Whether you still have your natural teeth or you've obtained new, restored teeth, you should promote an oral environment that is clean and well-controlled. At Sacramento Surgical Arts PC, we can give you advice about preventing cavities, preventing oral disease and preserving your teeth. Ask about oral hygiene instructions during your appointment. Until then, you may want to follow these guidelines:
- Brush twice daily
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
- Floss nightly
- Use an up-and-down technique, pressing the floss against the tooth surface
- Do not smoke or use tobacco
- Do not consume an abundance of sugary food
- Eat a nutritious, balanced diet
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash as directed by your doctor.
What is Plaque?Plaque is a substance that gradually erodes the teeth, while fostering bacteria growth that can erode tooth enamel, irritate the gums and lead to infection of the underlying tooth structure. In some cases, plaque may even lead to the loss of teeth or fillings.
Eventually, tooth decay caused by plaque can lead to receding gums, when the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. Even worse, tooth decay can eventually lead to infections of the gums, which can erode the bone structures, blood vessels and nerves below the teeth. A breakdown of the underlying tooth structure can signal the presence of periodontal disease.
What Causes Plaque?
Causes of plaque include foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrate content. The most common culprits include candy, soda, pasta, bread, cereal. Proper tooth care and a healthy diet can help prevent or control the formation of plaque.
Preventing Tooth Decay and Plaque
To protect yourself against tooth decay and gum disease, you should practice good oral hygiene and eat a nutritious, balanced diet. The basic steps to good oral hygiene include daily brushing, flossing and rinsing with fluoride mouthwash.
If you are concerned about plaque formation between daily brushing, you may want to chew sugarless gum. By stimulating saliva production in your mouth, you can actually neutralize the plaque formation and help wash away the food particles that cause decay.
How to Brush
Regular tooth brushing (3 times daily) prevents mouth bacteria from transforming into harmful corrosive acids. Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Move your toothbrush back and forth gently, using short strokes. Brush all surfaces, including the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth. Clean the inside surface by brushing vertically.
Don't rush with the toothbrush! Take about 3 minutes to finish the job.
How to Floss
Flossing removes debris and bacteria that can't be reached with your toothbrush. You insert a thin cord between two teeth, moving it up and down to clear away the debris. Flossing is very important and should be done at least once a day to prevent cavities and promote healthy gums. Wrap one 18-inch piece of floss around each of your middle fingers. Gently insert it between the teeth and curve it into a C shape against the side of each tooth. Gently move it up and down, then move to the next tooth.