There are three essential components to great oral hygiene care at home. To begin, let's examine brushing:
Proper brushing takes at least two minutes - that's right, 120 seconds! Ideally we want to see patients brushing twice daily. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes. Pay extra attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach back teeth, and areas around fillings, crowns or other restorations. Use a toothbrush with soft or extra soft bristles that will not be harsh on the gum tissues.
- Place bristles along the gum line at a 45-degree angle.
- Brush using a short, vibrating roll/stroke motion away from the gums on the outside surfaces, and along all the inner tooth surfaces as well.
- Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up & down motions using the front half of the brush.
- Place the brush on the chewing surfaces of the teeth and use a gentle back & forth motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria or use a tongue scraper.
- Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. A toothbrush with worn, split, uneven or toothpaste-clogged bristles can't clean your teeth effectively and may even harm your gums. If you experience a significant illness or infection, we recommend replacing your brush as well.
And let's not forget flossing:
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach - under the gum line and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
- Wrap 18" of floss around your middle fingers, leaving an inch or two to work with.
- Gently follow the curves of your teeth.
- Be sure to clean beneath the gum line, but avoid snapping the floss onto the gums!
Finally, let's wrap it up with rinsing: Mouth rinse is recommended in addition to regular brushing and flossing. Antiseptic and Fluoride rinses both play an important role in your oral health. Antiseptic rinse is used to improve gum health by killing a variety of germs that form plaque and cause gingivitis and bad breath. Listerine is a popular brand of antiseptic rinse and should be used 2x a day. Fluoride rinse is used to strengthen and protect the teeth. The flouride strengthens the enamel through a process called remineralization. ACT is a popular brand of flouride rinse and should be 1x a day for patients who have a history of cavities.