WHY IS ORAL HYGIENE SO IMPORTANT?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
HOW TO BRUSH TEETH
If you have any pain while brushing your teeth or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office at (614) 405-727.
Dr. Patel recommends using a soft tooth brush or an electric toothbrush. Position the brush 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 brushing all surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
HOW TO FLOSS
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, it is important to develop the proper 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. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
To floss properly, 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. 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 there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.
When you are done, rinse vigorously with water or alcohol-free mouthwash to remove excess plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should diminish.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain. Patients with especially sensitive teeth should consult with their dentist. There are toothpastes and mouth rinses that are designed specifically for those with sensitive teeth and some require a prescription. Dr. Patel can help determine which would be best for you.
CHOOSING ORAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS
There are so many products on the market making it confusing for the consumer to choose. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic and “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the patients. Oral irrigators (water piks) will rinse your mouth thoroughly. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age or without supervision. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line. That’s why a professional cleaning with your dentist is important.
Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANING
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional dental cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. We want you to keep your teeth for your lifetime.