It’s our ultimate goal in treating dental patients that each of them have a beautiful, healthy smile which will last for a lifetime. Each individual’s home care regimen plays an important role in reaching that goal.
Healthy personal home care begins with eating balanced meals, reducing consumption of sugary snacks, and properly utilizing appropriate dental aids that can help to control the plaque and bacteria which typically cause dental disease.
Tooth brushing – You should brush your teeth at least two times per day. It’s especially important to brush before going to bed for the night—and be sure to use ADA approved toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Position the brush at an approximate 45 degree angle to the gums, and brush gently, using small, circular motions. Be careful to do this in such a manner that you can always feel the bristles on your gums.
- Brush all surfaces of each tooth—inner, outer, and biting surfaces.
- Be sure to clean the inside of the front teeth, using the tip of the brush.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue. This step is crucial in removing bacteria and freshening your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are highly recommended. They are easier to use than the old “manual” brushes, and have been shown to remove plaque more efficiently. Just place the bristles of your electric brush on your gums and teeth, then allow the brush to do its job. Some electric brushes can clean several teeth at once.
Flossing – Daily flossing is a very important method of cleaning between the teeth and below the gum-line. The flossing process disrupts the buildup of plaque colonies and helps to clean the spaces between the teeth. Proper flossing helps to prevent damage to teeth, gums and bone.
- Use 12 to 18 inches of dental floss (as determined by what is comfortable for you). Wrap the floss around the middle fingers of both hands, leaving about 2 or three inches of floss between your hands.
- Use your forefingers and thumbs to guide the floss. Gently insert the floss between teeth, using a gentle “sawing” motion.
- Wrap the floss around each tooth in a “C” shape, and gently clean the sides of the tooth and beneath the gum-line. Work the floss up and down on each tooth, cleaning the sides all teeth.
If you find it difficult to use regular floss, a floss holder may make the task easier for you.
Rinsing – It’s very important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing / flossing —and it’s especially important to rinse when you are unable to brush. If you use an over-the-counter product to rinse, you should consult with your dentist or dental hygienist to be certain that your preferred product is appropriate for your situation.
Other dental aids that may be recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist include the following: rubber tip stimulators, interdental brushes, irrigation devices, tongue cleaners, medicated rinses, and fluoride treatments. Each of these may be useful in your case for developing a good personal dental home care plan.