Oral Hygiene Tips

A healthy white smile can boost anyone's confidence and self-esteem and regular dental visits and good oral hygiene at home is generally enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Believe it or not, good oral hygiene actually goes beyond keeping your teeth looking great, it also provides for a much more healthier YOU!

Swollen and infected gums due to gum disease are not only painful and unsightly, they are a direct gateway for harmful bacteria to enter your blood stream. Gum disease has been associated with the development of cardiovascular problems including heart disease and strokes and should be taken extremely seriously. Regular dental visits and proper oral hygiene care at home is enough to prevent serious health problems associated with gum disease.

We invite you to call us at 916-965-7188 or request an appointment online and come see us for a dental checkup. We will evaluate your current oral health and will provide a dental cleaning to help fight against gum disease!

There are many factors that can go into selecting the perfect toothbrush for you and we have provided a few characteristics that you can use when making a selection.

Power vs. Manual
As long as you are brushing on a regular basis and keeping up with your oral hygiene, your teeth and gums will be kept in a good and healthy condition. Powered toothbrushes are more expensive than a manual/disposable toothbrush but they are generally more effective because of the constant rotating or rapid back-and-forth movement of the bristle heads. Manual toothbrushes do cost less and require better technique to ensure proper plaque and tartar removal from your teeth and to ensure proper gum cleaning.

You should select a toothbrush (powered or manual) that has a bristle head small enough to properly maneuver around all surfaces of your teeth and gums. Make sure it can brush behind the back molars and get in back of your upper and lower front teeth.

Bristle Types
Most toothbrushes today come in soft, medium and hard bristle types. For most people, a soft bristle toothbrush is the best bet to start off with. Depending on how hard and vigorously you brush can affect which bristle type to go with. The harder the bristles, the better they are at removing plaque and tartar but harder bristles can also damage your gums and expose tooth root surfaces if not used properly.

It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time. Most people fall short when it comes to how many times a day one brushes as well as the length of time one takes to brush his or her teeth. Two full minutes might seem like a long time to do something as simple as brushing your teeth but the easiest way to hit this time is to divide your mouth into four sections (top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right) and give each section a good 30 seconds of brushing. In no time, you'll hit your two minutes and be left with a healthy and clean smile.

To properly brush your teeth, angle your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gumline of the outer surface of your teeth and while using short gentle strokes, sweep away any plaque that's build-up at the base of your teeth. Pay attention to your gumline and make sure to thoroughly brush around dental fillings, crowns and any other dental restorations. Now do the same thing but to the inner surfaces of your teeth and along the inner gumline. Next thoroughly brush the biting surfaces of your teeth again paying special attention to any dental restorations you might have to ensure they're cleaned of any plaque and food build-up. Finally brush the surface of your tongue to remove bad-breath-causing bacteria and gain that clean mouth feeling.

If you do not regularly brush your teeth, it can be common for your gums to bleed as the bacteria pockets open up and get cleaned out. Bleeding gums will go away after a very short time of regular brushing and flossing.

Don't Overdo It
You actually CAN brush your teeth too much. Brushing more than three times a day doesn't mean you'll have even cleaner teeth or even healthier gums. Brushing too much can actually damage your gums and wear down tooth enamel which can actually cause additional dental issues.

Flossing removes bits of food and any plaque build-up that is caught or stuck in the tight spaces between teeth and just below the gumline where a toothbrush cannot easily reach. Proper daily flossing combined with regular brushing is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent cavities and gum disease.

Floss is cheap, so don't be stingy. Wind about 18 inches of floss evenly around each of your middle fingers until one to two inches of floss is left between the two finders. Using your thumbs and index fingers, firmly grip the floss and slide the floss between your teeth. Curve the floss around the base of your tooth while using a gentle up-and-down motion, remove food particles and any plaque build-up between the two teeth. Take special note to make sure the floss reaches just below the gumline to ensure proper and thorough cleaning.

Repeat this step for all of your teeth and unwind a clean section of floss between your fingers as you move between teeth.

NEVER "saw" at your gums with dental floss or force the floss between teeth as this can damage gum tissue and be extremely painful.

Swishing mouthwash after brushing can help neutralize odor-causing bacteria in your mouth and the antibacterial ingredients used in some mouthwashes have been shown to kill residual bacteria in the mouth.

It is important to use the recommended amount of mouthwash and to swish it around vigorously for about 1 minute making sure it is able to cover all areas between your teeth and soft tissues. After swishing for 60 seconds, using the same solution, or new solution, gargle the mouthwash in the back of your mouth and throat for another 30-60 seconds. The time to use mouthwash is important while gargling because the back of the mouth and throat contain bacteria that can lead to bad-breath and is an area untouched by brushing and flossing. Finally spit out the mouthwash - do not swallow it! You may decide to rinse your mouth with water afterwards to remove the residual mouthwash or you can elect to leave residual mouthwash to work in your mouth.

Mouthwash is not a brushing and flossing substitute!
Mouthwashes do not prevent cavities and just from swishing it around in your mouth is not enough to remove plaque from around your teeth and does not remove odor-causing particles from your tongue like brushing would do.

Chewing gum naturally triggers your saliva glands to produce extra saliva. Saliva is your mouth's best natural defense against plaque build-up because it acts as a barrier over the surfaces of your teeth to make it more difficult for plaque to start forming and actually contains enzymes that can break down food particles in your mouth. If you choose to chew gum, it is recommended to chew a sugar-free gum to help prevent cavities.

On top of good oral home care, seeing us twice a year for dental checkups is the best combination of oral hygiene care to ensure a healthy smile that will last forever. Our entire dental team have gone through specialized training and use special dental tools and equipment to help us detect and remove plaque and tartar from your teeth before it causes any dental issues such as cavities and gum disease. To learn more about what happens during a dental checkup, click here.

If you are in need of a dental checkup now or if it has been some time since you've last seen a dentist, we would love to see you in for a cleaning.
Call us at 916-965-7188 or request an appointment here to get set-up to come in and see us.

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