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Dental Hygiene

 

Protect Your Smile—And Your Health

Woman brushing teeth

Comfort Dental is proud to provide the best possible restorative care—but the very best kind is the care you never need. You are the single most important factor in your dental health: By following good oral hygiene practices, you have the power to prevent problems before they happen, and to spare yourself the discomfort and inconvenience of cavities and more serious dental problems.

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As your partner in good dental health, Comfort Dental wants to provide you with the knowledge you need to take care of your teeth—and to protect your smile for years to come.

Brushing and Flossing: Your Defense Against Decay

The path to a lifetime of good dental health doesn’t begin with your dentist. It begins with you, and your commitment to taking the simple but necessary steps needed to protect your teeth.

Regular, proper brushing is the first and most important of these steps. Most of us are familiar with the idea of a brushing routine; regular brushing in the morning and evening is the bare minimum necessary to provide reasonable protection. For the best results, follow these tips:

  • Brush using a fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft, rounded-end bristles and a head that is small enough to reach all parts of your teeth and mouth.
  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle where the teeth meet the gums. Press firmly, and gently rock the brush back and forth using small circular movements. Do not scrub! Overly vigorous brushing can make the gums pull away from the teeth and can scratch your tooth enamel.
  • Brush all surfaces of the teeth, tongue-side and cheek-side. Pay special attention to the front teeth and all surfaces of the back teeth.
  • Brush chewing surfaces vigorously with short back-and-forth strokes.
  • Brush your tongue from back to front. Some people put some toothpaste or mouthwash on their toothbrush when they do this. Brushing your tongue helps remove plaque, which can cause bad breath and help bacteria grow. Some toothbrushes now have a specific brush to use for your tongue.
  • A tartar control toothpaste can help slow the formation of harmful tartar on your teeth.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.

Don’t Forget To Floss

Flossing is a vital counterpart to a good brushing routine – but it’s a step that too many people skip often, if not altogether. Even with regular brushing, particles of food can become trapped between teeth, providing an opportunity for bacteria to grow and for tartar to form. This leads to damage to your teeth.

Follow these hints to floss effectively:

  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Gently work the floss between the teeth toward the gums. Curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape and gently slide it under the gum line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off the plaque. Popping the floss in and out between the teeth without scraping will not remove much plaque and can hurt your gums.

Either of the following methods will help you to floss thoroughly:

  • The finger wrap method: Cut off a piece of floss several inches. Wrap one end around your left middle finger and the other end around your right middle finger, until your hands are about two to three inches apart and then begin flossing.
  • The circle method: Use a piece of floss about 12 inches long. Tie the ends together, forming a loop. If the loop is too large, wrap the floss around your fingers to make it smaller. As you floss, continuously inch the loop through your fingers to access clean, unused floss.

Alternately, you may choose to use a plastic flossing tool. Some disposable tools include short pre-cut lengths of floss. These are intended to be used once and then thrown away. Other tools are designed to dispense floss as it is needed and can be used for multiple flossing sessions. Since these tools do make flossing easier and more convenient, using them might help you to make flossing a regular part of your dental care routine.

Flossing is important for children, too. However, young children cannot be expected to floss their own teeth effectively. Child-sized flossing tools are available at most drugstores for parents to use when flossing their children’s teeth.

If you aren’t used to flossing, you may find that your gums bleed when you floss at first. Don’t let this stop you! Bleeding gums are a sign that your gums’ health isn’t the best—and that flossing is needed. As you begin to floss regularly, the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier and tighten around your teeth.

Comfort Dental’s hygienists are always happy to help our patients to develop good dental care practices. Call us if you have any questions about proper brushing or flossing

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