Oral Hygiene in Medford, OR
When it comes to the health of your teeth, the most important factor is making sure they are kept clean and healthy. We at Siskiyou Smiles believe in educating our patients on the importance of at home oral care and hygiene so that they can count on their teeth for the rest of their life.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Gum disease is the number one reason adults age 35 and up lose their teeth. This is a rather disturbing fact. Why? Because gum and periodontal disease can easily lead to the loss of multiple teeth, whereas decay generally is an issue that affects a singular tooth.
So, what causes periodontal disease? The buildup of bacteria plaque and tartar from lack of brushing and flossing leads to this malady. When you have gum disease there are a few things that you can expect. Firstly, your gums will be easy to bleed as well as red, and inflamed. Gum disease ultimately leads to tooth loss, bone loss, and soft tissue loss. The results can be devastating unless steps are taken to reverse it.
The bottom line is, you want your teeth to last you a throughout your whole life and they can if you take great care of them.
How to Brush
If you experience pain or irritation during brushing please call us at (541)779-6401 as this could be the sign of a more serious issue.
First thing is first, to brush properly you need to have the right brush. The most important part of any toothbrush is that it has soft bristles. Medium and hard bristled toothbrushes can actually do more harm to your teeth than good. How? The enamel on your teeth can get scratched up and damaged by harder bristled toothbrushes, or even by firm brush strokes. So a soft bristled brush and a light hand is recommended when brushing your teeth.
The best method for brushing your teeth is to position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums meet your teeth. Using gentle pressure, move the brush in a small, circular motion to brush the outside of your teeth and gums. Do this for the outer and inner surfaces of all teeth.
To clean the biting surface of the teeth, use short, gentle strokes. If you end up needing to change to position of the brush to hit all the surfaces of the tooth, do so. The idea is to leave no surface unbrushed, to ensure that all bacteria on the outside of your teeth and gums is swept away. Rinsing several times with water is advised as this can help to wash away bacteria.
How to Floss
Flossing can help a tremendous amount in the fight against gum disease and tooth decay. One of the most overlooked forms of at-home oral care is flossing. So many people avoid flossing because they believe it to be inconvenient, or a waste of time. Flossing is probably the best way to combat tooth loss that we (as an industry) know of today.
We get asked a lot what the best kind of floss to use is and the answer generally varies with the desired effect. If you are looking to remove a lot of plaque buildup the best kind of floss with be something with a lot of texture, like woven floss. If you are looking for something that can help you to maintain the good hygiene you already have, a waxed floss may be the better choice. If your teeth are very close together or have tight gaps that are difficult to floss between than a waxed floss will be easier to use. If your teeth are spaced far apart and are easy to floss, the woven floss is probably a better choice.
There are also flossing tools that you can buy to help you reach those teeth in the back of your mouth more easily. What it all boils down to is, floss is floss and whatever you prefer to use is the best kind of floss to use.
Start with a piece that is about 18 inches long and lightly wrap it around both of your index or middle fingers, depending on which grants you more comfort. The key to flossing is being gentle, if your gums bleed easily, or if your experience pain or discomfort while flossing, make sure to go easy and be gentle. Insert the floss between the teeth using a back and forth, rocking motion. Once the floss is between the teeth, bring it down the side of one tooth until it touches the gum line. You can gently massage the gums with the floss if you like. Then bring the floss back up the side of the opposite tooth. It is important to remember that between each set of teeth is two teeth that have to be cleaned.
Once you reach the end of a row of teeth, make sure to loop the floss around behind the last molar and gently rub the back of the molar. Make sure to clean between every single set of teeth! It’s best to find a normal routine when flossing – always start at the same spot and work your way to the back of each row until you have flossed between every set of teeth.
When you are done flossing, discard the floss in the trash and rinse vigorously with water to help remove any plaque or tartar you have made loose. If it has been a while since you had a normal flossing routine, don’t be surprised if your gums bleed for the first couple of weeks. If your gums are a little sore, that’s a pretty normal reaction as well. If your gums hurt, or ache throughout the day you may be flossing too hard. As you continue to floss, your gums will become healthy and bleed less.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
After a dental treatment it is common for teeth be a little sensitive to hot and cold sensations. The key is to make sure you keep them clean, brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. The sensitivity should subside in a week or so. If the sensitivity persists, or gets much worse, make sure to contact us at (541)779-6401 to setup an appointment as this could be the sign of a more serious issue.
When to Brush and Floss
Timing your brushing and flossing can be just as important as the acts of brushing and flossing. If you brush your teeth and then eat a candy bar right before bed, you have just done a great disservice to your teeth as they will marinade in decay causing bacteria attracted by the sugars in the candy bar until you brush again. Brushing right before bed, or after you are certain you won’t have any more food is the best time in the evening.
Ideally, the best time to brush in the morning would be after you have eaten breakfast. Flossing can be done either in the morning or the evening, but the best time is right before bed or after your last meal.
Choosing the Right Oral Hygiene Product
There are more oral hygiene products on the market today than ever before. Some of them are great, some maybe not be worth your time, here is a little bit of information on what we at Siskiyou Smiles suggest.
Automatic, electronic toothbrushes are popular, safe, and effective for most of our patients. Sonicare produces an exceptional product that we believe can give you the most bang for your buck. When it comes to oral irrigators (AKA water-sprayers), they do a decent job of rinsing your mouth out with water, but they do not replace a brush in any way.
Many brushes today come with integrated rubber massaging tips on the back of the brush to stimulate the gums after brushing. Make sure to consult us about proper use in your particular case as sometimes they can damage or irritate the gums.
Very small tooth brushes, called interproximal toothbrushes, are also available for purchase at your local drugstore. These are generally meant to clean between teeth, or in places that are hard to reach with a full-sized toothbrush. Care should be taken when using one of these as it can be easy to damage and irritate the gums if too much pressure is applied.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes can help to reduce the occurrence of cavities by up to 40%. When used on a regular basis, dental products containing fluoride can help your teeth to last you your whole life. Products containing fluoride are not recommended for children under the age of 6. Your gums are just as important as your teeth when it comes to oral health, so while it’s great to keep your teeth clean you have to make sure to keep great care of your gums as well.
Just as important as brushing and flossing is coming in twice a year to have your teeth cleaned professionally. During this time, we can remove any plaque and tartar you may have missed and ensure that your teeth are healthy and without issue.