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Oral Hygiene Aids

Learn more about these simple tools to keep your teeth smile

Regular dental examinations 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 (also called gum disease and periodontitis) is the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world, and is completely preventable in the vast majority of cases. Professional hygiene visits combined with daily oral hygiene can remove a large percentage of disease-causing bacteria and plaque. In addition, teeth that are well maintained contribute to fresh breath and a beautiful smile.

The following are recommended oral hygiene aids for effective homecare:

Dental Floss & Tape

Dental floss is the most common interdental and subgingival (below the gum) homecare aid.  Floss and  tape comes in in a variety of types and flavors. Made from either thin nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons, floss and tape can help remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Vigorous flossing with a floss holder can cause soft tissue damage and bleeding, so great care should be taken. Floss or tape should normally be used twice daily after brushing.

Interdental Brush

Many hygienists & periodontists 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.

Mouth Rinse

There are two basic types of mouth rinse available: Cosmetic rinses which are sold over the counter and temporarily suppress bad breath, and therapeutic rinses which may or may not require a prescription. Most doctors 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 FDA and contain active ingredients that can help reduce bad breath, plaque, and decay. Mouth rinses should generally be used after brushing.

Rubber Tip Stimulator

The rubber tip stimulator is an excellent tool for removing plaque from around the gum line and also for stimulating 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, and to store the stimulator in a cool, dry place.

Toothbrushes

There are a great many toothbrush types available. Electric toothbrushes are generally more effective than manual brushes. The vibrating or rotary motion helps to dislodge plaque and remove food particles from around the teeth and gums.

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 ADA approved toothbrush should be chosen to allow proper cleaning to all the teeth. Teeth should ideally be brushed after each meal, or minimally twice each day.

Contact Valerie A. Marino, DDS to learn more, and schedule an appointment in North Palm Beach today!

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