Dental Health and Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily.
Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals.
Use dental products which contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
Rinse with a flouride mouth rinse if advised to do so.
Make sure children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area.
Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
The following are indications of good oral hygiene:
Your teeth are clean and free of debris.
Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss.
Bad breath is not a constant problem.
Taking Care of You
Dental Cleaning and Hygiene
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. A routine dental cleaning should include scaling, root planing and polishing. Scaling: this is the process of removing plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces in a variety of methods, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar.
Dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has lead to more modern methods such as electric scalers. This sophisticated tool allows dental cleanings to be performed more efficiently and in less time as well as minimizing trauma to the soft tissues. To achieve best results, both electric and manual scaling methods are combined for dental cleanings.
Root planing: this is the process of cleaning pockets in the gums to treat and prevent gum problems. Several appointments may be needed.
Root planing is used to treat moderate to advanced gum diseases. When the gum is inflamed, gum pockets become deeper and may lose connections to the bone inside. The deeper the pockets, the easier it is for plaque deposits to become trapped and worsen gum problems.
Polishing: this is the last step in tooth cleaning and involves finishing the surface of the teeth to make them shiny and clean. A rubber cup is used with a polishing paste made of abrasive ingredients to remove any surface stains.
In our office we recommend all of our patients, young and old, to get a fluoride treatment(s).
Fluoride benefits both children and adults. Here's how:
Before teeth break through the gums (erupt), the fluoride taken in from foods, beverages and dietary supplements makes tooth enamel (the hard surface of the tooth) stronger, making it easier to resist tooth decay. This provides what is called a "systemic" benefit.
After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a "topical" benefit.
In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.