When you brush your teeth, follow these simple tips to get the best results:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Use a small strip of fluoride toothpaste
- Move the brush in small, circular motions to reach around the gum line
- Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, pointed towards the gums
- Be sure to brush all surfaces of the tooth, including the top, front, back, and any accessible sides
- Don’t forget to brush the tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse
Properly brushing your teeth will take you several minutes to complete, but it is important to do so as a means of protecting your teeth from damage or decay.
For best results, brush your teeth four times a day. This will help you avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque. The best times to brush your teeth are:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
As soon as your toothbrush bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste while brushing, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finished. It is important to brush and floss daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach, dental floss can remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
To properly floss your teeth, just follow these simple steps:
- Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser
- Wrap each end of the floss around your middle fingers
- Guide the floss between your teeth, moving the floss up and down the sides of each tooth and going all the way to the gum line
- Gently remove the floss from between your teeth and unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go along so that you use all of the floss
- Be sure to floss behind all of your back teeth
If you do not floss regularly, your gums may bleed a little when you begin flossing again. If bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let the dentist or your hygienist know during your next appointment.
Tooth Decay Prevention
Tooth decay is a progressive disease that results in the interaction between bacteria that are naturally on the teeth and the sugars that are part of our everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the protective mineral in teeth and resulting in a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, thus restoring the tooth to a healthy state.
Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, covering it and making it stronger). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental check-ups, diet control, and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene can help you avoid unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.
The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As bacteria react with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.
Dental sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth (molars and premolars) and other areas that are prone to cavities. Sealants can for several years, but they need to be checked during regular appointments.
Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water that is treated with fluoride, and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.
If you have any questions about our tips for proper oral hygiene in Corpus Christi, Texas, please feel free to contact our office at 361-730-1420. Dr. Robert Madry and our team want to ensure that you have all the necessary information to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile for life.