Oral Hygiene

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth 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 gumline. 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

If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office at West River Office Phone Number 410-867-0247.

Using a soft tooth brush is recommended. 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 all surfaces of your teeth.

It is important to 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. After you are done, 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 fingers of both hands. 

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. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. 

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, keeping them plaque free, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products

With so many products on the market, it can become confusing trying to determine which products are right for you. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.

Electronic 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. 

Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Fluoride containing products are not safe for ingestion and are not recommended for children who have not learned to spit. 

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring gingivitis under control when used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus (tartar) in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease and keep your teeth for your lifetime.