Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
Seasonal Reminder: Cold and Flu season is rapidly approaching. You should replace your toothbrush after any illness you may have over the winter. Also, keep toothbrushes from touching each other whenever possible.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.
Denture Care & Cleaning
According to the American Dental Association, dentures should be treated just like natural teeth and should be brushed and rinsed daily to remove food and plaque. In the morning and at bedtime are the best times to brush. Brushing helps prevent staining and also keeps your mouth healthy. For dentures, it is best to use a brush designed for cleaning dentures, or a toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Gently brush all areas of the denture and be careful not to bend the attachments or bend the plastic.
Dentures can be cleaned with:
- Hand Soap
- Mild Dishwashing Liquid
- Ultrasonic Cleanser (does not replace daily brushing)
- ADA-approved products (such as Efferdent)
Do not use household cleansers and many types of toothpaste as they may be too abrasive. Also, do not use bleach should as it may whiten the pink portion of your dentures.
To keep your dentures from becoming damaged and losing their shape when you are not wearing them, it is important to keep your dentures moist by keeping them in a soaking solution or water. Dentures should not be placed in hot water, as they could warp. If you have metal attachments, check with your dentist on the best method of caring for your dentures.
Floss Threaders – For any patient with bridge work these are a must for proper maintenance on their investment. Floss threaders enable you to feed floss under a bridge to clean the root surfaces of the teeth that are holding the bridge in place. They also help to keep food from being trapped under a bridge that will cause gingival irritation or problems.
Electric Toothbrushes – can be beneficial for all age groups. In general an electric toothbrush can be highly effective in decreasing the amount of buildup and stain that forms between professional cleanings. It also promotes proper technique for increased effectiveness on both the teeth and gingival tissues. For anyone with limited dexterity it makes brushing easier and more effective than manual tooth brushing alone. For children it adds a “fun” factor to brushing that can help encourage good brushing habits as well as a timer to ensure enough time is spent brushing. As with all products there are some that are more effective than others. We recommend any of the Braun Oral-B electric brushes.
White Strips – Bleaching teeth has become a more frequent request over the past few years. Many patients are interested in brightening their smile. Although there are in- office treatments that can be done, we often recommend that our patients try the professional white strips available only at dental offices first. Professional white strips contain 15% peroxide while over the counter products have between 5-8%. Many times this can be a very cost effective way for patients to get the results they are looking for.
Antimicrobial rinses – We do recommend that an antiseptic rinse be used (for example Listerine/ Crest Pro-Health). These rinses dramatically decrease the bacteria content in your mouth that contributes to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. The bacteria in your mouth have also been shown in studies to be linked to heart disease.
Fluoride Rinses – In some cases when children tend to be more susceptible to decay we feel a fluoride rinse may be beneficial for the overall health of the teeth. An ADA-approved fluoride rinse can help to strengthen the teeth as well as help re-mineralize areas of the enamel that are just starting to break down.
For more information on dental care and products, please visit the American Dental Association website.