The first line of defense against dental disease is proper home-care. Your personal home care begins with a combination of eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using various home dental aids to help control plaque and bacteria.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with an ADA approved soft-bristle brush and toothpaste is vital to the health of your teeth. This is especially important just before going to bed at night. When brushing, follow this procedure:
- Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush all surfaces of the teeth including the outer, inner, and biting surfaces.
- Clean the inside of the front teeth with the tip of the brush.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Where possible, we recommend electric toothbrushes which can simplify this process. When using an electric toothbrush, place the bristles on your gums and teeth and turn it on, moving through the mouth several teeth at a time.
Flossing daily cleans between the teeth and under the gum line, disrupting plaque colonies that can cause serious damage to the gums, teeth, and bones if they are not cleared away. When flossing, follow this procedure:
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss free between them.
- Using the thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert it between the teeth and slide it back and forth in a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
For those who might struggle with this process, we recommend floss holders.
Many of our patients do not initially realize the importance of rinsing with water not only after brushing, but also after meals when a brush is unavailable. Mouthwashes and other over-the-counter rinsing products can be helpful, but it’s important to consult your dentist or dental hygienist to determine which products would be best for your individual needs.
Other Dental Aids
As each individual’s dental health needs are different, the dentist or dental hygienist may suggest the use of other dental aids based on your unique circumstances. Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, and many other options can all play important roles in your dental health. Your dentist or dental hygienist will provide you with proper use instructions for these aids should they find you need them.