Why is oral hygiene so important?
Half of American adults have gum disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue, which if left untreated, can progress to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the chronic inflammation of gum tissue and the bone supporting your teeth. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by twice daily tooth brushing and flossing techniques as well as seeing your dental hygienist regularly.
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 the bacteria and help prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush YOUR 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 Atkinson Family Dental Center Phone Number (402) 925-5444.
Dr. Marche' Schulte recommends using an extra soft to soft toothbrush 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 the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any 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 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 vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
How to Floss
Flossing is necessary to remove plaque from in between the teeth, where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. 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 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 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 floss 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 after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to cold. We may recommend a fluoride or prescription strength toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market it can be confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Electric toothbrushes are very safe and effective. We see excellent results with Sonicare or Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
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 Dr. Schulte or one of the dental hygienists.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce 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.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional dental cleaning, by a dental hygienist, will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.