Dental Upkeep

Flossing

Flossing may be a new part of your daily hygiene regimen. It’s important – crucial – to maintaining strong, healthy teeth and gums.

The main cause of gum disease is the sticky, colorless film that’s constantly forming on your teeth – plaque. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate and begin to destroy supporting gum tissue. Flossing removes the small bits of food between teeth that brushing misses, and – most importantly – disrupts and removes accumulating plaque and bacteria. Flossing also lightly stimulates the gums, keeping them pink, resilient and healthy.

What kind of floss?

You can use waxed, un-waxed, mint-flavored or whatever appeals to you. There is no “best” brand. You may find waxed floss is easier to get between teeth. You may also prefer flossing tape or yarn to the standard string floss.

How to floss?

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around your two middle fingers. Pull the floss taut and insert the string between the teeth with a gentle sawing motion. Bring the floss up and down the sides of both teeth five or six times, lightly touching the gum. Don’t force it. After flossing each side of the teeth, pull the string out, again with an easy sawing movement. Don’t forget the far sides of your back four teeth. When the floss becomes frayed or soiled, wind a new section around.

After flossing

Rinse vigorously with water or a recommended mouthwash, then brush.

If you have any questions about flossing, or want us to check your technique, just ask.

Fluoride

Fluoride is an important component of dental health, and we’re lucky to have fluoride in our drinking water. As a result, people in our community have much lower cavity rates than those in areas without fluoridation programs.

Fluoride is added to the water supply in very low concentrations as a preventive measure against cavities. This is great for the general population, but some children and adults may require even greater protection. That’s why we recommend using fluoride toothpaste and at times will apply topical fluorides after dental treatments. If your child is showing signs of early decay, we may even suggest vitamin supplements containing fluoride.

Our hygiene department has a periodontal program and a “new” schedule of appointments. In the past if you saw your dentist twice a year for cleanings, and now have been told you have perio issues, the rules have changed. Why?

We know more now. We know 90% of the population has some level of gingivitis or periodontitis. We know only 7% are being treated. We know gum disease causes 70% of all losses of permanent teeth.

So we’ve developed more sophisticated means of diagnosing the disease, early on, when symptoms may be faint, painless. For some people, periodontal problems can flare up in a matter of weeks. In light of this, six months between periodontal assessments is dangerous. Our goal is to monitor each patient’s tissue health before any significant disease can take hold.

Gum disease, once underway, is incurable. But it is treatable. So we’ll want to see you more often, just to be on the safe side.

Tooth Brushing

Many adults are still faithfully brushing the same way they were instructed as children. We’ve learned a lot about dental hygiene since – and what was considered good brushing techniques back then is not necessarily effective now. Since periodontal disease stems from a build-up of plaque and calculus (tartar), proper brushing plays a crucial role in controlling and preventing bacterial growth and infection.