How many times should I brush a day and for how long?
Brushing should be done at least twice a day and for about 2-3 minutes each time. The easiest way I tell my patients to do this is to simply turn on their favorite song and brush for its duration. Care must be taken to cover all areas: Left and Right, Top and Bottom, Inside and Out, as well as Front and Back.
Should I use a toothbrush with hard bristles?
If I do I can remove stains and debris better, right?
We absolutely counsel against using toothbrushes with anything harder than soft bristles. In fact, if possible we recommend using extra soft bristles as present in Perio brushes. Using hard bristles can easily lead to gum damage when coupled with strong force and improper brushing technique. Over time this can lead to gum recession and/or tooth damage like abfraction.
What would be the best brushing technique I can use, then?
Our office recommends the Bass Technique, which focuses mainly on cleaning the gum line area. The toothbrush bristles are held at 45 degrees to the gum line and the brush slightly “vibrated” by the hand, as if in a light paint-dabbing motion.
Make sure to do this for all areas.
Is brushing enough to keep my teeth clean and cavities-free?
While brushing is a big part of oral hygiene, it alone cannot prevent all cavities. In order to truly protect yourself against dental cavities, you also need to use the dental floss.
Why is dental floss important?
Dental floss is the most effective way to clean the area between the teeth, known as the interproximal contacts. As we eat, food particles get trapped in the contact area and if not removed in time, can lead to what we call Class II/III decay, or cavities in between the teeth.
What is the best flossing technique?
We recommend the flossing technique known as C-shaped flossing. Make sure the floss extends below the gum line slightly and the sides of both teeth cleansed by an up-and-down motion.
Flossing should be done once a day with a waxed floss.
What if I don’t like flossing? Any other alternatives to flossing?
Interproximal brushes are small brushes that can be inserted in between teeth to clean these difficult-to-clean areas. They are not perfect substitutes but can do sufficient cleaning to prevent most problems.
They can also be used with kids although a Floss Pick is most likely a better tool for them at their age.
Should I use mouthwash and does it really do anything?
What about items like WaterPik?
In our professional opinion, mouthwash is at most an adjunct and should not be relied upon as a main oral hygiene tool. It can be a good short term cover for halitosis, or bad breath, but no more. WaterPik can be useful as an adjunct tool but it cannot and should not be used in place of brushing and flossing.
Can proper home care really protect me from dental problems?
Yes, it can. As your dentist in Spring, TX, it is our goal to help you stay orally healthy using the easiest and most economical form of dental care–preventive methods. If these methods are followed habitually and properly, the vast majority of dental problems can be easily prevented, except for those involving accidents or injuries. Our philosophy is a preventive than a curative one, and we truly want the best for our patients!