Why is Oral Hygiene So Important?
Not only does oral hygiene keep your teeth sparkling clean, it prevents tooth loss associated with gum disease. Both gum disease and tooth decay are caused by bacterial plaque, a colorless film that sticks to your teeth – particularly along the gum line. The best defense against gum disease and tooth decay is an at-home oral health regimen.
How to Brush
Using a soft to medium tooth brush, position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet then gently move the brush in a circular motion using light pressure. When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside surfaces of your teeth. Finally, clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes, changing the position of the brush to reach and clean even the deepest grooves. After you have finished, rinse vigorously to remove any residual plaque.
How to Floss
Start with an 18” long piece of waxed floss and lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand and the remaining floss around the middle finger of the other hand. Hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand and gently insert the floss between the teeth. Bring the floss to the gumline and pull it against the tooth, then slide it into the space between the tooth and gums; move the floss up and down both sides of each tooth. Continue this process until you have cleaned all sides of your teeth (including the back of your rear teeth), occasionally moving the floss from one finger to another as it gets soiled. Rinse with water to remove any plaque or food particles that may have become dislodged. If you are new to flossing, irritation and sensitivity are normal; as you continue to floss and your teeth and gums become healthy, these symptoms will subside.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
The availability of oral hygiene products can make finding the perfect fit confusing. Here are some tips for choosing effective dental care products:
- Automatic and electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective, but a handheld soft bristled brush is just as effective if used as prescribed.
- Water Piks may rinse your mouth thoroughly, but they will not remove plaque. Brushing and flossing are the only effective way to clean the hard-to-reach surfaces of your teeth.
- If used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay. Excessive fluoride can be harmful if swallowed, though, so supervise children as they brush and rinse.
Daily brushing and flossing is a good place to start, but only a professional cleaning will remove plaque and tartar from places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Keep your teeth for a lifetime by visiting our office as recommended by Dr. Braverman.