Livonia MI Family Dentist Dr. DeCapite Helps Patients Maintain Dental HealthDr. DeCapite, along with his family and cosmetic dentistry team in Livonia MI, are prepared to answer any questions about dental health and appearance. In some cases, patients may need to visit a dental specialist, and we can recommend or provide information about them. We also encourage any questions about brushing and flossing, periodontal care, children and their dental care, and dental terminology.
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Oral Hygiene for Maintaining Dental Health – Tips from Livonia MI Dentist
Oral hygiene is important in preventing periodontal disease and tooth decayAdults over 35 lose more teeth as a result of periodontal disease (gum disease) than from tooth decay. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth, and if left untreated often results in tooth loss. Contemporary studies indicate that roughly half of adults in the United States have periodontal disease. Correct brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily, are key to preventing periodontal disease and tooth decay (cavities). In addition, periodontal evaluations and professional cleanings by a dentist are an essential part of maintaining dental health. Dr. DeCapite and his staff in Livonia MI recommend having this done at least once per year, or more frequently as your unique situation may warrant.
Periodontal disease and tooth decay are both caused by ever-present “plaque,” which is a thin film of bacteria that sticks to teeth at the gumline. Daily brushing and flossing done correctly are necessary to prevent periodontal disease tooth decay.
Brushing properly to clean teeth and gumsFirst, using a soft to medium tooth brush is recommended. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle at the gumline, and gently move the brush in a circular motion while brushing the outside surfaces of the teeth. Use light pressure while moving the bristles between the teeth, but not enough to cause discomfort. Also, gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
When finished cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, repeat the same process while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically and do several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Gently brush the surrounding gum tissue as well.
Finally, clean the biting surfaces of teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. When done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque that was loosened while brushing.
More information on proper brushing from the American Dental Hygienists Association.
Flossing properly to remove plaque from surfaces the toothbrush cannot reachPeriodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where brushing is simply not effective. Flossing, done properly, is a very effective way to remove plaque from those hard-to-reach tooth surfaces.
Start with a piece of floss about 18 inches 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 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. 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, move some 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. Don’t 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. If flossing hasn’t been done for a while, your gums may bleed or be a little sore for the first week or so. If your gums continue to hurt while flossing, do it more gently. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
More information on proper flossing from the American Dental Hygienists Association.
Teeth sensitive to hot and coldTeeth may sometimes become sensitive to hot and cold after certain dental procedures. This could persist or become more severe if the mouth is not kept clean. If your teeth are unusually sensitive, the dentist may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing oral hygiene productsThere seems to be universal agreement among dental professionals that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and food from teeth. Brushes with smaller heads are also generally preferred, since they are best at reaching all areas of the mouth, especially teeth in the far back of the mouth.
Toothbrushes should be replaced about every three months, or sooner if worn. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after a cold or flu, since the bristles can collect germs lead to possibe reinfection.
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, so brushing and flossing will still be necessary. Excellent results have been observed with electric toothbrushes called Rotadent and Interplak.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gumline 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.