About at Home Oral Care.

How to brush your teeth effectively.

Step 1: Place bristles along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Gently brush using a circular motion along the outer and inner tooth surfaces.

Step 2: Brush each tooth individually. Tilt the toothbrush vertically behind the front teeth. Using the front half of the toothbrush, use the same circular motion.

Step 3: Place the toothbrush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back-and-forth motion.

Finally, brush the tongue to remove odor-producing bacteria.

How to floss your teeth effectively.

Split off about 18 inches of floss and wind some of it around your middle finger (3 turns); this finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.

Next, shorten the length between the two fingers to 6 inches and wind some floss (1 turn) around the opposite middle finger. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth as you gently rub the side of the tooth with an up and down motion. Before retrieving it, reverse the C-shape to clean the adjacent tooth surface as well.

As you finish cleaning each tooth, wind the dirty floss once around the first, middle finger and slide more new length of floss to proceed to the next teeth.

Flossing Facts

Periodontal disease commonly occurs between teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach, especially between the harder to clean back teeth. Flossing is a very efficient way to remove plaque from between teeth.

No one type of floss is more effective. Use whatever you can get. Patients with tightly spaced teeth find waxed floss more easily slides between teeth. In addition, waxed floss is usually more robust and won't break as easily as unwaxed floss. But in the end, waxed and unwaxed floss are equally effective. The important thing is to use it every day!

What Is Fluoride? Benefits, Side Effects, Is It Safe?

Fluoride, a mineral found naturally in water, plays a role in tooth development and cavity prevention.

Fluoride combats tooth decay in two ways:

  1. It strengthens tooth enamel, a strong shell that protects the teeth to resist the acid formed by plaque.
  2. Fluoride allows teeth damaged by acid to repair or re-mineralize themselves.

Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children living in non-fluoridated areas or children who drink only non-fluoridated bottled water should receive supplements. Fluoride supplements are given daily to children between 6 months and 16 years. The dosage will change as the child grows.

Most children get the proper amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoride toothpaste, fluoridated water, and supplements. Too much fluoride before eight years of age can cause fluorosis, discoloration, or mottling of the permanent teeth. This condition is unsightly but harmless. The dentist can undo the esthetic symptoms of enamel fluorosis with cosmetic dentistry.

Fluoride is a mineral known to be safe and effective at preventing tooth decay. There is no evidence to prove that fluoride causes disease or other disorders.

All of the following organizations have produced statements declaring fluoride is a safe and effective method to prevent dental decay in children and adults:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
  • American Association for Dental Research (AADR)
  • American Dental Association (ADA)
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

Dental Plaque, What Is It?

Plaque is essentially the start of gum disease problems. Plaque is a build-up from bacteria in the mouth and particles from the foods you eat every day.

Sugars turn plaque into a tooth-eating acid that collects just above the gum line. Without proper oral care, the acid will start eating at the teeth producing cavities, and the plaque can cause gum disease.

Plaque allowed to remain on teeth for a prolonged period can cause cavities, gingivitis, and other problems in your mouth. If it's left longer than that, serious dental procedures may be required to restore your oral health.

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