Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.
How to Brush
For the most effective cleaning, Dr. Lowenguth recommends a soft toothbrush.
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.
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. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
How to Floss
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 into 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. To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefingers of both hands. Do not forget the back side 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.
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.
Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market 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” electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients
- Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove all plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator.
- Inter-proximal toothbrushes are small brushes that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your doctor.
- Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay.
- Tartar control toothpaste 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 stage of gum disease.
- Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring the early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.