Three out of four adults are affected by poor oral hygiene at some point in their lives. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is through good tooth-brushing and flossing techniques performed daily. As your leading oral hygiene dentist in Norwalk, CA, we have decades of experience keeping our patients’ teeth healthy and strong at Alondra Dental Care.
What makes a dentist necessary? Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque, which is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. Through thorough daily brushing and flossing—and regular professional cleanings at the dentist’s office—you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Dr. Victoria Abad, our oral hygiene dentist in Norwalk, CA, recommends using a soft to medium 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 to brush the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
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. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next, you will 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. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you’re done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
If you have any pain while brushing your teeth or have any questions about oral hygiene for our dentist, please call our office in Norwalk, CA at 562-484-0650 for a dental checkup.
Proper tooth cleaning isn’t complete without flossing. Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective oral hygiene practice to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it’s important to develop the proper technique.
Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) 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. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.
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’re done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Don’t be alarmed if your gums bleed or are a little sore during the first week of flossing. 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 teeth are sensitive to hot and cold after dental treatment. This should not last long 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 oral hygiene dentist. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
There are so many oral hygiene products on the market that choosing between them 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 plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with using the irrigator. We see excellent results with the electric toothbrushes called Rotadent and Interplak.
Some toothbrushes have rubber tips on the handles. This is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly, you could injure the gums, so discuss proper oral hygiene use with your doctor.
Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under 6 years of age. 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 early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (hardened plaque) to a minimum, but a professional dental 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.