Why is oral hygiene so important?
Our hygienists would love to talk to you about the importance of preventative care visits.
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) 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 gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
For more information about Oral Hygiene or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bialko:
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 Fingerlakes Smiles Phone Number 315-252-7278.
Dr. Bialko recommends using a soft tooth brush. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. The most important area to remove the plaque in under the gums at the neck of the tooth. “Jab and Giggle” the brush fairly aggressively on both the cheek side and the tongue or palate side of all the teeth. Use moderate pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth and gums. Should your gums bleed with this technique it is because you have gingivitis, not because you are brushing too hard. Bleeding and soreness will diminish and likely disappear daily when you use this technique.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Lastly, you will need to clean the biting surfaces of your teeth. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing. You should allow approximately 2 minutes to effectively brush your teeth. That includes about 30 seconds on each of the: “outside of the lowers”, “inside of the lowers”, “outside of the uppers”, “inside of the lowers”, and finally a few seconds on the biting surfaces.
How to Floss
Periodontal disease nearly always starts 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. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.
Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 18” long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
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 gumline then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth as far as the gum will allow. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
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. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
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. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle, this is used to massage the gums after brushing and is of little or no value. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. For some prop;e these are important aids but if these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with a member of our team.
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 gumline so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Anti-plaque rinses, such as Listerine and Crest Pro-Health, are approved by the American Dental Association and contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
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.