We want you to keep your natural teeth healthy and vibrant for your entire life, because your teeth are magnificent just the way they are. With good daily care, optimal overall health and regular dental care you will be well on your way to achieving this goal.
Regular dental appointments for checkups and cleaning are vital for the prevention of problems and for the early detection of small problems before they become magnified. Upon examination, your dentist will determine if signs and symptoms of clinical oral disease are present and if your regular dental routine is meeting your target goals. Detecting disease early will assist in the success rate for treatment and help to curb costs. Professional cleaning, including the removal of plaque and tartar are vital in preventing gum disease and other oral health concerns. Only a professional dentist has the expertise, competence, education and ability to successfully oversee your oral health. The use of fluoride, applied topically during a dental visit in our dental practice, may assist in the fight against cavities. Fluoride can vary in dental products and in water supplies. It is best to discuss any possible concerns in this area with your dentist.
A review of your oral hygiene techniques may be a part of the care you receive in our dental clinic. Recommendations for toothbrush type, toothpaste, floss and dental products can be discussed. Techniques and routines for effective daily cleaning with an approved toothbrush and dental floss can improve your oral health. Children and adults may be encouraged to obtain sealants for permanent molars to assist with cavity prevention.
Suggestions to improve nutrition and moderation of sugary snacks may also be a vital component of your care. We encourage gum chewing, particularly gum sweetened with xylitol, which has been shown to significantly reduce the bacteria count associated with cavities. We encourage self oral exams with the education of warning signs and symptoms for gum disease and oral cancer. We may discuss the dental effects of smoking or chewing tobacco with those who choose to do so and encourage alternatives or cessation as oral health greatly deteriorates with such activity.
Other preventative actions include the wearing of a mouth guard during contact sports. Always wear your seatbelt in your vehicle to minimize potential injury and dental impact in the event of a car accident.
Some oral changes may be early warning signs. We encourage you to discuss these with the dentists in our dental practice. They include: bad breath, mouth dryness, oral sores, bleeding, discharge, pain, changes in sensation or temperature tolerance and loose adult teeth.
Q Why is brushing important?
A Daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth is important because it removes plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed, it continues to build up, feeding on the food debris left behind and causing tooth decay and gum disease.
Q How can plaque cause decay?
A When you eat food containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in plaque produce acids, which attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with teeth. After this happens many times, the tooth enamel can break down forming a hole or cavity.
Q How can plaque cause gum disease?
Plaque can harden into something called calculus another name for it is ‘tartar’. As calculus forms near the gumline, the plaque underneath releases poisons causing the gums to become irritated and inflamed. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth and the gaps become infected.
If gum disease is not treated promptly, the bone supporting the teeth is destroyed and healthy teeth may be lost. Gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss in adults and can lead to dentures, bridges or implants.
Q How can I prevent gum disease?
A It is important to remove plaque and food debris from around your teeth, as this will stop your gums from swelling and becoming infected. If you leave plaque on your teeth it can develop into tartar, which can only be removed by the dentist or hygienist. It is important to keep up your regular appointments so that your teeth can have a thorough cleaning if they need it.
Q How do I know if I have gum disease?
A Gum disease (gingivitis) will show itself as red, swollen gums that bleed when brushed or flossed. Many people are alarmed when they notice this bleeding and will then brush more gently, if at all. It is important that you continue to clean regularly and firmly in order to fight the condition.
Q Which type of toothbrush should I use?
A Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to recommend a toothbrush to you. However, adults should choose a small to medium size brush with soft to medium multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles or ‘filaments’. The head should be small enough to get into all parts of the mouth: especially the back of the mouth where cleaning can be difficult. Children need to use smaller brushes but with the same type of filaments.
You can now get more specialised toothbrushes. For instance, people with sensitive teeth can now use softer bristled brushes. There are also smaller headed toothbrushes for those people with crooked or irregular teeth. Some people find it difficult to hold a toothbrush, for example because they have Parkinson’s disease or a physical disability. There are now toothbrushes, which have large handles and angled heads to make them easier to use.
Q How often should I change my toothbrush?
A Worn-out toothbrushes cannot clean your teeth properly and may damage your gums. It is important to change your toothbrush every two to three months or sooner if the filaments become worn. When filaments become splayed, they do not clean properly.
Q How should I brush?
A Brushing removes plaque and food particles from the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth.
Here is one method of removing plaque:
• Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth and angle against the gumline. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of each individual tooth.
• Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against the gumline.
• Use the same method on the inside surfaces of all your teeth.
• Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
• To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small circular strokes with the toe (the front part) of the brush.
• Brushing your tongue will help freshen your breath and will clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
Q How often should I brush my teeth?
A Be sure to brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, more often if your dentist recommends it. If you keep getting discomfort or bleeding after brushing go to see your dentist about it.
You don’t have to brush your teeth – just the ones you want to keep.
We prefer to share our knowledge and expertise, empowering you, our patients, to prevent a variety of oral health conditions with effective regular oral hygiene techniques and habits. We are committed to helping you look after your smile. Prevention is a very successful and valuable method of servicing the patients in our dental practice.
Dental hygiene ensures teeth and gums are clean and free of inflammation. It is a very important part of keeping a healthy smile. Our desired result is for you to have strong and vigorous teeth and gums throughout your life.
In our dental practice, the hygienist is dedicated to educating patients with regards to the use of toothbrushes, electronic aids, dental floss and inter-dental brushes. She can help make recommendations as to dental product use including toothpaste, mouthwash and home-whitening kits. She will review proper technique with regards to brushing and flossing, particularly highlighting areas of need based on her clinical observations. She will discuss and demonstrate specific strategies that you can implement on a daily basis. Frequently, the inner side of the mouth and the back teeth are particularly difficult for patients to clean which can be corrected.
Our hygienist is specially trained in the prevention of gum disease and cavities. She will remove tartar, plaque and surface stains by gently scraping or scaling the teeth both above and below the gumline with a delicate instrument called a scaler. She will then polish the teeth surfaces with a special paste, removing any plaque residue and surface stains and making it more difficult for new plaque to adhere. Professional cleaning in our dental practice will greatly improve the overall health and appearance of your teeth.
Sometimes, plaque can develop at or below the gumline which can be difficult for the average person to see. Our highly trained staff will educate you on how to prevent gum disease. This is essential as it can affect 90% of adult patients. It can range from mild gingivitis, inflamed gums, to advanced periodontitis, where the gum separates from the bone with bone deterioration, infection and possible tooth loss. Proper hygiene, reviewed in our dental clinic, can prevent gum disease and a variety of dental issues.