Have you ever noticed bleeding along your gumline after brushing or flossing, or tender and painful gums, or even consistent bad breath? These are all signs you should not dismiss and ignore, they all happen to be early signs of gingivitis, which develops into periodontal disease without treatment.
During these early (and completely reversible) stages, bacterial plaque builds up around your gums, which causes inflammation and makes your gums swell. As startling as this may sound, there's an easy way to battle this: through daily brushing and flossing.
At Oak Family Dental, we've learned that it is easier, more efficient, and far less costly to approach oral health issues right when they start instead of allowing them to gather power and wreak havoc. The good news is that a big percentage of preventive dental care can be done in the comfort of your own home, at your own schedule.
The Proper Way to Brush Your Pearly Whites
Patients are often surprised to learn that there is a recommended tecnhique to keeping plaque at bay, and many of us aren't following it. This is our first defense against gum disease.
Starting with a soft-bristle brush, we hold it at a 45-degree angle against our gums. Using back-and-forth strokes, we gently clean each tooth for a minimum of two minutes. Electric toothbrushes often have a built-in timer to keep us on track. It can be easy to miss a spot, so it's good to start with the outer surfaces of the upper then lower teeth. This goes with the inner portions of our teeth, and then the chewing surfaces. By moving in a circular motion, we can address all the zones in our mouth.
Don't forget your tongue! Bacteria can hide out here.
Toothbrushes shouldn't be used forever, and waiting for them to become too frayed to use is also not a proven technique. We should throw away toothbrushes after around three months of use, even sooner if we have been sick.
Picking a good toothpaste can seem stressful, there seem to be so many! Your Metairie, LA general dentist can recommend a good brand for you, especially if you are prone to tooth decay or gum disease.
Don't Forget to Floss!
Flossing allows us to remove plaque from hard-to-reach places between your teeth and along the gumline.
We recommend flossing at least once every day, ideally right before you go to bed and after your last meal. As you slide the floss between teeth, make a C-shape around the tooth so you can push out any debris or food particles by using an up motion. By curving the floss around each tooth, you can reach the tooth's surface from the crown to the gumline.
Don't use the same section of floss, even if it looks clean. Bacteria can be invisible and easily transferred from one tooth to another.
Schedule Your Next Dental Check-Up
Even the most meticulous brushed and flosser still needs professional oversight. Dental cleanings remove any plaque that we miss, and we always do. We can't wait to see you!