Good oral hygiene is vital to the prevention of periodontal (gum) disease
It is important to brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes each time. Use a small head toothbrush with soft, round tip bristles. It is important to brush every surface of every tooth, so choose a system that is easy to remember. For example, you may start brushing at the back tooth on the left side of the upper arch, working around to the right cleaning each surface of each tooth carefully. Repeat the procedure with the bottom arch, making sure to remember the back surface of the very back teeth. This method ensures that no teeth will be missed. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth with the edge of the bristles directed toward the gumline and brush in small gentle strokes. Make sure to “sweep” the loosened debris away from the gumline so it can be rinsed out of the mouth. The toothbrush should be replaced every two to three months, as it can become a bacteria breeding ground. It should be replaced sooner than that if it becomes worn.
Flossing between teeth daily is critical to clean the areas that a brush cannot reach. If flossing is skipped, then 35% of the surfaces of the teeth have not been cleaned. There are a variety of dental flosses available. Avoid choosing very fine floss, as it can cut the gums. There are a number of flossing aids available. Very fine interdental brushes can be worked between natural teeth and around restorations effectively cleaning the surfaces. For those who have a dental bridge, a floss threader facilitates cleaning under the bridge. Oral irrigators, such as Waterpiks can be extremely helpful for those who wear braces.
Use good quality fluoride toothpaste that isn't too abrasive. Many of the brands advertised for whitening are highly abrasive. A small amount, about the size of a pea is all that is needed. For small children a light smear of toothpaste is sufficient. The toothpaste may also contain triclosan, which is an antibacterial agent that may be helpful in reducing mild gingivitis.
Antimicrobial mouthwashes, such as Listerine, Periogard, or Peridex, may help reduce plaque, and therefore facilitate the prevention of gingivitis.
Maintaining regular dental checkups and professional cleanings by a hygienist is crucial to the prevention of periodontal disease. The hygienist can clean the areas that brushing and flossing cannot reach. Regular exams enable diagnosis and early treatment of any oral conditions that do arise.
Call 415-881-4343 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Leo Arellano for a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning today. It is the first step down the path to lifetime optimal oral health.
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