Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good, daily tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
How To Brush
While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, 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. 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.
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office.
How To Floss
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. 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 clean 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 in to 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 clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the backside 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 hot and cold. This should not last long, provided your mouth is kept clean. If your mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market that it may become 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.
Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Rotadent and Interplak.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle; this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so be sure discuss proper use of these brushes with your doctor.
If used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. 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.
Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your hygiene visit in our office is an important part of maintaining excellence oral health. We look forward to helping you keep your teeth for a lifetime!
Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. However, a balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.
How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies, and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth feed on it, they then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying tooth enamel.
Sticky/slow to dissolve foods:
- Granola bars
- Chewy fruit snacks
- Dried fruit
- Hard candy
Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles, and neutralizing harmful acids.
Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay causing bacteria in the mouth.
Your Child's First Visit
The first "regular" dental visit should be just after your child's second birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dentist.
We will gently examine your child's teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child's permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child's teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child's teeth.
What Should I Tell My Child About Their First Dental Visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child's reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Some First Visit Tips
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
What Will Happen During The First Visit With Your Dentist?
- Examination of your child’s mouth, teeth, and gums;
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking;
- Check to see if your child needs fluoride;
- Teach you about cleaning your child’s teeth and gums;
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits;
What About Preventive Care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand-in-hand. At our office, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child's teeth. Sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child's lifetime of good oral health.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their foods the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person's saliva also makes a difference. Thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva that allows more acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Tips For Cavity Prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what you drink.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby's teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2-1/2 years old.
At around 2-1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don't. Don't worry if some teeth are a few months early or late. All children are different.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth, but they are important to chewing, biting, speech, and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
It is estimated that 80% of the adult population has some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a broad term used to describe the bacterial infection that can occur in the gums and bone that support the teeth. Periodontal disease is almost always pain free in its earlier stages; therefore it often goes unnoticed by patients for years.
Periodontal disease affects more than just your teeth and gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, and low birth weight. Recent studies describe the association between heart disease and periodontal disease to be at least as strong as the linkage of heart disease to cholesterol, body weight, and smoking. People with periodontal disease (over half of the population), have an infection that causes chronic inflammation of the gums. The infected tissues create a path for these bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
Early Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Gums that are pulled away from the teeth
- Pus between teeth when gums are pressed
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Change in the way your teeth fit together when biting
- Changes in the fit of partial dentures
- Bad breath
When left untreated, periodontal disease will progress and result in acute illness and eventual loss of teeth. Although the rate of periodontal progression is undeterminable, it can be interrupted by periodontal maintenance performed in our office.
Regular hygiene visits and proper home care can keep your smile healthy!
Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.
Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque and can be accelerated by a number of different factors. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Mouth and Snore Guards
Mouth Guards are worn to provide protection to your teeth. Several contact sports require athletes to wear Mouth Guards to reduce the risk of injury to patient’s teeth. Injury caused by trauma when a Mouth Guard is not worn can result in damage or loss of teeth.
Patients that grind or clench their teeth also wear mouth guards. Severe damage to the teeth and jaws can occur from grinding or clenching. If left untreated, TMD (Tempromandibular Joint Disorder) can develop. There is an increased need for Root Canal Therapy and restorative procedures when grinding and/or clenching is habitual.
Snore Guards can be fabricated for those patients who snore or suffer from sleep apnea. The device is worn in the mouth at night and assists in keeping the airway open, which in turn reduces or eliminates snoring, as well as allows for easier air flow.