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Dental Hygiene

Proper dental hygiene is essential to maintain your oral health. In addition to regular check-ups and professional cleanings, there are many steps you can take at home to help keep your smile beautiful and healthy.

General Dental Hygiene Tips

The videos below include general oral hygiene tips that are helpful for everyday dental care. They cover proper brushing and flossing techniques. They also include information on choosing the right type of toothbrush for your needs.

Brushing

Proper brushing removes plaque build-up and can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. You should brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.

Place the brush at a 45-degree angle and gently move it back and forth over your teeth. Be sure to brush the gum line, outer and inner areas of your teeth, and the chewing surfaces. You should also lightly brush your tongue to remove bacteria. Replace your brush when it starts to wear down or every 3-4 months at a minimum. Additionally, you should get a new toothbrush after you've been sick.

Manual vs. Electric Brush

When choosing a type of toothbrush, you have two main options: manual and electric. Both types are able to remove plaque as long as you use proper brushing technique twice a day. In general, electric brushes make it easier to brush effectively, but they are more expensive. Manual brushes are more common and affordable. However, they do require more work for proper brushing. If you are not sure which type of brush to use, consult your dentist for personalized recommendations.

Flossing

Flossing allows you to remove plaque and food particles in areas that your toothbrush can't reach, such as between your teeth and under your gum line. You should floss once a day.

Start with about 18 inches of floss and wind the majority of it around your middle fingers. Leave a small section of about 1-2 inches to work with. Keep the floss taut and slide it up and down in between your teeth, gently moving it underneath the gum line on both sides. You should never force the floss as this can cut or bruise your gums. Use a clean section for each pair of teeth.

Using a Water Flosser

A water flosser uses a stream of water to clean between your teeth and under your gum line. Studies show that it is best used in addition to traditional flossing and is more effective than flossing alone. If you have braces, dental implants, or other hard-to-reach areas, it can be even more helpful.

When using a water flosser, start with a lower pressure setting and work your way up over time. Fill the tank with water and turn the unit on. Guide the tip across your gum line, starting in the front of your teeth. You should then move to the back and repeat this process.

Specialized Advice for Oral Hygiene

If you have restorations or an oral appliance such as a nightguard, the videos below give specific tips for how to care for your oral health. Beyond following these instructions, ask your dentist about any other steps you should take for proper dental hygiene. Following this advice can help ensure your restorations last longer. It can also prevent infection.

Traditional Bridge

A bridge requires daily care just like your natural teeth. However, unlike with natural teeth, you need to be sure to clean underneath the prosthetic tooth/teeth as well to prevent plaque build-up. In addition to regular brushing, you should use Super Floss or a floss threader. Insert this where the replacement tooth sits on top of the gums and pull until the spongy part touches the bridge. Then, gently move it across your gum line underneath the bridge. You should also clean the side of your natural teeth on either side of the bridge.

Implant-Supported Bridge

The process for an implant-supported bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, but you should be sure to use floss or an interdental brush to clean between the implants and adjacent natural teeth.

Implant Dentures

You should brush your implant dentures with a non-abrasive denture toothpaste twice a day. In addition to brushing the teeth, you should brush the pink acrylic portion of the denture as well. You need to care for not only the denture itself but also the tissue underneath. You can clean the space between the denture and your gums using Super Floss, an interdental brush, or an air/water flosser.

You should also visit your dentist regularly so the restoration can be removed and professionally cleaned. Additionally, the screws securing it will need to be replaced regularly.

Removeable or Partial Dentures

Always handle your dentures with care when you remove them for cleaning. You should brush and rinse them daily with a denture toothpaste, as well as removing and rinsing them after you eat. You should never use any hot water, abrasive materials, or bleach-based products. Additionally, it’s recommended that you place your dentures in water or a denture-soaking solution overnight to make sure they stay moist.

Dental Implants

Caring for a dental implant is fairly similar to caring for natural teeth. You should brush twice daily and floss once a day. You may need to use a special brush to clean hard-to-reach areas around the implant. If you have any questions, consult your dentist.

Night Guards/Oral Appliances

Cleaning your night guard or other oral appliance helps keep it sanitary and intact. This helps protect your dental health and your investment. After wearing the appliance overnight, rinse it with warm water. Do not use hot water as this can cause warping. You can also brush the night guard using a small amount of mild soap. Do not use any toothpaste or any abrasive substance for cleaning. Allow the appliance to air dry, then place it back in its case. You should also clean the case regularly.

Helping You Maintain Your Oral Health

We are committed to helping you care for your teeth. In addition to completing treatment and cleaning in our dental office, we can help guide you in taking the proper steps at home to maintain your smile.

If you have any questions about proper dental hygiene, reach out to our team. We are happy to help.
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