Oral Health & Hygiene
Oral health is not only important to prevent pain and damage in your teeth – it also helps prevent other more serious health issues like diabetes and heart disease. NY Smile Specialists provides patients with a full range of services and the necessary education to give you a bright smile and help you maintain it. We help patients of all ages with a full range of dental services. To improve your Oral Hygiene
or even get an Oral Cancer Screening
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Statistics show that adults over 35 are more apt to lose teeth due to gum diseases than from cavities, affecting 3 out of 4 adults at some time in their lives. This is why practicing good oral hygiene with good tooth brushing and flossing techniques is important to prevent cavities and periodontal disease.
Bacterial plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line and causes periodontal disease and decay. Because plaque constantly forms, daily thorough brushing and flossing to remove these germs is crucial to prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush
When you brush the outside surfaces of your teeth, your brush should be at a 45-degree angle where your teeth meet your gums. Using small, gentle strokes, you should move the brush in a circular motion, using light pressure, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort. You should then follow the same directions while cleaning the outside of your back teeth.
In order to clean the inside surfaces of your upper and lower front teeth, you should hold the brush vertically, making several gentle strokes back and forth over each tooth and the surrounding gum tissue.
Using short, gentle strokes to clean the biting surfaces of your teeth next, change the position of the brush in order to reach and clean all surfaces. You should make sure you clean each surface by watching yourself in the mirror, rinsing vigorously when you are done to remove any plaque that the brushing loosened. Be sure to call the office if you have any pain while brushing.
How to Floss
The areas between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach are the most common places for the appearance of periodontal disease. It is important to remove plaque from these surfaces using proper flossing techniques. The right techniques take time and practice to develop, but will be a huge benefit in the long run.
Start with an 18 inch long string of floss (preferably waxed) and lightly wrap most of the floss around one of your middle fingers, wrapping the rest around your other middle finger.
Clean the upper teeth by holding the floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger of each hand, and gently insert the floss between the teeth by using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or snap it into place. Bring the floss to your gum line and then curving into a C-shape against one tooth, then move the floss up and down on that side. Repeat this process for the other tooth in this space and the spaces between all teeth. Be careful that you don’t cut the gum tissue between the teeth, and turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section of floss as the floss becomes soiled.
To floss your bottom teeth, use the forefinger of each hand to guide the floss, remembering to floss the backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
Once you have flossed all your teeth, rinse away plaque and food particles with water. You should not be alarmed if there is some bleeding when you start. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes, your teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures in foods or drinks after a dental treatment. If you keep your mouth clean, this pain sensitivity should not last long. Without proper oral hygiene, the sensitivity will remain and will become more severe over time. You should consult your doctor if your teeth are especially sensitive, and he or she may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse for your sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
The extensive selection of oral hygiene products can make the selection process difficult and confusing. Follow these suggestions for choosing your dental care products.
A majority of patients benefit from the use of automatic or “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes. While oral irrigators (water spraying devices) can thoroughly rinse your mouth, they will not successfully remove plaque without brushing and flossing in conjunction with them. Electric toothbrushes provide excellent results.
Toothbrushes with a rubber tip on the handle can be used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also interproximal toothbrushes that can clean between your teeth, though these can injure your gums if used improperly, so you should discuss proper use with your dentist.
Toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay as much as 40% when used in conjunction with brushing and flossing. You can reduce tartar above the gum line with tartar control toothpastes, but these products have not been proven to treat the early stages of gum disease, as they do not treat tartar below the gum line.
American Dental Association-approved anti-plaque rinses contain agents that can help bring early gum disease under control. These should be used in conjunction with proper brushing and flossing.
Dental calculus can be kept to a minimum with daily brushing and flossing, but with a professional cleaning, calculus can be removed from places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.
Good nutrition plays almost as big of a role in your dental health as brushing and flossing do. A balanced diet will help boost your body’s immune system and make you less vulnerable to bad oral hygiene.
Your dental health is affected by what you eat and how often you eat. Starchy foods like crackers, bread, cookies, and candy not only cause bacteria in your mouth, but also produce more acids that can continue to attack your teeth for 20 minutes or longer. Foods that stick to your teeth or slowly dissolve can also give acids more time to damage your tooth enamel.
Sticky/Slow to Dissolve Foods:
- Granola Bars
- Chewy Fruit Snacks
- Dried Fruit
- Potato Chips
- Hard Candy
Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids.
Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay- causing bacteria in the mouth.