Oral HygieneHow to Brush - If you have any pain while brushing your teeth, or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call our dentist office. Drs. Cook and Lere recommend using a soft bristle tooth brush. 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 brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort. Our office also recommends the Oral-B Triumph electric toothbrush. When you are finished 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 finished, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing. 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 gumline 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 back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower. When you finish flossing your teeth, 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.
Periodontal DiseaseAdults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by gum disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is daily tooth brushing and flossing, using the proper techniques. Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. Daily brushing and flossing can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, which gradually destroys 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. Periodontal disease can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is caused primarily by the bacteria found in dental plaque. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus or tartar. Because the disease is moderated by bacteria and their toxins, a special bacterial DNA test may be performed to target and reduce the specific bacterial strains that are causing the infection. Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition