Patient Education on Dentistry
How to Brush Your Teeth
The first step to properly brushing your teeth is to select the right tooth brush. A brush with soft bristles and a small head is best for the majority of the population.
Next, choose a toothpaste that includes Fluoride (unless your Dentist suggests something different for your specific needs). We suggest Colgate Total and Crest Multicare. Usually a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient for a thorough cleaning.
It is best to brush your teeth after every meal, but if that is not possible, brushing after breakfast and before going to bed is acceptable. Be sure to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, with 4 minutes being optimum.
To properly brush your teeth, hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, slanted toward the teeth and gums, with the bristles gently pressed against the gums so the bristles go between the teeth and gums. Gently sweep the brush down 6 to 10 times on all your teeth to remove any plaque. While brushing the chewing surfaces of your teeth, use shorter strokes to worked plaque out of the grooves. Finally, hold your tooth brush vertically to properly brush the backs of your teeth.
How to Floss Your Teeth
Flossing is a vital step in your oral health routine as it cleans the surface between your teeth that are not accessible by a tooth brush alone.
As with brushing, flossing is ideally performed after every meal, however if that is not possible be sure to do it at least once a day.
To start flossing, cut a 2 foot long piece of dental floss and wrap one end around the middle finger of your right hand and the other end around the middle finger of your left hand. Then use your index finger and thumb to gently glide the floss back and forth between your teeth. Do this between all of your teeth and you’re finished.
Electric vs. Manual Brushes
Multiple studies have been performed comparing the effectiveness of manual and electric toothbrushes. All of these studies have formed a single conclusion of the electric toothbrush’s obvious success over its manual counterpart.
In general, plaque is better controlled with the use of an electric toothbrush thanks to the movement and vibration of the brush head itself. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do a good job with a manual brush, just that an electric brush has obvious advantages.
The cause of bad breath can usually be found in the mouth and your Dentist can help confirm what exactly is causing the offensive scent. The most typical causes of bad breath include: bacteria growth on the tongue, food stuck between the teeth, tobacco or alcohol use, cavities, gum disease, and areas of the mouth that are healing from a procedure or injury.
Of course, not all bad breath is caused by mouth problems. Bad breath can also be caused by stomach problems, a sore throat, tonsillitis, your diet, or an infection in your air passages. Regular dental checkups can help determine the cause of bad breath and prevent its return in the future.
Dental Health & Your Diet
Sugary and acidic foods are your teeth’s worst enemy. The best way to avoid cavities is to limit (or totally eliminate) your sugar intake. This is good for your oral health and your general health as well. Limiting your intake of acidic foods, such as lemons and grapefruit, is also important because they can cause irreversible erosion on your teeth.
If you are going to eat sugar, be sure to brush your teeth and use mouth wash afterwards as sugar is a breeding ground for bacteria that can then cause bad breath, gingivitis, and tooth decay. Also, it is best to consume sugar after a meal, in the form of a dessert, or all in one sitting. Sipping a soda over an extended period of time, for example, is one of the worst things you can do to your teeth.
Fluoride & Decay Prevention
Scientists have confirmed the positive benefits of fluoride in regards to the strengthening of teeth and the reduction of tooth decay. Fluoride, which is usually in your drinking water, is absorbed by a child’s body and integrates itself into the structure of the teeth’s enamel as the child grows and their teeth erupt. This makes the teeth stronger and reduces their chance of tooth decay later in life.
Fluoride is also found in toothpaste and mouthwash to continue the benefits after a child’s teeth have fully erupted. If your family lives in an area that does not add fluoride to the drinking water, your Dentist should be able to direct you to fluoride tablets specifically designed for children.