- News & Events
- ADI Foundation
|First Grade~Brushing, Flossing, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes & Diet|
How should I brush ?
There are a number of effective brushing techniques. One effective, easy-to-remember technique involves using a circular or elliptical motion to brush a couple of teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth. Place a toothbrush beside your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush teeth in an elliptical motion. Brush the outside of the teeth, inside the teeth, your tongue and the chewing surfaces and in between teeth. Using a back and forth motion causes the gum surface to recede, or can expose the root surface or make the root surface tender. You also risk wearing down the gum line.
In general, a toothbrush head should be small (1" by 1/2") for easy access. It should have a long, wide handle for a firm grasp. It should have soft, nylon bristles with round ends. Some brushes are too abrasive and can wear down teeth. A soft, rounded, multi-tufted brush can clean teeth effectively. Press just firmly enough to reach the spaces between the teeth as well as the surface. Medium and hard bristles are not recommended.
Flosses and picks
Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing germs that accumulates on teeth, including places where toothbrushes can't reach. This can lead to gum disease. The best way to get rid of plaque is to brush and floss your teeth carefully every day. The toothbrush cleans the tops and sides of your teeth. Dental floss cleans in between them. Some people use waterpiks to compliment brushing and flossing.
Which type of floss should I use?
Dental floss comes in many forms: waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, wide and regular. Wide floss, or dental tape, may be helpful for people with a lot of bridgework. Tapes are usually recommended when the spaces between teeth are wide.
How should I floss?
There are two flossing methods: the spool method and the loop method. The spool method is suited for those with manual dexterity. Take an 18-inch piece of floss and wind the bulk of the floss lightly around the middle finger. (Don't cut off your finger's circulation!) Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed. Maneuver the floss between teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Don't pull it down hard against your gums or you will hurt them. You should rub it side to side as if you're shining shoes. This pulls food out of the hidden areas. Bring the floss up and down several times forming a "C" shape around the tooth being sure to go below the gum line.
How often should I floss?
At least once a day. To give your teeth a good flossing, spend at least two or three minutes. Only floss AFTER meals, never before. Preferably floss after the last meal of the day and before bedtime.
You may prefer a prethreaded flosser or floss holder, which often looks like a little hacksaw. Flossers are handy for people with limited dexterity
What about floss holders? For those who are just beginning to floss, or for caretakers who are flossing someone else's teeth.
Is it safe to use toothpicks?
In a pinch, toothpicks are effective at removing food between teeth, but for daily cleaning of plaque between teeth, floss is recommended. Toothpicks come round and flat, narrow and thick. When you use a toothpick, don't press too hard as you can break off the end and lodge it in your gums.
Putting the squeeze on dentifrice. Why is brushing with toothpaste important?
Brushing with toothpaste (also called a "dentifrice") is important for several reasons. First and foremost, a toothpaste and a correct brushing action work to remove plaque; a sticky, harmful film of bacteria that grows on your teeth that causes caries, gum disease, and eventual tooth loss if not controlled. Second, the toothpaste contains fluoride, which makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage can even be seen. Third, special ingredients in the dentifrice help to clean and polish the teeth and remove stains over time. Fourth, toothpastes help freshen breath and leave your mouth with a clean feeling.
What type of toothpaste(Dentifrice) should I use?
As long as your toothpaste contains fluoride, the brand you buy really does not matter, nor whether it is in paste, gel, or even powder form, or contains a certain flavor. All fluoride dentifrices work effectively to fight plaque and cavities and clean and polish tooth enamel. Your dentifrice(another name for toothpaste) brand should also bear the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval on the container, which means that adequate evidence of safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in controlled, clinical trials. If your teeth are hypersensitive to hot or cold, consider trying a dentifrice designed for sensitive teeth .
Dentifrices containing baking soda and/or hydrogen peroxide (which are both good cleansing agents) give the teeth and mouth a clean, fresh, pleasant feeling that can offer an incentive to brush more, but fluoride is the true active ingredient at work protecting your teeth. Some prefer a tartar control toothpaste containing pyrophosphates to prevent the buildup of soft calculus deposits on their teeth. New pastes offer advanced whitening formulas aimed at safely removing stains to make teeth brighter and shinier, although they can't nearly match the effectiveness of a professional bleaching formula administered or prescribed by a dentist.
How much should I use?
Contrary to what toothpaste commercials show, the amount of paste or gel needed on your brush for effective cleaning does not have to be a heaping amount. Simply squeeze on a pea-sized dab of paste on the top half of your brush. If you brush correctly holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside and between your teeth, the paste should foam enough to cover all of your teeth.
Children under 6 however, should only be given a very small, baby pea-sized dab of dentifrice on their brush.
Is brushing with toothpaste enough to fight cavities and gum disease?
No. Although brushing thoroughly after each meal helps, flossing your teeth every day to remove plaque and food particles between teeth and at the gumline is just as important. Studies show that plaque will regrow on teeth that are completely clean within 3 to 4 hours of brushing.
Not only is your diet important to your general health, it is also important to your dental health. If you do not eat a balanced diet, you are more likely to get tooth decay and gum disease. Developing teeth can also be affected. Children who have a poor diet are more likely to have dental problems.
How does the food you eat cause tooth decay? When you eat, food passes through your mouth. Here it meets the germs, or bacteria, that live in your mouth. You may have heard your dentist talk about plaque. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria.
These bacteria love sugars and starches found in many foods. When you don't clean your teeth after eating, plaque bacteria uses the sugar and starch to produce acids that can destroy the hard surface of the tooth, called enamel. After a while, tooth decay occurs. The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs.
Some foods that you would least expect contain sugars or starches. Some examples are fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even vegetables.
The key to choosing foods wisely is not to avoid these foods, but to think before you eat. Not only what you eat but when you eat makes a big difference in your dental health. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. If you are on a special diet, keep your physician's advice in mind when choosing foods. For good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks.
Tips for better dental health