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Preventive Care

The main reason for going to the dentist regularly is prevention – prevention of tooth decay, gum disease, and other disorders that put the health of your teeth and mouth (and even your whole body) at risk.

Like most people, you don’t exactly look forward to meeting up with a dentist’s drill. So wouldn’t it be better to prevent cavities before they begin to form?

The most important part of oral care happens at home. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

The best way to do this is to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once every day. Brushing and flossing are the most important things that you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Brushing and Toothpaste

The Enemy: Sugar and Starches

Did you know that starchy foods left on teeth may turn to cavity-causing sugar if not promptly brushed clean?

In addition, brushing the debris left behind from sugary snacks helps to eliminate the sugar turning into damaging acids, which may also be harmful to teeth and gums.

The importance of brushing

The single best way to remove harmful plaque – a thin, sticky film of bacteria – from teeth and gums is to brush teeth regularly and properly.

What is the proper technique for teeth brushing?

Because every mouth is different, there is more than one technique of brushing that has proven to be effective. Deciding which technique is most appropriate for you depends largely on your teeth position and gum condition. Consult your physician and/or dentist to determine which brushing technique is most appropriate for your mouth.

Generally, most dentists recommend a circular technique for brushing. This includes brushing only a small group of teeth at a time – gradually covering the entire mouth. The importance of maintaining a circular or elliptical motion is emphasized as using a back and forth motion may cause the following:

  • a receded gum surface
  • an exposed and tender root surface
  • a wearing down of the gum line

Instead, dentists recommend the following method:

 

a dentist instructing a young girl on proper toothbrushing techniques

  1. Place the toothbrush beside your teeth at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Gently brush teeth only a small group of teeth at a time (in a circular or elliptical motion) until the entire mouth is covered.
  3. Brush the outside of the teeth, inside of the teeth, the chewing surfaces, and in between each tooth.
  4. Gently brush the tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.
  5. Repeat steps one through four at least twice daily, especially after meals and snacks.
What type of toothbrush should be used?

A toothbrush head should be small – about 1 inch by 1/2 inch – and should have a handle suitable for firm grasping. The bristles of the brush should be soft, nylon, and rounded at the ends. This helps ensure that the brush bristles are reaching the spaces between the teeth as well as the surface. Some brushes are too abrasive and can wear down the enamel on teeth. Thus, in most cases, medium and hard bristles are not recommended.

How often is brushing necessary?

Generally, brushing is recommended twice a day for at least three to four minutes each time. Patients generally think they are brushing long enough, when, in fact, most people spend less than one minute brushing. In addition, it is generally better to brush three to four minutes twice a day instead of brushing quickly five or more times throughout the day.

Dentists advise brushing your teeth during the day while at work, school, or play. Keeping a toothbrush handy – in your desk or backpack – increases the chances that you will brush during the day.

What is toothpaste?

 

Also called dentifrice, toothpaste is comprised of the following cleaning ingredients (stated in approximate percentages):

  • humectant and water – 75 percent
  • abrasive – 20 percent
  • foaming and flavoring agents – 2 percent
  • pH buffers – 2 percent
  • coloring agents, binders, and opacifiers – 1.5 percent
  • fluoride – .24 percent
Facts about toothpaste

Brushing with toothpaste helps to accomplish the following:

  • remove plaque
  • resist decay
  • promote remineralization
  • clean and polish teeth
  • remove teeth stains
  • freshen breath
Which type of toothpaste is best?

Dr. Gaba recommends flouride- free toothpaste readily available in various health stores. Please call our office for further inquiries.