Dental Self-Care Education
Self-care education is an ongoing process that occurs during each hygiene appointment at our office.
We understand that home oral hygiene is an essential component of care and our patients recognize the importance of self-care education as related to total health care.
We customize oral hygiene routines for our patients based on their thoroughness of plaque removal and history of adherence to recommended protocols.
Toothbrushing and flossing are the basic means of plaque removal and are very important to minimize the amount of bacteria and plaque in the mouth. We teach brushing methods or a combination of methods that meets the needs of specific patients. We recommend brushing twice a day with a soft bristle brush with light pressure.
Proper Tooth Brushing Technique
Start brushing in the back and work forward with bristles directed 45-degree angle to the tooth with gentle circular motions. Continue around the top teeth. Then repeat this process for the lower teeth. Brush the back surface of the upper front teeth direct the bristles toward the gum line and downward flick. Point the bristles toward the gum line. Flick the bristles up, away from the gum line in a sweeping motions. Brush the top surface of the upper and lower primolars and molars, using circular motions. Brush your tongue for 30 seconds and the inside of your cheeks for 30 seconds. Daily tongue cleaning results in reduced numbers of pathogenic bacteria on the tongue and in the saliva.
Most of our patients prefer electric toothbrushes. It has been documented many times in literature, patients with compromised physical and mental conditions, as well as those with orthodontics and implants can benefit from the use of an electric toothbrush. However we have observed that other patients can also benefit from these devices. Most electric brushes feature timers. This feature is particularly beneficial for helping patients increase brushing time.
Certain electric toothbrushes have shown to remove plaque and reduce gingivitis better than manual ones. They may also provide better stain reduction. We have a big selection of sonic and power toothbrushes available at our Office.
Using floss is critical to remove dental plaque biofilm from between teeth where brushing alone can’t reach. By flossing teeth daily you increase the chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime. Research has shown that individuals who floss regularly have less biofilm, gingivitis, bleeding, and calculus.
Wrap the ends of an 18″ to 24″ section of floss around your middle fingers. Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers. Leave about one inch of floss between your hands. Gently work the floss between your teeth when reach the gumline, curve into a “C” shape around the tooth, making sure to go below the gum line. Gently glide the floss up and down several times between each tooth, including your back teeth. Apply pressure against the tooth while flossing. Your gums may bleed for the first week until the plug layer is broken up, bacteria are removed, and your gums heal.
Alternative Methods of Cleaning Between Teeth
A plastic prong floss holder, to aid in a patient’s flossing technique. The floss holder holds the floss so patient doesn’t need to use own fingers.
A plastic flexible floss, or a fine flexible wire carrier, to remove plaque from areas where flossing through the contact cannot be accomplished.
A thicker floss used to clean large embrasure spaces as well as fixed bridges.
A small brush used interproximally for bacterial plaque removal.
Usually recommended for a single area that is difficult to reach/access with a regular toothbrush.
A pyramid shaped flexible rubber or plastic tip. Functions as a stimulator for gingiva, reshaping gingiva after perio surgery or damaging effects of gingivitis, improves keratinization which then increases tissue resistance to trauma.
Pulsating water stream created by a mechanized device to flush an area with water or an antimicrobial agent. Daily home irrigation in combination with manual toothbrushing has been shown to be more effective in the reduction of gingival bleeding than manual toothbrushing and flossing.
Home irrigation may have benefits for patients with gingivitis or for those in periodontal maintenance.
Delivers a quick burst of air and microdroplets that reaches between teeth to gently and easly remove interproximal plaque biofilm.