Oral Hygiene – Hoover, AL
Why is Oral Hygiene So Important?
Did you know that adults over the age of 35 lose far more teeth from periodontal (gum) disease than they do from cavities? In fact, research indicates that gum disease affects three out of four adults at some point in their life. If you want to prevent gum disease and cavities, you’ll want to stay committed to proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques every day.
Bacterial plaque causes both periodontal disease and tooth decay. A colorless film, plaque sticks to your teeth at the gum line. It constantly forms on your teeth, but thorough daily brushing and flossing removes these germs. This prevents gum disease and tooth decay.
Why Choose Moulton Dentistry for Oral Hygiene?
- Caring Team Focused on Keeping Your Family Educated
- Welcomes Families and Children of All Ages
- Professional Recommendations for Products That Meet Your Needs
How to Properly Brush Your Teeth
Our office recommends using a soft- or medium-bristled toothbrush. Angle the brush at 45 degrees, ideally where the teeth meet the gums, then gently move it in a circular motion. This should be done several times with small strokes, gently brushing the outside surfaces of your tooth enamel. Apply light pressure when brushing between teeth. Use less pressure if you start to feel discomfort.
After you’ve cleaned the outside surfaces, switch to the inside surfaces of your back teeth. Apply the same technique.
Hold the brush vertically to clean the inside surfaces of your upper and lower front teeth more easily. Use several back-and-forth motions over your tooth. Make sure to brush the surrounding gum tissue as gently as possible.
Clean the biting surfaces with short gentle strokes. Change the position of your brush as needed so you can reach all of your surfaces. Use your bathroom mirror to confirm that you’ve cleaned each surface. Once completed, vigorously wash your mouth out with water to remove any plaque that you loosened during your brushing.
Floss the Correct Way
In most cases, periodontal disease starts between teeth. Since your brush cannot reach these areas, you’ll need to use dental floss to remove plaque. Flossing is the most effective way to remove plaque from the vertical surfaces of teeth. This is why we emphasize the importance of developing proper technique. With these instructions, you’ll be better equipped to perform better oral care, just make sure to practice daily.
Begin by removing a piece of waxed floss, pulling about 18 inches worth. Wrap this floss around your middle finger of one hand as gently as possible. The rest should be wrapped around the middle finger of your other hand.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger to clean your upper teeth. Then, gently slide the floss between your teeth. Use a back and forth motion, rather than forcing the floss. Avoid snapping it into place as this can damage your enamel. Push the floss towards the gum line, then curve it so that it creates a C-shape against your tooth. Slide it into the space between your teeth and stop once you start to feel resistance. Carefully move the floss up and down onto the side of your tooth. Both sides of your tooth need to be cleaned, so keep this in mind once you move on to the next space. Floss all of your upper teeth and avoid cutting your gum tissue between your teeth. Once plaque collects on the floss, turn your finger so that it wraps around it, providing you with a clean section for additional teeth.
Cleaning bottom teeth starts by guiding floss using the forefingers of both of your hands. Make sure to clean the back side of the last tooth on both sides, including your upper and lower teeth.
Rinse your mouth out vigorously with water when you are done to remove loosened plaque and food particles. If your gums bleed or feel a little sore after your first week of flossing, do not be alarmed. If your gums do feel sore, try to use less force next time to avoid accidentally pinching your gums. Flossing daily and removing plaque will become easier and the bleeding and soreness should stop as you perform the habit daily.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Teeth can feel sensitive to hot and cold temperatures following your dental treatment, which is normal. While this feeling does not last very long, you’ll need to make sure that your mouth stays clean. An unclean mouth will only continue to experience sensitivity and could become severe if left untreated. Those who have particularly sensitive teeth should talk to their doctor. They’ll likely recommend medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse designed for those with sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
With so many oral care products on the market, it can become daunting to choose one that fits your needs. Below, we’ve included tips and suggestions for choosing dental care products that work for most of our patients.
To start, automatic or electric toothbrushes are generally safe and ideal for most patients. While oral irrigators help rinse your mouth out more thoroughly, they cannot remove plaque and therefore should not replace brushing or flossing. Always use them in tandem with brushing and flossing, not in place of them. We often get fantastic results from electric toothbrushes provided by Interplak and Rotadent.
If you find a toothbrush equipped with a rubber tip in the handle, it’s used to massage the gums after you’ve brushed. Tiny brushes, or interproximal toothbrushes, are used to clean areas between your teeth. Always discuss the use of these products with your doctor first as improper use can actually injure your gums.
If used in tandem with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can dramatically reduce tooth decay, sometimes as high as 40 percent! However, we do not recommend that you provide these rinses to children under six years of age. If you have tartar above the gum line, tartar control toothpastes can offer great benefits. Just keep in mind that gum disease starts below the gum line, which means these toothpastes haven’t been proven to reduce the early stages of gum disease.
If you choose an anti-plaque rinse approved by the American Dental Association, they should contain agents that control the early signs of gum disease. Use these products to compliment your brushing and flossing, not replace them.
Professional Dental Cleaning
While at-home care minimizes tartar and calculus, professional cleanings at our office help to remove it entirely. They also help you remove tartar from areas you might have missed. Visits to our office are an essential part of your long-term prevention against dental disease and keeping your teeth healthy for life.