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The main cause of periodontal disease and tooth decay is bacterial plaque. Plaque forms continuously on your teeth and is a sticky colorless film. It can be made more visible with the use of "disclosant" dyes. By removing plaque daily, you can prevent the damage associated with periodontal disease.

Daily plaque control is very important! Periodontal disease is the major cause of adult tooth loss. It affects three out of every four adults. Replacing lost teeth is the most expensive form of dental treatment. By making an investment of time into your daily plaque removal, you may be able to avoid thousands of dollars of replacement dentistry. Usually only ten to fifteen minutes a day are required to fully cleanse your mouth of these harmful bacteria.

Brushing- In general, a soft bristle brush is the most beneficial. Hard and medium texture tooth brushes can abrade the gum and cause recession. Additionally, soft bristles can flex into hard to reach areas. If the bristles of any toothbrush are worn, bent or frayed, replace the brush. A worn out brush will not clean the teeth properly. To clean the outside surfaces, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle(lower left) to the tooth where the gums meet the tooth. Using small circular strokes or small back and forth strokes, gently move the brush back and forth using light pressure. When you have completed the sides of all teeth, remember to brush the biting surfaces (lower right). If the gums are inflammed some bleeding may result, but usually stops after 2 weeks of brushing and flossing. After cleaning the outside, use the same technique on the inside. In areas where the brush does not have enough space to lay horizontally, such as the lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Finally, clean the biting surface of all teeth.

Toothpastes vary widely in their ingredients and their effectiveness. If you look at the selection in any dental section, you will soon be very confused. The most basic concept to remember is that there are specific pastes for specific goals. There are whiteners, tartar controls, cavity fighting, breath freshening; A listing is available by E mail of which ones our patients are advised.

Flossing- The most vulnerable area of the gum to periodontal disease resides between the teeth. Even the best brush designs cannot cleans this area. There are many different types of dental floss. Flossing is the most effective way to reach these areas. Technically, flossing may be difficult to master, but repetition will soon make flossing a secondary habit which can be done effortlessly. Begin with a piece of floss that is 18 inches long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle fingers of each hand, then grasp a length of about one inch between your thumb and index fingers. Gently insert the floss between the teeth. A slight "sawing" motion may be necessary to pass the floss between the tight contacts. Curve the floss into a tight "C" shape pulling it against one tooth until you feel tight resistance. Move the floss up and down against the side of the tooth, extending two to thee millimeters below the gum. As the floss becomes frayed or soiled, a turn from one middle finger to the other will bring up a fresh section. Do this every day.

Interdental brushes-Occasionally you will be instructed to use a small, conical shaped brush for additional cleaning between your teeth. These are particularly advantageous when there are larger spaces between your teeth. These should also be used once a day.

Rinsing- Rinse vigorously for as long as the manufacturer advises to dislodge plaque and food particles that have been loosened by the brushing and flossing. There are several brands of rinses, however only a few are beneficial. A list of the most effective rinses will be made available upon Email request

Irrigators- Oral irrigation devices are particularly helpful in removing food particles after meals, especially from around bridgework and other hard to clean areas. Additional clinical benefits can be accomplished with irrigation devices if a diluted, commercially available rinse is used instead of plain water. Irrigation systems .

Tongue Scrapers- The top surface of the tongue is a haven for plaque! Brushing the tongue is helpful, but using tongue scrapers is far more effective. Do this every night! You'll be surprised how much plaque you remove and how this contributes to breath freshness!


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