About Plaque and Tartar
Dental plaque is a sticky film full of bacteria that forms on teeth. It forms when food combines with saliva and bacteria in the mouth. Unfortunately, plaque is also the primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease, which is why it’s so important to remove it regularly.
When plaque buildup isn’t removed, it can turn into tartar. Tartar build-up is bonded with your teeth, and the only way to remove tartar is with a dental scaler used by a dental hygienist. Tartar can cause infection and inflamed gums, leading to gum disease. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to severe problems and tooth loss.
The most effective way to remove plaque is to brush and floss daily. Brushing removes plaque from the surface of teeth, while flossing cleans the areas between teeth. You can purchase a dental hygiene kit with the same dental tools a hygienist uses to clean your teeth. However, daily brushing and flossing between regular professional deep cleaning are enough for most patients to keep their teeth clean and cavity-free.
The Importance of Flossing
Though it may seem tedious, flossing is essential to maintaining oral health. Flossing helps prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath by removing plaque and bacteria between the teeth. In addition, flossing is the best way to clean surfaces that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. For the best oral health, it is recommended that individuals floss at least once a day.
Choosing the Right Dental Floss
While so many options may seem overwhelming, all floss serves the same essential purpose: to remove plaque and debris from between the teeth and gums. The most crucial factor in choosing a type of floss is finding one that is comfortable for you to use.
Some types of floss are coated with wax or flavorings to make them more pleasant to use, while others are made from different materials such as silk or nylon. Ultimately, the best type of floss for you is the one you will use regularly. In addition to traditional floss, there are also interdental brushes and water flossers that you can use to deep clean between teeth.
How to Floss Correctly
Flossing is vital to your oral hygiene routine, but it can be tricky to do correctly. The top thing to remember is to be gentle. Use a light back-and-forth motion and avoid sawing the floss back and forth, as this can irritate your gums.
Once you’ve worked the floss between your teeth, use a gentle curving motion to wrap it around the base of each tooth. Be sure to floss underneath the gum line, as this is where plaque can build up. Finally, use a clean section of floss for each tooth to avoid spreading bacteria. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to master the art of flossing and keep your teeth healthy and sparkling clean.
Proper Brushing Technique
Proper brushing is crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing cavities. Here are some tips on how to get your teeth squeaky clean:
- No more than a pea-size squeeze of toothpaste is necessary. Too much toothpaste can irritate your mouth.
- Brush at a 45-degree angle, and brush against your gums. Use gentle circular motions to brush the bristles along your gum line.
- Be sure to brush the inner surfaces of your teeth as well as the outer surfaces. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
- Spit out the toothpaste after brushing. Rinse with water if you need to.
Choosing a Toothbrush
When choosing a toothbrush, there are a few things to consider. One is the type of bristles – soft, hard, or medium. Soft bristles are gentle on the gums and effective at removing plaque, while hard bristles can be more abrasive and may cause gum irritation. In addition, some people prefer to use an electric toothbrush, and many are equipped with timers so you can make sure you brush your teeth long enough.
Ultimately, the best toothbrush type depends on your preference and brushing habits. If you have sensitive gums or dental implants, for example, you may want to opt for a softer bristle brush. On the other hand, you may need a harder brush to reach all the nooks and crannies if you have braces or other dental appliances. Ultimately, the best way to find out what works for you is to experiment until you find the perfect match.
Choosing a Toothpaste
Many toothpaste options are available to help you clean your teeth, and it can feel overwhelming to try to choose the right one. But there are a few factors that can help narrow down the choices. First, consider what specific needs you have. For example, if you have sensitive teeth, you will want to look for a toothpaste designed for that. You also have the option to choose a tartar control toothpaste, a whitening toothpaste with baking soda, and many other formulas with an added benefit.
Once you have considered your specific needs, look at the ingredients list. For example, choosing fluoride toothpaste will help to protect your teeth from cavities. You may also want to choose a toothpaste that contains natural ingredients, which can be gentler on your teeth and gums.
Keeping Up With Professional Cleanings
No matter how well you clean your own teeth, you can never outdo the work of a dental hygienist during a professional dental cleaning. Daily brushing and flossing is the best way to avoid gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. Regular checkups are also the key to diagnosing severe issues early, and the dentist will look for signs of cancer.
If you’re due for a cleaning, call Tolley Dental at (540) 546-4630 and set up an appointment.