A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. This starts with eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly brushing, flossing and rinsing to help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Good oral care habits can be established by anyone committed to carving a few minutes out each day to make it happen. Like regular exercise, consistency and good technique are key. Think of your Dental Hygienist as a “personal trainer when it comes to dental home care. They will see how you are doing, work to improve your dental home care techniques, and quickly narrow down the endless dental options available to you in the drug store. They can also answer any questions - for example, would a Waterpik make more sense and reach deeper than floss for your condition? Should you use a prescription toothpaste due to high risk from a reduced saliva condition? Should you switch to an electric toothbrush?
Here are some tips to help with your home care:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
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 the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing also disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are at risk for caries or periodontal disease, check with Dr. Morrison or your Dental Hygienist about using an over-the-counter product for rinsing - one that has proven antimicrobial activity or is fluoridated.