Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than cavities.
Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their lives. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by following good oral hygiene daily, including tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. As a result, plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By following our oral health tips, including thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Good oral hygiene starts with knowing how to brush your teeth correctly. At The Dental Health Group, Dr. Erwin Abad recommends using a soft to medium toothbrush. First, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Next, gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes, brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel discomfort.
When you are done cleaning 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. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to brush the surrounding gum tissue gently.
Next, you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth using short, gentle strokes. Change the brush’s position as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. Practicing good oral hygiene takes time, but your health and smile are worth the extra few minutes!
Bonus Oral Health Tip: After brushing your teeth, vigorously swish water around your mouth to remove any plaque you loosened while brushing.
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, to maintain good oral hygiene, it is essential to floss daily and develop the proper flossing technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember—it 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. Then, wrap the rest of the floss around the other hand’s middle finger.
To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it into 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 the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember, two tooth surfaces need to be cleaned in each space. 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 forefingers of both hands. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
Bonus Oral Health Tip: Just as you did after brushing your teeth, after flossing, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. As flossing becomes a habit and you remove the plaque, your gums will heal, and the bleeding should stop.
Sometimes, after a dental exam or procedure, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This sensation should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean through practicing good oral hygiene, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your dentist. They may recommend a dentist-approved toothpaste or mouth rinse formulated especially for sensitive teeth.
There are so many products on the market; choosing which ones are safe, proven, and effective can be difficult. Here are some oral health tips for choosing dental care products that work for most patients.
Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for most patients. We see excellent results with Rotadent and Interplak electric toothbrushes. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) rinse your mouth thoroughly, but they will not remove plaque. Remember that you need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator.
Some manual toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle that is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are misused, you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your dentist.
Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can promote good oral hygiene and reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six. Tartar control toothpaste reduces tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line, so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help control the early stages of gum disease. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Daily brushing and flossing are the best oral health tips you can follow, but a professional dental cleaning will remove plaque build-up in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Contact The Dental Health Group in Canoga Park to schedule an appointment today. Our welcoming office staff and experienced dentists will help you to have a beautiful and healthy smile!