Caring For Your Teeth
Caring for your teeth is in no way a substitute for office visits on a regular basis, but it is the most important thing you can do for your teeth.
Your intake of sugar and sugar containing foods is the prime source of cavities. Bacteria on your teeth will take sugar from the foods you eat and produce an acid that will leach out the minerals from your teeth and cause the formation of cavities. It is not the amount of sugar that is important but how often and for how long sugars are in contact with your teeth. Sticky sweets are more damaging than forms of sugar you swallow quickly. Saliva in your mouth can shield the teeth from the acid to some extent. However if you eat sweet snacks between meals your saliva has no chance to provide a recovery period from such acids. Brushing the teeth after meals not only removes the sugary coating left behind, it also gets rid of the bacterial film on your teeth that produces the acid from the sugar.
Brushing your teeth
The primary function of brushing your teeth is to get rid of the bacterial film that coats your teeth and causes both cavities and gum disease. This film is produced not only from foods you eat but also from cells being shed by the skin that lines the inside of your mouth. It is important to know this, because this bacterial film can form in your mouth even if you had nothing to eat.
The bacterial film collects mostly in the indentations between your teeth and along the “gum line” where your gums meet your teeth.
When you are brushing your teeth you are not cleaning a flat surface. The bristles of the brush need to bend so that they can conform to the irregularities of the surface you are trying to clean. Soft bristles on your brush can do this while stiff bristles only cause excessive wear on your teeth without cleaning in the areas between your teeth and along the gum line. The film of bacteria you are trying to remove has the texture of mush, like oatmeal and can be easily wiped off if the bristles of the brush are allowed bend enough to do this.
In order to clean the spaces between teeth you need to move the brush in an up and down movement all around both on the cheek side and the tongue side of the teeth. To clean the junction between the gums and the teeth you need to engage the outer line of bristles of your brush in the crevice and gently vibrate it in one spot and then move along to the next one both on the cheek side and the tongue side of your teeth all around.
You should brush at least 3 times a day. Some people brush in the morning both before and after breakfast.
No matter how good you are with the brush it can not clean the area right between your teeth. For that you need to floss your teeth. With a gentle back and forth movement you need to move the floss past the tight point of contact between each two teeth and then wrap the floss around one and then the other tooth and wipe the surface with the floss.
Special aids for gum care
Some people have wide gaps between the gum and the point of contact between teeth. Even if the teeth are contacting tightly food can get packed into this area not from the top, but from the sides. The spaces that need to be cleaned are too wide for the floss to clean properly. In these situations we give you samples of other aids that you can use.
Regular dental visits
Not all the bacterial film can be removed from all your teeth by the above methods. If the film deposit has a chance to harden on to your teeth, only scraping by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it. As we clean your teeth we also note any irregularities in the surfaces of your teeth that may lead to cavities. In fact they may already be the early stages of cavities which if not treated promptly can cause a great deal of damage to your teeth. Office visits on a regular basis can prevent gum disease and it can allow us to treat the cavities while they are still quite small.
Most importantly at your cleaning appointment our hygienists will demonstrate the most efficient technique for cleaning your teeth and will recommend additional cleaning aids to suit your individual needs.