WHY IS ORAL HYGIENE SO IMPORTANT?
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 gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
THE BENEFITS OF PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING INCLUDE:
- Plaque Removal. Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal problems. Unfortunately, even with a proper home brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria, and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or hygienist using specialized dental equipment is necessary to catch potentially damaging build ups.
- A Healthier Looking Smile. Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the aesthetics of a smile. Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in ridding the teeth of these otherwise unsightly stains.
- Fresher Breath. Bad breath (or halitosis) is generally indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of rotting food particles (possibly below the gum line) and potential gangrene that stems from gum infection results in bad breath. The routine removal of plaque, calculus, and bacteria at our office can noticeably improve halitosis and reduce infection.
CHOOSING ORAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS
There are so many products on the market that 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. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Rotadent and Interplak. 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 Dr. Arnold.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. 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 stages 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.
Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. However, a balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.
How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies, and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth to feed on it. They then produce acids which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying your tooth enamel.
Sticky/slow to dissolve foods:
- granola bars
- chewy fruit snacks
- dried fruit
- potato chips
- hard candy
- Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids.
Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Professional dental cleaning is performed at our office or by our highly skilled hygienists. We recommend that prophylaxis be performed twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be completed every three to four months for periodontitis sufferers. It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but prophylaxis is one of the tools Dr. Arnold can use to effectively halt its progress.
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment performed to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Prophylaxis is an effective procedure in keeping the oral cavity in proper health and halting the progression of gum disease.
PREVENTING POOR ORAL HYGIENE
Here, at Dr. Hal N. Arnold, our hygienists can teach you how to properly clean your teeth using a manual or electric toothbrush and by using tools such as dental floss to clean between your teeth. We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have regarding changes in your breath, feelings in the texture or presentation of your teeth, sores in your mouth or tongue, or whatever issues have come up since your last cleaning. (Don’t hesitate…we’ve heard it all before!)
When the bacteria is deeper, these tools are less effective. At this point, it is important to have your hygienist work with you to eliminate the bacteria and follow up with you on the response of your gums.