Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. 75% of adults are affected by gum disease in their lifetime. The dental community has made clear that the best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by committing to good oral hygiene.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line, and is constantly building up on your teeth. In order to fight plaque and prevent periodontal disease, we recommend brushing and flossing every day.
How to Brush
Dr. Saremi and Dr. Johnstone recommend investing in a soft to medium tooth brush. Start by brushing your teeth. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Brush the outside surfaces of your teeth gently and in a circular motion several times. Focus on getting the bristles between the teeth with light pressure.
When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
When cleaning the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, try to keep the brush in a vertical position. This will help you reach those areas and clean the area effectively. Whether you are cleaning the inside or outside surfaces of your teeth, don't forget to also gently brush the surrounding gum areas as well.
Finally, brush the biting surfaces of your upper and lower teeth. As always, brush gently and focus on the back teeth very well as those perform a majority of the chewing in your mouth. After you have finished brushing, rinse your mouth out with water or mouth wash to remove any loose plaque.
How to Floss
Flossing is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease from occurring between your teeth. Flossing is very effective if performed correctly and this article will explain exactly how to do that.
Start by grabbing a piece of floss no less than 18 inches in length and wrap it around both of your middle fingers. Position your thumb and forefinger of each hand under the floss and begin inserting the floss in between your upper teeth. Gently position the floss against each side-surface of the tooth and create a back and forth motion with the piece of floss. Focus on wrapping the tooth with the floss in a C-shape to maximize efficiency as you floss up and down the tooth. Don't forget to go slightly below the gum surface and stop when you feel resistance.
Follow the same process as the upper teeth when cleaning the bottom teeth.
Some soreness and bleeding is common when first starting to floss. This should stop as you get better at flossing and your gums develop more strength. Rinse your mouth after flossing to ensure all loose plaque is removed from your mouth.
Good oral hygiene is a great way to prevent gum disease and cavities, however, we recommend a professional cleaning every 6 months to a year to prevent Calculus buildup. A professional cleaning is the best way to ensure you are following proper oral hygiene procedures and that your teeth are free of tooth decaying substances.