Oral hygiene is the most important part of any dental treatment plan. In order to maintain a beautiful smile, you must look after your teeth and gums on a regular basis. Only confident brushing and flossing on a daily basis, regular visits to your dentist and taking care of any appliances you may be wearing, will your oral hygiene remain in good shape.
We at Curtin Dental Care believe in preventing the problem before it becomes a more serious problem to treat and that is why we recommend you follow some of the simple guidelines to keep you smiling and also keep your teeth for life! We also have two dedicated oral hygienists at the practice and, from time to time, it would be worth making an appointment.
Tooth brushing is one of the most important aspects of good oral hygiene. Others include flossing, diet and visiting the dentist regularly. Many people question their dentist as to which brand or type of brush is the best to use. Many have personal preferences, however, what is generally agreed on is that a soft brush is best. Medium or hard can cause damage and wear to the soft tissues surrounding the teeth, as well as unnecessary wear to the tooth’s outer surface called enamel. Brushes should be replaced often, usually after three to four months or after a bad cold or flu. Ideally, one should brush after each meal, but at least mornings and before bedtime should be made part of one’s normal routine.
Other common questions are what types of bristles a toothbrush should have. The answer again depends on personal preference, however, studies have found that synthetic bristles are best due to their ability not to split as often as natural bristles. This splitting of the bristle ends can cause severe gum irritations and eventually recession of the gums and tooth sensitivity. If one uses a synthetic soft bristled toothbrush that is replaced often, it will not cause this irritation.
Basic Brushing Tips
There are a few different methods considered acceptable when brushing your teeth. Whatever method you use, take the time to brush thoroughly with a recommended toothpaste every day. We recommend the following method to help maintain dental health and getting rid of plaque:
- Place the head of your toothbrush beside your teeth, with the brush tips at a 45° angle against your gum.
- Move the brush back and forth in short, semi-circle strokes several times, using a gentle ‘scrubbing’ movement
- Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom, keeping the bristles angled against your gum.
- Use the same method on the inside surfaces of all the teeth, still using short back and forth strokes.
- It is important to brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth and they will be constantly in contact with everything you put in to your mouth
- You must also clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and make several gentle up and down strokes with the front part of the brush.
- You should not forget your tongue, brushing it will help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
Flossing the teeth is a very important adjunct to tooth brushing for good oral hygiene. Studies have even demonstrated that those who floss regularly have a decrease in periodontal disease, bad breath and cavity incidence. Unfortunately, many people do not floss, and the result is an increase in periodontal disease. Flossing, as many people believe, is not used to remove food particles only. It is used to remove plaque under the gums, which is the invisible film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth.
Floss allows one to go in between the teeth and scrape the surfaces clear of this plaque and bacteria.
Basic Flossing Tips
An essential part of your routine, flossing removes plaque from between the teeth, which are areas where gum disease can begin. It can sometimes feel a little awkward to floss, talk to your dentist and follow the tips below to help you feel more comfortable in maintaining your oral health.
- Wind roughly 18″ of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Hold each end of the floss between your thumbs and index fingers, leaving about 1″ to 2″ of length in between. You should use your thumbs to direct the floss between your upper teeth.
- Keeping the 1″ to 2″ length of floss nice and firm between fingers, use index fingers to direct the floss between the lower teeth.
- Gently guide the floss between the teeth by using a zigzag motion. It is important to remember not to snap the floss between your teeth but using a smooth and flowing motion around each side of the tooth.
- Slide the floss up and down against your tooth surface and under the gum. This may feel awkward but it is important to get underneath the tooth to clean those areas. Move to a separate piece of the length of floss for each tooth to clean them thoroughly.