Brushing and flossing your teeth may be more important than you think. Gingivitis, an early phase of gum disease, is inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque and bacteria above the gumline.
If left untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious and damaging stage of infection and resulting gum inflammation. Recent studies have demonstrated there is an association between periodontitis and certain systemic diseases, such as stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, which remains a leading cause of death in both men and women.
More research is needed and is underway to better understand the exact nature of this association and the potential impact serious gum disease may be having on these systemic conditions.
Fighting oral bacteria and gum inflammation associated with gingivitis by brushing andflossing regularly (after every meal) is a simple step that people can incorporate into their daily routines to help keep their mouths healthy, and this may have a positive effect on their overall health.
General Dental Hygiene
It is essential to visit our Dental Hygienist on a regular basis at our office even if you come in regularly for dental treatments. Our Dental Hygienists are o focus on preventing and treating oral diseases-both to protect teeth and gums, and also to protect our patients’ total health. We can also provide Sedation for Deep Cleaning to patients who require this.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on teeth, including where toothbrushes can’t reach. Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids. Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but there are others that you might not realize can cause harm. Starches—such as bread, crackers, and cereal—also cause acids to form. Plaque also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding. This can lead to gum disease, in which gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that fill with bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed and teeth may become loose or have to be removed.
How can I get rid of plaque?
The best way to remove plaque is by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day. Brushing removes plaque from the tooth surfaces. To brush your teeth properly, use gentle, circular motions on the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth. Dr Stan always reminds his clients to brush gently as forceful strokes result in gum reduction. While most people brush for only about a minute, Dr Stan recommends that his patients brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice per day with a soft-bristled brush.
Even better if you’re not convinced that you’re spending the adequate amount of time brushing your teeth, you might want to invest in a power toothbrush with a two-minute timer so that you give yourself the necessary time to clean your teeth.
The size and shape of your toothbrush should fit your mouth and allow you to reach all areas easily. Use an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from decay. Clean between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners to remove plaque from between the teeth, where the toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is essential to prevent gum disease.
How do I brush and floss my teeth?
Dr Stan recommends the following techniques for brushing and flossing your teeth:
• Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
• Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
• Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
• Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
• Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
• Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
• Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
• When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
• Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
• Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
• Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
Is there anything else I can use to clean my mouth?
A mouth rinse, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, can increase the cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity, which cause gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay.
Always check the manufacturer’s label for precautions and age recommendations and talk with Dr Stan about the use of fluoride mouth rinse.