Proper oral hygiene is essential for healthy teeth and gums. People older than 35 lose more teeth from gum disease than from cavities. Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a broad term that encompasses several different gum conditions, including gingivitis and periodontitis. Many adults are affected at some point in their lives. The best way to prevent periodontal disease, as well as cavities, is through a regimen of thorough daily brushing and flossing.
Most cases of periodontal disease develop because of bacterial plaque that builds up on the teeth. When plaque hardens, it causes tartar to form, which gradually destroys the tissues and bone that support the teeth. The risk of developing gum disease can be reduced by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes carefully brushing the teeth at least twice a day, and flossing them at least once a day. Proper brushing and flossing techniques should be used to ensure that teeth are adequately cleaned.
Brushing Teeth Correctly
The outer surfaces of the teeth should be brushed using small, circular strokes that cover two to three teeth at a time. The toothbrush, which should have soft bristles, should be positioned at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Gentle pressure should be applied to make sure the toothbrush reaches the end of each tooth, where it meets the gums.
To effectively clean the front teeth, the brush should be placed in a vertical position and short strokes should be used. These up and down motions should be repeated over all teeth and gums in the front of the mouth.
The molars are used for chewing. Applying gentle pressure, the toothbrush should be moved back and forth, focusing on two to three teeth at a time. The brush should be repositioned frequently to ensure that it is reaching all surfaces. When brushing is complete, the mouth should be rinsed well to remove any food particles or plaque that might have been loosened.
Flossing Teeth Correctly
Periodontal disease often begins as an inflammation of the gums. This inflammation is usually caused by a buildup of bacteria plaque between the teeth and gums. Flossing is one of the most effective methods for removing plaque from the hard-to-reach surfaces between the teeth and near the gums. A proper flossing technique is important.
Approximately 18 inches of floss should be used. The floss should be placed between the teeth by using a gentle back-and-forth motion. The floss should be moved to the gum line, and then moved around the edge of the tooth. A sliding up-and-down motion that extends the floss slightly into into the gum line should be used. The floss should then be lifted above the gums, and contoured around the edge of the next tooth, repeating the process. Both sides of every tooth should end up flossed. The floss should not be pressed too firmly into the gums, or it may cut the delicate gum tissue.
After flossing is complete, the mouth should be rinsed with water to get rid of any plaque or food particles that were dislodged. When a person first starts a flossing routine, the gums may bleed or feel sore. With daily flossing, gums become less sensitive, and the bleeding should stop.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
After a dental treatment, teeth may become sensitive to hot and cold. This is usually short-lived as long as the mouth is kept clean. If teeth are regularly very sensitive, the problem should be discussed with a dentist, who may recommend using medicated toothpaste, or a mouth rinse designed for sensitive teeth.
Why is it Necessary to Have My Teeth Cleaned at the Dentist?
You brush your teeth every day, so why do you need additional cleanings a few times a year? Do those twice-a-year cleanings really do much anyway? They do. Even if you brush your teeth every morning and every night, each time for a full two minutes, plaque may form in certain areas. This is especially likely if you don't floss every day. Plaque is an invisible biofilm that sticks to your teeth, usually around the gum line. You may not see it but your dentist or hygienist knows how to target it using precise cleaning techniques and instruments.
What is Involved in My Routine Dental Cleaning Appointments?
During your routine dental visits, which should take place every six months, our team works to ensure your long-term oral health. If your most recent dental exam has not detected any significant concerns, such as gum disease, your dental cleaning will focus on prevention. In addition to removing plaque and tartar as needed and polishing your teeth, Dr. Glasser or your hygienist may discuss tips for maintaining an infection-free mouth. If Dr. Glasser's exam has found inflammation or infection in the gums, you may be advised to receive a deep cleaning that involves the removal of bacteria and plaque from beneath the gum line. Rest assured, even our deep cleanings are performed with the utmost care. You may receive a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area so you remain completely comfortable during this necessary service.
What Happens if I Don't Receive Regular Dental Cleanings at the Dentist?
Your routine and corrective dental cleanings are important. They foster long-term oral health and also help you avoid unnecessarily painful and stressful infections in your gums and teeth. If you go too long in between your dental cleanings, there is a higher likelihood of having accumulated plaque and tartar. Plaque is a softer, stickier biofilm. If not removed promptly enough, it hardens to calculus, which is referred to as tartar. It is not possible to brush tartar away. It must be removed by the dentist or hygienist. Both plaque and tartar harbor harmful bacteria. Without removal, the bacteria in these different forms of biofilm can damage your teeth and gums. Bacteria may move beneath your gumline where they cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss. Beneath the gums, bacteria thrive in areas near the roots of teeth and also nearer to the jawbone, making both areas susceptible to deterioration. Dental cleanings occur just twice a year and usually take less than an hour. With that, the consequences of poor hygiene can be mitigated.
What is the Best Toothbrush to Use for Healthy Teeth and Gums?
The way you brush your teeth is as important as how often you brush and floss. We're happy to demonstrate brushing and flossing techniques for you to ensure you are doing all that you can in between your visits to prevent infection. Experts recommend using toothbrushes with soft bristles rather than medium or firm. The harder the bristles, the more abrasion may occur to your teeth and gums. Toothbrush abrasions can lead to gum recession, which could increase the risk of gum disease and cavities near the roots of your teeth. If you have limited hand dexterity due to arthritis or other conditions, you may get the most benefit from an electric toothbrush. Regardless of the type of toothbrush you use, manual or electric, it's beneficial to replace your brush or head every three to four months. We're always happy to answer questions about oral care, toothbrushes, mouthwash, and other factors that influence your oral health!
Professional Dental Cleaning
Seeing a dentist for a professional cleaning on a regular basis is essential to maintaining good dental health. A dentist can remove plaque and other substances that have built up on the teeth over time, and can recommend other preventive techniques to help maintain good oral health.