Oral Hygiene helps retain your teeth and gums throughout your life.
Gum disease affects your entire body, not just your teeth.
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Periodontal disease has also been shown to increase the incidence of heart disease and ulcers. There are numerous disease entities that can affect your gums, requiring different treatment approaches. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life.
The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by daily brushing, flossing, and maintaining routine cleaning appointments and checkups.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. If not thoroughly removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove most of these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Periodontal (Gum) Maintenance Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing you can remove most of these germs and prevent periodontal disease. Because the plaque can get underneath the gumline where toothbrushes, (including water pick style, and sonic style toothbrushes) cannot reach, it is essential that you get your teeth professionally cleaned regularly.
Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors besides plaque, including:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
How to Brush Dr. Kindt recommends using a soft tooth brush. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes brushing all the surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
Be sure to brush your tongue.
After you are through, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing. Mouth rinse can used after brushing and flossing.
Flossing Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. Your dental hygenist can review flossing techniques with you. It may take some time and practice to perfect. Either waxed or un-waxed floss is fine.
Do not be alarmed if, during the first week of flossing, your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop. If not, call the doctor.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with Dr. Kindt. We may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth, or treatment may be indicated.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in addition to using the irrigator.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle. This is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth and are especially helpful for people with fixed bridges. However, if these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your hygenist.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses used with brushing and flossing can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Generally, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes and OTC (over the counter) plaque rinses may reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gumline, so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease. However, our office carries ADA (American Dental Association) approved, Rx strength rinses that can help to regain your dental health.
Whitening toothpastes are very gritty and long term use can be damaging to your teeth, causing sensitivity. There are better options for whitening, so please discuss with your hygenist or Dr. Kindt.
Professional Cleaning is needed to keep your gums healthy. Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (the calcified plaque that brushing has missed) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in the places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your cleaning visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease.