Oral Hygiene


young woman brushing her teethWhen brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.

When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the above directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.

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.

Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth. To do this use short, gentle strokes. 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.

How to Floss

man showing how to flossPeriodontal disease usually begins 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.

To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each 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 gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. 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 upper 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.

To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the backside 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 or two of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

Caring For Sensitive Teeth

After dental treatment, your teeth may be sensitive to the air and/or cold. These symptoms should disappear as you gradually return to your daily dental hygiene methods. Take caution to adhere to your dental hygiene regimen, or the your teeth’s sensitivity can often become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with Dr. Benson. Dr. Benson may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse, or, in some cases, prescription strength fluoride.

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products

toothbrush, toothpaste and flosserThere are so many products on the market that it can become very confusing. Choosing from all of the dental products on the market can be overwhelming. Here are some of our suggestions to help you narrow down your choices. These are the products that we personally recommend, based off of past experiences with 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 such asSonicare and Rotadent.

Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle and this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean well between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with Dr. Benson, and your hygienist, Samantha Hughes, R.D.H.

If used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses 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.

Dr. Benson and his hygienist, Samantha Hughes, can help select the best products for your needs.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but Periodontal Maintenance (PM) is necessary to remove calculus on tooth surfaces that your toothbrush and floss have missed. Appointments with Dr. Benson and Samantha should be kept on a regular basis. Periodontal Maintenance usually requires 4 visits per year, on an alternating schedule with your general dentist.

Please call Northside Periodontics & Implants Phone Number 770-394-0007 to make an appointment.