We strongly recommend the use of an electric toothbrush. There are studies out there that show using one is much more effective in cleaning off the bacteria from your teeth than using a manual toothbrush. Your toothbrush should have soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
As soon as the indicator tells you to, or the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush head with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day. Most people think the main point of floss is to get food out from between the teeth, the reality is that a waterpik is much more effective at that!
Where floss shines is removing the plaque from the sides of the teeth. To do this you need to make sure you are not just popping it between the teeth, but also going on either side of the gum, wrapping the floss around the entire side of one tooth, and then going on the opposite side of the gum and wrapping the floss around the entire side of the other tooth. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers.. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Don’t forget to floss behind all of your back teeth as well!
You can floss as many times you feel like you need to during the day, but be sure to floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. This is normal! Once you are able to keep the area clean for about 2 weeks, then your gingivitis should resolve and you should see noticeably less bleeding. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few weeks, let a staff member know at your next appointment.
The WaterPik is a very effective tooth for getting food out from between your teeth. What they do very poorly is that they advertise very poorly. They call themselves a “water flosser”, it’s not a replacement for flossing! It’s just a very good adjunct.
To use it, fill the water tank full of warm water and aim the thin little tip between your teeth and try to get down between your gums and the teeth. This can get any sort of popcorn kernels or stray food that would have otherwise stayed between your teeth all night (yuck!). Be warned it can be messy the first few times that you do it! Once you’ve done it a few times with your mouth open and have a visual of how to use it, you may want to adjust by closing your lips and just hanging your head over the sink so you can better control the typhoon that is going on in your mouth and make bathroom cleanup a little easier.
The teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups help minimize and avoid cavities and other dental problems. Consumption of foods that contain sugars and starches should be decreased. These foods can include candies, cookies, chips and crackers. Healthier foods, such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, help promote stronger teeth.
As a baseline, you should visit your general dentist twice a year (once every six months). From there, the dentist and hygienist will see how much inflammation you have in the areas that you can’t clean at home. If there is minimal inflammation, we may extend this to 9 month visits. If there is lots of inflammation present, they will likely ask you to adjust your homecare routine and come more often for your cleanings. What is important is that we adjust your oral health routine to match you as an individual. In order to maintain a healthy smile, it is vital to have professional cleanings and regular check-ups. Your dentist will examine your teeth and provide an evaluation of existing dental problems and proposed treatment. If you have a dental emergency, you should call your dentist immediately.