Oral Hygiene

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal dis

ease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

How to Brush

If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office at Houston Office Phone Number 713-690-2555.

Nova Dental Care recommends using an extra soft to soft tooth brush or purchasing a sonicare electric toothbrush. When using a manual brush, be sure to change your toothbrush at least every 3 months.  When using a Philips Sonicare, or any other electric toothbrush, be sure to replace the brush heads every 3 months. 

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1.  Place bristles tilted along the gumline at a 45 degree angle.  Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and gumline.  Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.   Be sure to maintain the 45 degree angle the entire time you are brushing.

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2.  Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back and forth motion.  Move brush to the next group of 2-3 teeth and repeat for all outside surfaces. 

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3.  Continuing to maintain a 45 degree angle with the brush bristles, gently brush using back, forth and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces. 

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4.  To brush the front teeth, tilt brush vertically behind those teeth.  Make several up strokes using the front half of the brush.  This should create gentle, heel-to-toe motioned strokes starting from the gums and pulling away towards top of the tooth. 

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5.  To clean chewing surfaces, place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion.  Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.   

Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface properly. After you are done, rinse well with water or an antiseptic mouth rinse (Listerine) to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.

Proper Flossing

Periodontal disease and cavities usually appear between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.

Brushing alone only removes about 50% of the plaque in your mouth.  Studies have shown that when flossing is combined with brushing up to 70% of plaque is removed.  Flossing will enable you to reach areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush, specifically between teeth and under the gumline.  The selection of a dental floss will be based on individual need and preference.  However, it is important to develop the proper technique to achieve maximum benefit.  The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice!

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1.  Wind 18″ of floss around middle fingers of each hand.  Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving 1″-2″ length in between.  Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth. 

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2.  Keep a 1″-2″ length of floss taut between fingers.  Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth or harder to reach areas.

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3.  Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion.  DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH.  Contour floss around the side of the tooth in a c-shaped motion.  Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.

4.  Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline.  Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.

When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first 1-2 weeks of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. Bleeding from flossing is a sign of bad bacteria between the teeth so continuing to floss is necessary to remove it.  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.

Instructional photos provided by Sunstar Americas/GUM brand.

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe.  Sensodyne toothpaste is highly effective at controlling mild-moderate cold sensitivity, however it does take about 2-3 weeks for you to see results as the medication in it has to build up in the teeth.  If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor or hygienist for recommendations or prescriptions. 

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 the patients.  We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Sonicare.

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. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your doctor.

Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.