Oral Hygiene Instructions
Adults over 35 lose more teeth due to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque.Plaque is a colorless film which sticks to your teeth at the gum line.
Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush
While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, 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. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
When you are done 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 done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing. If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call our office.
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 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 gum line 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 backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
When you are done, 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.
A tongue scraper is great for removing bacteria and food debris on the tongue. These substances get stuck in the deep crevices of your tongue, and if not removed, the byproducts give you bad breath. After brushing, a tongue scraper followed by a rinse is frequently the best way to control bad breath.
The tongue scraper may have two sides, regular and soft. Usually you will use the regular side.
Hold the scraper with two hands, between the thumbs and forefingers. Bend the scraper so that it forms a “C”. Stick out your tongue and start scraping from back to front several times. You will notice a creamy film develop on the scraper. Rinse it off. Repeat the scraping and rinsing until the film coming off your tongue is clear. Rinse and dry the tongue scraper. It is designed to last a long time.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market that it can become confusing, and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic and "high-tech" electric toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the patients. Oral irrigators(water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle. This is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with Dr. Georgescu.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stages of gum disease.
An antibacterial rinse is just that, a rinse that cuts down on the bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities, plus it reduces those bacteria and the bacterial byproducts that cause bad breath. After scraping your tongue, it is recommended that you use a non-alcoholic anti-bacterial rinse, (for example: BreathRx or Crest Pro Health Rinse, etc). This will significantly decrease the bacteria and volatile sulfur compounds (the substances responsible for bad breath). It will improve the health of your mouth and you will be a delight to be near. Why a non-alcoholic rinse? Most mouth rinses (such as Scope) contain a high percentage of alcohol. Alcohol dries your mouth out. Just put some alcohol on your hand and observe how quickly the skin dries out. Using a mouth rinse with a high alcohol content may make your mouth smell nice for only a short period of time. Once the alcohol begins drying the tongue and gums, your breath can actually smell worse than before you used it. Therefore, an alcoholic mouth rinse is not recommended.
Use a very small amount (you need less than you think) of mouth rinse and swish for 10-15 seconds and spit it out. No rinsing with water.
Congratulations! You are on your way to excellent oral health.