Maintaining good oral health is cheap and simple. People often believe that dentistry is expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, if you don’t spend time cleaning your teeth at home, have a high sugar diet and don’t visit a dental professional regularly then dentistry will certainly be expensive for you. Maintaining a good oral care routine at home will reduce the amount of dental treatment you require in the future.
There are only 3 essential products you need to remove the plaque from your teeth at home daily:
Electric toothbrushes are very beneficial and there are many on the market. Generally speaking the more expensive the toothbrush, the more technology is incorporated to provide a better clean. If it has oscillating and pulsating technology this will give your teeth the best clean. Twice a day for 2 minutes is recommended.
Manual toothbrushes can be just as effective if used correctly. A soft toothbrush is the only manual toothbrush you should use. A hard or medium brush is too abrasive for your teeth and gums and actually wears away your tooth enamel. Slow, gentle, thorough brushing for 2 minutes twice a day is recommended.
Toothbrushes (including electric toothbrush heads) need to be replaced every 3 months or when the bristles are worn, whichever comes first.
To get expert advice on correct tooth-brushing techniques, see your dentist or dental hygienist.
There are many toothpastes on the market but as long as you choose one with fluoride in it the rest is up to you. Fluoride strengthens your teeth by preventing demineralisation of the outer tooth surface.
If you suffer from tooth sensitivity then a sensitive toothpaste is worth a try.
Brushing alone does not remove all oral bacteria. Inter-dental cleaning is also required.
Have you ever heard the saying “Floss the teeth you want to keep”? There is truth in the saying as a toothbrush can not clean in between teeth. Traditionally there was only one inter-dental product available – floss. There are now many other products available to fit in between teeth and prosthesis of all shapes and sizes. The type of inter-dental cleaning product you require depends on your individual needs. Inter-dental cleaning should be a daily habit as plaque quickly builds up in between teeth.
If you have tight gaps in between your teeth floss is probably for you. There are many types of floss on the market and it may mean trying a few before you find the one that works for you.
These are great for those who find flossing difficult. It works just like floss but requires less technique and gives easier access to your mouth.
There are many brands and sizes of inter-dental brushes. It is best to use one that fits snug in the gap between teeth; too loose and it won’t remove all the plaque, too tight and it won’t fit through the gap. You may need a few sizes on hand if you have gaps that vary in size. These are especially useful for those who have crowns, bridges and implants. You can purchase inter-dental brushes from supermarkets, pharmacies and your dental professional.
A tongue cleaner is also a good idea to reduce the bacteria in your mouth and keep your breath fresh.
Mouthwash is not necessary if you brush and clean in between teeth effectively. Most mouthwashes on your supermarket shelves don’t do what they claim to. Some mouthwash provides only a temporary way to mask bad breath. Bacteria is the underlying cause of bad breath and needs to be eliminated. See our bad breath post for further information on mouthwash used to reduce bad breath.
Toouthmousse, high fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash are great products for patients who are high caries risk (high decay risk). These products help to strengthen and remineralise your teeth before they cavitate and require fillings.
Dry mouth products are recommended for patients that suffer from a dry mouth. A dry mouth increases your risk of getting tooth decay.
To find out the best way to care for your teeth it is recommended you seek advice from a dental professional. They will give advice and products that are tailored to your individual needs. Visit www.fillinggaps.co.nz for a dental professional.
At a dental hygiene treatment appointment your hygienist or dentist will remove all the plaque (mass of bacteria), tartar (hardened plaque) and stain that builds up on your teeth over time. This will leave your teeth feeling smooth and looking bright. It also has the added benefit of treating bad breath, leaving your mouth fresh and clean.
The dental hygiene cleaning is often performed with precision hand instruments and an ultrasonic instrument that vibrates under a cooling water spray. These instruments are used to scrape and vibrate the plaque and tartar off your teeth. Often a prophy handpiece is used to complete the hygiene clean by polishing your teeth leaving them smooth.
The plaque and tartar are very similar in colour to your teeth and build up slowly. Often you don’t realise you have this build up of bacteria on your teeth. This bacteria leads to bleeding and tender gums, bad breath and periodontal disease.
An appointment with your dental hygienist or dentist should be part of your preventative dental care. It is important to remove plaque and tartar before it causes tooth decay and gum disease. Scheduling regular dental hygiene cleans with your dental professional can prevent expensive reactionary dental treatment and save you a lot of money in the long run.
The frequency of your visits will depend on your risk factors for decay and gum disease and how well you clean your teeth at home. It can be as often as every 3 months or as infrequent as once a year. Your dental professional will discuss and personalise your recall appointments for you.
Generally a dental hygiene treatment is not painful, most patients feel only vibrations from the ultrasonic instrument and some pressure during hand instrument use. On occassion there may be a slight tender spot as the instrument runs across the gum, but this lasts for a millisecond. A clean that is painful can be caused by a number of things: a rough dentist or hygienist, exposed dentine (can make cleanings sensitive), or sore gum tissues. If you find the treatment a bit uncomfortable because the gum tissues (rather than the teeth themselves) are sensitive, topical numbing gels can be used. If your teeth are very sensitive then local anaesthetic can be used.
To find a dentist or dental hygienist who can perform a dental hygiene clean visit www.fillinggaps.co.nz