Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than to cavities. In fact, three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life.
Periodontal disease and tooth decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. This bacterial plaque forms continuously in your mouth. Having a good daily home care routine consisting of brushing and flossing, keeps this bacteria in check and helps prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call our office at (215) 822-3838.
Chalfont Family Dentistry recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush over the teeth in a circular motion using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while brushing, you should not be “scrubbing” as this causes trauma to the gum tissue. This should be done on both the front and back surfaces of your 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 gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next, you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
How To Floss
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to use 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 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 there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned with the floss, even if you are missing teeth. 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.
When you are done, 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. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
Caring For Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes patients’ teeth can be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. If this is related to recent dental work, it should not last long. In other cases it could be related to gingivitis or periodontal disease, advanced tooth decay, recession of the gum tissue, loss of enamel or it could even be related to a patient’s diet. Keeping up with good oral hygiene can help keep gingival inflammation down and therefore help with symptoms. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor. In the absence of dental disease, they may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many dental products on the market, making it confusing to choose which products are right for you. 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 patients and are a good tool for patients with poor dexterity or who brush too hard. Oral irrigators, such as Waterpik, are wonderful for periodontal pockets and for cleaning around crowns and bridgework, but they do not take the place of brushing and flossing. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle, this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your doctor or hygienist.
Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%. These rinses are not meant for ingestion and are therefore not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpaste will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gumline so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stages of gum disease.
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.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental plaque and calculus to a minimum, but a professional 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 and keep your natural smile healthy.
ARESTIN® (minocycline hydrochloride) is an antibiotic that kills the bacteria that cause the infection.
It’s placed directly in the infected areas—or “pockets”—in your gums.
It’s applied right after scaling and root planing, the dental procedure that disrupts stubborn plaque and bacteria below your gum line—where brushing and flossing can’t reach.
ARESTIN® starts working quickly, right at the source of infection and keeps fighting bacteria long after you leave the dental office.1,2
ARESTIN® fights infection and inflammation for 30 days2 and provides significantly better results than scaling and root planing alone for up to 90 days3.
- Oringer RJ, Al-Shammari KF, Aldredge WA, et al. Effect of locally administered minocycline microspheres on markers of bone resorption. J Periodontol 2002;73:835-842.
- Goodson JM, Gunsollwy JC, Grossi SG, et al. Minocycline HCl microspheres reduce red-complex bacteria in periodontal disease therapy. J Periodontol 2007;78(8):1568-1579.
- Williams RC, Paquette DW, Offenbacher S, et al. Treatment of periodontitis by local administration of minocycline microspheres: a controlled trial. J Periodontol 2001;72:1535-1544.