How important is it to brush and floss for healthy teeth and gums?
Whether you are blessed with strong teeth or experience dental issues, it is equally important to devote some time daily to thoroughly clean the teeth to maintain dental health at home. without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach stages that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay, gum and periodontal disease.
What is a plaque and why it is formed?
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat or drink. These acids can destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities and gingivitis (gum disease). If this plaque remains undisturbed for 24 hours, it converts into a hard deposit called tartar or calculus which contributes to developing gum & periodontal disease and cavities. Once calculus is formed, it can no longer be removed by brushing or flossing alone, at this point it has to be removed by a skilled dental hygienist.
Regular brushing and flossing are the best way to remove plaque day by day. However, plaque and calculus can develop above the gums and underneath the gums, this is why professional dental care is an essential aspect of optimal dental care. Visiting the dental hygienist every six month or more often (as recommended) for scaling/ periodontal therapy is equally important along with in-home care.
How to brush properly?
We recommend electric tooth brush for optimal homecare in most cases. But if manual tooth brush is used with proper technique twice daily with 2 mins. each time, it is equally as effective in plaque removal. Don’t hesitate to discuss with your hygienist which method/ tool is best for you.
To keep the teeth plaque-free and clean, practice the following manual brushing routine and technique twice daily (ideally in the morning and at night)
- Always use a brush with soft bristles with rounded tips. Don’t fall for hard bristles because they may harm the teeth and the gums.
- Choose a brush that can easily reach each tooth comfortably. For kids, select a small toothbrush that can reach their teeth easily.
- Change the toothbrush every 3-4 months. A worn-out toothbrush cannot clean your teeth properly.
- For cleaning technique, tilt the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gums, so that the bristles can reach the food debris just under the gumline. Gently massage the gum line at each spot with gentle and small back and forth motions. Then sweep the bristles across the tooth surface away from the gums. Always clean the front and inner gum line.
- Brush down for the top teeth and upwards for the bottom teeth.
- Gently sweep into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To overcome bad breath and remove bacteria, don’t forget to gently scrub the tongue as well. An uncleaned tongue is a major reason for halitosis.
- Remember to brush long enough and thoroughly to remove the plaque from the teeth.
- Ideally, it is recommended to brush after every meal and snack. Since the lifestyles are busier now, it is important to brush at least twice a day, and the most effective time is bedtime.
How to floss properly?
Since brushing cleans the surface of your teeth, it is necessary to floss to get in between the teeth where the bristles cannot reach. There are many ways flossing can be achieved for exam by regular floss, floss picks or water flossing. Don’t hesitate to discuss with your hygienist which method/ tool is best for you.
Follow these steps for the most effective way of flossing using regular floss.
- Take out for about 18 inches of floss for adults and a piece as long as a child’s arm for children.
- Wrap the floss around one finger of each hand.
- Between your thumb and forefinger, hold for about an inch of the floss tightly.
- Pull the floss between each tooth using the gentle up and down motion.
- Curve the floss tightly around the teeth at the gum line and scrape the sides of every tooth, moving the floss away from the gums. Don’t forget the backside of the last tooth.
- If flossing is not into the routine, your gums may bleed or may feel tender. It is normal. It bleeds when the plaque is being broken up and the bacteria is removed.
- Contact a dentist if bleeding does not stop or feels abnormal.
- Remember to be very gentle when flossing your teeth and under the gum line. Never force or harshly move the floss.
Why isn’t brushing enough?
The tooth has 5 surfaces, but the toothbrush can reach up to only 3 surfaces. In between the teeth are the 2 untouched surfaces and they need to be cleaned as well. These two untouched surfaces make it easy for the food to be trapped in between. The trapped food, later on, creates grounds for bacteria to build up. This causes plaque in between the teeth. This is where floss comes to the rescue and it acts as an interdental cleaning tool. 80% of the plaque can be removed from these tight spaces with the help of regular flossing.
Benefits of flossing:
- It protects your gums and helps prevent Gingivitis.
- It protects the teeth and removes the plaque which can cause cavities due to buildups.
- Flossing after every meal is an easy step that not only helps you practice good oral hygiene but also helps in maintaining a healthy diet as flossing after eating makes you less tempted to snacks.
Why it is important to see a dentist and dental hygienist regularly?
Regular dental visits are important because they not only help to keep your teeth and gums healthy but these visits assure and optimal overall health. During the cleaning, your dental professional performs a thorough dental exam and your dental hygienist ensures that your periodontal health is maintained by removing plaque biofilm and tartar buildup and it may be recommended to polish your teeth to remove any surface stains and fluoride application is also recommended for some patients. You should have a regular dental visit at least twice a year or as recommended by your dental professional.
Guidance from Clean Smile Dental Hygiene Clinic
Here at Clean Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic, we recommend our patients have a dental examination every six months. A complete dental checkup with recommendations for customized dental treatment for optimal dental health is provided by Dr. Haider and highly trained and experienced Dental Hygienists Anila Irfan and Carla Schreiber. We offer a customized and amazing periodontal program at our clinic. Our dental hygienists provide a custom periodontal plan to improve your oral and dental health after the treatment. Book your appointment now at (780) 800-6655