Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining excellent oral hygiene and diagnosing potential problems, but they are not a “fix-all” solution. Thorough oral home care routines should be practiced on a daily basis to avoid future dental problems.
Periodontal disease, which is also called gum disease and periodontitis, is the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world. It is completely preventable in the vast majority of cases.
Professional cleanings twice a year combined with daily self-cleaning can remove a high percentage of disease-causing bacteria and plaque. In addition, teeth that are well-cared for make for a sparkling white smile. At Presser Dental Group, we give every patient in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania "goodie bag" of oral hygiene aids each time he or she underwent a professional dental cleaning.
There are numerous types of oral hygiene aids on the supermarket shelves, which is why it can be difficult to determine which will provide the best benefit to your teeth. Here are some of the most common oral hygiene aids for home care:
Dental floss is the most common interdental and subgingival (area below the gum) cleaner. It comes in a variety of types and flavors.
The floss itself is made from either thin nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons. Moreover, it can help remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. However, vigorous flossing with a floss holder can cause soft tissue damage and bleeding, so great care should be taken. Floss should normally be used twice daily after brushing.
We often recommend interdental brushes in addition to dental floss. These tiny brushes are gentle on the gums and very effective in cleaning the contours of teeth in between the gums. Interdental brushes come in various shapes and sizes.
There are two basic types of mouth rinse available: over-the-counter cosmetic rinses that temporarily suppress bad breath and therapeutic rinses that may or may not require a prescription.
We are skeptical about the benefits of cosmetic rinses because several studies have shown that their effectiveness against plaque is minimal. Therapeutic rinses, however, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They contain active ingredients that can help reduce bad breath, plaque, and cavities. Mouth rinses should generally be used after brushing.
Oral irrigators, like Water Jets and Waterpiks, have been created to clean debris from below the gum line. Water is continuously sprayed from tiny jets into the gum pockets that can help remove harmful bacteria and food particles.
Overall, oral irrigators have been proven effective in lowering the risk of gum disease. However, this should not be used instead of brushing and flossing. Our professional cleanings are recommended at least twice annually to remove deeper debris.
The rubber tip stimulator is an excellent tool for removing plaque from around the gum line. It is also used to stimulate blood flow to the gums.
The rubber tip stimulator should be traced gently along the outer and inner gum line at least once each day. Any plaque on the tip can be rinsed off with tap water. It is important to replace the tip as soon as it starts to appear worn. To store the stimulator, it should be placed in a cool, dry place.
Tongue cleaners are special devices that have been designed to remove the buildup of bacteria, fungi, and food debris from the tongue surface. The fungi and bacteria that colonize on the tongue have been related to halitosis (bad breath) and a multiple systemic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and stroke.
Tongue cleaners can be made from metal, wood, or plastic. It was shaped in accordance with the contours of the tongue.
Tongue cleaning should be done prior to brushing to prevent the ingestion of fungi and bacteria.
There are various toothbrush types available. We generally recommend electric brushes because they are much more effective than manual brushes. The vibrating or rotary motion helps to easily dislodge plaque and remove food particles from around the gums and teeth. The same results can be obtained using a manual brush. However, much more effort is needed to do so.
Manual toothbrushes should be replaced every three months because worn bristles become ineffective over time. Soft bristle toothbrushes are far less damaging to gum tissue than the medium and hard bristle varieties.
In addition, an appropriate sized American Dental Association (ADA)-approved toothbrush should be chosen to allow proper cleaning to all the teeth. Moreover, teeth should ideally be brushed after each meal or minimally twice each day.
If you have any questions about oral hygiene aids, please ask Dr. Presser or anyone of our hygienists.