natural enamel found on the teeth. This phenomenon can easily be prevented by using proper home hygiene methods.
- Prevention of periodontal disease– Periodontal disease is a serious, progressive condition which can cause tooth loss due to the loss of bone support around the teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by the toxins found in plaque, and can lead to serious health problems in other parts of the body. Removing plaque (the soft film of bacteria) from the surface of the tooth using a toothbrush, and for the inter-proximal areas using dental floss, is an excellent way to avoid periodontal problems.
- Prevention of halitosis– Bad breath or halitosis is usually caused by old food particles on or between the teeth and bacterial plaque buildup. Food debris and plaque can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, leaving the mouth healthier and breath smelling fresher.
- Prevention of staining– Staining or the yellowing of teeth can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as smoking, coffee, tea, red wine, and some mouth washes. The more regularly these staining agents are removed from the teeth using brushing and flossing techniques, the less likely it is that the stains will become permanent.
Proper home care and prevention techniques are a major factor to maintaining proper periodontal health; however, this disease usually begins in the hard-to-reach areas where brushing and flossing are not fully effective. For this reason, we sell Sonicare tooth brushes and Sonicare replacement heads at our office we look forward to helping you maintain consistent oral home care and prevention.