How to Take Care of Your Teeth at Home
There are three essential components to great oral hygiene care at home: brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Let’s get into how to do all of them correctly and what products are best!
How to Brush your Teeth
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.
What toothbrush should I use?
- Sonicare Flexcare Platinum: If you make the decision to go electric, we strongly recommend the Sonicare brand in our office. An electric toothbrush is great for helping overly aggressive brushers control their speed and pressure, as well as encouraging a full two minutes of brushing (the magic number!).
- Colgate Wave Sensitive: If you stick with manual, please, soft bristles!! We give out this model in office, but if another one strikes your fancy, a soft brush head is our recommendation.
What toothpaste is best?
- Colgate Total: For the majority of patients we want a solid, fluoridated toothpaste. We like a number of Colgate products and are happy with the results of their total toothpaste.
- Sensodyne Pronamel: For patients who suffer from gum recession or are prone to sensitivity, we’ll recommend a toothpaste with an especially low RDA to make sure they’re treating their gums with appropriate care. Sensodyne is among the most gentle of the options available.
- ClinPro: For patients with weakened enamel and at a high risk for cavities we recommend prescription ClinPro toothpaste. The high concentration of sodium fluoride and tri-calcium phosphate help to restrengthen enamel and prevent decay. This toothpaste can only be purchased through a dental office.
How to Floss your Teeth
- 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!
What type of floss should you use?
- Oral-B Glide: To be honest, we don’t much care which floss you’re using as long as you’re doing it daily and properly! That being said, we do like Glide, as it is unwaxed and tends to stick less in people’s teeth than some other brands.
- Reach Access Flosser: For patients with less than average dexterity or harder to reach areas, we recommend this access flosser to ensure you’re hitting everything that needs it. Heads are one use and replacements are easily found in most drug stores.
Why Should you Use Mouth Rinse?
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. Fluoride rinse is used to strengthen and protect the teeth. The fluoride strengthens the enamel through a process called remineralization.
- Listerine: The gold standard of antiseptic mouth rinse – just make sure you get one of the varieties that says “Antiseptic” on the label. These rinses help kill harmful bacteria in the mouth and protect the health of your gums – Listerine Total Care, on the other hand, can’t offer the same kind of protection.
- Colgate Total Advance Pro-Shield: If you suffer from dry mouth, frequent cold or canker sores, or are just looking for less exposure to alcohol, this is the antiseptic rinse for you!
- ACT: When a patient has a higher risk of caries, we’ll often suggest alternating an antiseptic rinse with this fluoridate rinse at night to help remineralize and strengthen the teeth against decay.