Your personal dental health depends on how well you take care of your teeth at home. Good oral hygiene is key to maintaining overall health. Brushing alone will not prevent cavities and gum disease. It is recommended that you brush and floss twice per day and see your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning.
If you live in Southern California feel free to Schedule a New Patient Visit with us in Zak Dental offices in Agoura Hills, Covina/San Dimas, Downey, Long Beach, North Park, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley, Temecula, Valencia, Ventura, and Whittier/La Mirada, California.
For all your dental needs, schedule an appointment by calling the Zak Dental office at 833-ZAK-TEAM.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for promoting overall health and preventing dental issues.
Here are key practices and tips for effective oral hygiene:
Frequency: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bedtime.
Technique: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush in gentle, circular motions, reaching all surfaces of your teeth, gums, and tongue.
Replace your toothbrush: Change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
Frequency: Floss once a day to remove plaque and debris between teeth and along the gumline.
Technique: Use dental floss or interdental brushes to clean between teeth. Be gentle to avoid damaging the gums.
Use an antimicrobial mouthwash: Rinse with an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash to help reduce plaque, fight bacteria, and strengthen teeth. Consult your dentist for recommendations.
Regular Dental Check-ups:
Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. Professional cleanings help remove plaque and tartar that may be difficult to reach with regular brushing and flossing.
Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit sugary snacks and beverages, as they contribute to tooth decay.
Limit Acidic Foods:
Acidic foods and drinks can erode tooth enamel. Consume them in moderation and rinse your mouth with water afterward.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps rinse away food particles, reduces dry mouth, and promotes saliva production, which is beneficial for oral health.
Avoid Tobacco Products:
Tobacco use increases the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. Quitting smoking or using smokeless tobacco benefits both oral and overall health.
Use a Tongue Cleaner:
Gently clean your tongue with a tongue scraper or the back of your toothbrush to remove bacteria and prevent bad breath.
Wear a Mouthguard:
If you participate in contact sports or grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth from injury or damage.
Address Dental Issues Promptly:
If you experience dental pain, sensitivity, or notice any changes in your oral health, schedule an appointment with your dentist promptly.
Remember, maintaining consistent oral hygiene practices is key to preventing dental problems. If you have specific concerns or questions about your oral health, consult with your dentist for personalized advice and guidance.
Why brushing the gumline and contact areas of my teeth is so important?
How do I brush them properly?
Effective cleaning along the gumline requires angling your toothbrush bristles to get them into the gingival sulcus – a cuff of tissue where the tooth emerges from the gum.
Brushing is not effective in areas where adjacent teeth are in contact and flossing is necessary.
For the most effective cleaning, brush only a few teeth at a time, moving in small circles and making sure the bristles maintain contact with the tooth surface.
If you are using long, straight strokes, you are going to leave plaque and biofilm between the teeth. The result is tooth decay and gum disease. The black line shows the path made by a “straight line brush” and the amount of plaque left behind.
Effective brushing means that the bristles are pushed into the point of contact. This means that in two to three months they will wear out and need to be replaced.
How Can I Brushing Problem Areas and Keep My Teeth Clean and Healthy?
If our teeth were flat, smooth, and regular in shape, brushing them properly would be a breeze – but they’re not. They are curved in all dimensions. They’re actually quite rough and unpredictable. In addition, their position in the jaws may be crowded and overlapping.
This creates food traps and causes plaque to build up in areas that are difficult to maintain. You should brush at least twice a day, preferably after each meal and snack, for about two minutes to remove bacteria-rich plaque and biofilm from your teeth and gums. It’s the cause of nearly all dental problems.
But if that’s not convenient, you can help reduce harmful acid levels in your mouth by rinsing with fresh water after every sugary snack. There are four main areas where a lack of brushing can be a problem:
The first is where the teeth come out of the gums. Failure to do so can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Effective cleaning along the gumline requires angling your toothbrush bristles to get them into the cuff of tissue where the tooth emerges from the gum. For the most effective cleaning, brush only a few teeth at a time, moving in small circles and making sure the bristles maintain contact with the tooth surface. If you are using long, straight strokes, you are going to leave plaque and biofilm between the teeth. If this is allowed to build up, it will lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
The second is where the adjacent teeth curve into their point of contact and below the point of contact. Effective brushing means that the bristles are pushed into the point of contact. As a result, they will wear out and will be in need of replacement in two to three months. Brushing is not effective in areas where adjacent teeth are in contact and flossing is necessary. Here is a look at what the layers of your teeth look like. Here is what tooth decay looks like as it moves through your teeth. Failure to floss between your teeth can also be the cause of periodontal disease.
Another area where incomplete brushing can lead to tooth decay is in the pits and fissures of the back teeth. It’s really easy to miss the upper back teeth. The bite plane curves upward in the back, away from your toothbrush. Be sure to angle bristle tips upward.
The fourth major area of concern is around dental work, such as crowns and fillings. Failing to do so can cause your dental work to fail and lead to losing teeth and needing even more dental work. In addition to causing tooth decay, tooth loss, bad breath, painful infections, and periodontal disease, oral bacteria have also been shown to contribute to heart disease, stroke, and other systemic problems such as diabetes.
That is why it is important to learn how to take care of your mouth. To clean your teeth effectively, you need to focus on these four problem areas. These are where almost all oral health problems begin. And keep in mind that if your teeth are crooked or overcrowded, it may be especially difficult for you to take care of them.
Should I switch to an electric toothbrush and why?
Electric toothbrushes offer a number of advantages over manual toothbrushes. Because they are powered by a motor, many more brush strokes can be achieved in a session, allowing more bacterial plaque to be removed than with a regular brush, which can help reduce the incidence of tooth decay and gingivitis.
Some models produce sound waves that kill bacteria by bursting their cell walls, increasing the effectiveness of the brush – even where the bristles miss.
Some power brushes beep or momentarily stop the brush to let you know when it’s time to change areas of the mouth.
Electric toothbrushes are great for people with arthritis, whose limited dexterity may make it difficult to brush effectively with a manual toothbrush.
Finally, electric brushes often have a timer that tells you when your brushing session is over.
Be sure to talk to your dentist about whether or not an electric toothbrush can help you improve your oral health. And remember, no matter how effective your brushing is, you still need to floss daily to prevent periodontal disease and the type of decay that occurs between teeth.
What is the right way to floss my teeth to keep my gums healthy?
Daily use of dental floss is necessary for the cleaning of the contact area between teeth.
To get the floss to fall between your teeth, wrap it around your fingers, tighten it, and gently pull it toward the contact point, wiggling it back and forth if necessary.
Once through the contact, fit the floss around the front surface of the back tooth as far as you can.
Use an up-and-down motion to lift the plaque and wipe the biofilm from the surface of the tooth.
Next, adjust the floss to fit the back surface of the front tooth and repeat the process.
When you are finished, pull the dental floss back up through the contact.
Unwrap a fresh piece of floss and move on to the next point of contact.
To avoid cutting yourself when flossing, be careful not to saw back and forth across your gums when flossing, and make sure you floss between all your teeth.
What is an interdental brush and how do you use it properly?
If you have a fixed bridgework or other dental work that prevents cleaning between the teeth, the use of an interdental brush may be of help.
Use the tip to clean along the edges where a restoration meets the tooth, and be sure to clean where a regular toothbrush can’t get – like under the connectors.
Dental floss cannot pass between the teeth, leaving the tooth underneath the brackets vulnerable to decay and periodontal problems. Decay at the edges is common.
Bridgework retainer crowns are even more at risk. They are difficult to clean, even when the margins are below the level of the gum.
It is an important place not to miss because food and bacterial plaque still find their way in.
For patients with orthodontic brackets and bands, an interdental brush can remove plaque from around the brackets and in the triangular space formed by the arch wires and two adjacent teeth.
The interdental brush can also be used to clean under the bars of the denture retainer. Patients with impaired dexterity may need a caregiver to help clean underneath the bar properly.