Daily oral hygiene
You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. An effective oral hygiene routine keeps your teeth clean, breath fresh and contributes to the prevention of gum disease. Effective brushing technique is vital.
Below are some easy steps to follow on brushing effectively.
- Your tooth enamel can be damaged by scrubbing if you use a hard brush, select a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head so you can access hard to reach places including your back teeth. At Richmond Fine Dentistry we have a selection of toothbrushes for your convenience.
- Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle against your gum-line; gently brush gum/tooth margin with short vibratory, circular motions and then softly brush from where the tooth and gum meet, to the chewing surface in short strokes. Brushing too vigorously can lead to receding gums and abrasion of teeth.
- With a short sweeping action, clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth, tipping the bristles allows you to get into the pits and crevices of your back teeth or molars.
- To clean the inside surfaces of your top and bottom front teeth and gums hold your brush almost vertically. Using a forward and back motion, bring the front part of the brush over the teeth and gums.
- To remove bacteria that can cause bad breath, brush your tongue and roof of your mouth. Use a forward-sweeping motion from back to front; it may take a little time to get used to, but it is an important part of total oral cleaning. Speak to us about the latest range of tooth/tongue cleaning brushes.
Interdental or between the teeth cleaning
Brushing cleans 60% of your tooth surfaces, for the other 40% interdental cleaning, especially before bed, is an essential part of your oral care routine. It will remove plaque build-up and food particles between your teeth where the tooth brush can’t access.
When flossing, be careful to avoid injuring your gums.
The following tips and advice from our team can help you maximise your flossing effectiveness:
- Using approximately 50cm of floss, wind it loosely around your middle fingers and hold the floss with thumbs and index fingers so you have about 1 cm of floss. Carefully insert the floss between two teeth using a back and forward sawing action. Curve the floss around the side of your tooth to make a curved "C" shape. Slide the floss up and down the side of each tooth. Gently push the floss under the gums as far as it can go whilst the floss is curved around the root of the tooth. Do not force the floss below the gums. Floss until you get a nice squeaky clean feeling.
- Remember each space has two surfaces to clean!
- Use a clean length of floss of approximately 7 centimetres for each tooth, repeat the process for all your teeth. Don’t forget to floss the back and sides of your back teeth. Although it can take some time to master, it’s an important part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
- Children's teeth also benefit from flossing. You should help your child brush and floss until they are around 8 years old as younger children are not able to do this effectively on their own.
- Interdental brushes are now a popular and often favoured way of cleaning between the teeth. No more "flossers finger"! Tooth paste can be used to enhance cleaning and deliver fluoride and other beneficial agents like Triclosan found in Colgate Total to the interdental tooth surfaces.
- Come into Richmond Fine Dentistry, we have a full range of interdental brushes. We would be happy to advise you on correct size of brush for you and brush technique.
How do I clean the surfaces where there are large gaps as is the case when teeth are missing?
You can use your floss or even a small toothbrush, but the "shoe shine technique" is ideal.
Shoe Shine Technique
Buy some 2in X 2in (5cmX5cm) gauze. Pull gauze at corners to create a long thick "floss" and use to polish the surfaces of the teeth facing onto the gaps and the very back surfaces. Toothpaste can be applied to gauze and use in a shoe-shine, back and forth motion, a bit like drying your back with a towel. This is a great tip for partial denture wearers.
Have you ever wondered about the wisdom of brushing your teeth with a dirty, unhygienic toothbrush, that contains millions of bacteria? There is a research suggesting that toothbrushes are a hidden source of infective material re-contaminating the mouth and causing illness.
For your health:
- Never share toothbrushes with other members of the family.
- Wash brush after each use with soap and cold water then rinse.
- Soak brush head in 2cm of Chlorhexidine mouthwash (Savacol) between uses. Change this solution every 2 or 3 days.
- Rinse brush before the next use.
Research is revealing that periodontal disease, stroke and coronary artery disease are linked.
Additionally there have been recent studies to indicate a connection between gum disease and higher instances mothers delivering pre-term and low birth-weight babies. Certainly much research is continuing, but at this stage we can accept that a healthy mouth is a prerequiste for a healthy body.
Although it has not yet been proven conclusively that periodontal disease contributes significantly to a heart attack, stroke and pre-term low birth-weight babies, there is a strong evidence to suggest that there is a statistical link. Many research studies continue.