October is National Dental Hygiene Month; and so, we should talk a bit about, well, “dental hygiene.”
We all know that the basic rules of dental care at home are to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. That is definitely the correct philosophy, but there are a number of other things that we can do at home in addition to brushing and flossing to improve our oral hygiene.
One of these is the use of a Waterpik oral irrigation system, which is kind of like a garden hose for the mouth. These can be purchased at any drug store and even in some supermarkets for around $30. This is an incredibly helpful tool, as it removes food particles that are stuck between our teeth and just below the gum line. Additionally, for anybody who has braces or any type of orthodontic appliance, this small addition to your daily oral home care regimen is invaluable.
Another very easy adjunct to your daily routine is rinsing 2-3 times a day with Listerine Antiseptic mouthrinse. Sounds simple…and it is. This mouthrinse is actually anti-bacterial and helps reduce the buildup of plaque and decreases the incidence of gingivitis. Simple, yet very effective.
Choosing the right toothbrush is equally important. ALWAYS use a soft bristle toothbrush – not medium or hard. Plaque is very soft and easily removable. The bristles on a soft brush actually bend and can follow the contours of the teeth and remove more plaque. Anything harder than a soft brush will actually remove less plaque, because the bristles do not bend and cannot get between the teeth or below the gum line as well as a soft one.
In addition to removing less plaque, the harder brush will irritate the gum tissue and cause it to pull away from the tooth (gum recession), which is damaging to the support of the teeth and can cause root surface erosion (wearing away of the root). In my opinion, rotary or electric toothbrushes are a better option because they are almost always soft bristle brushes, and they do a better job than we can do by hand. Oral-B is a great choice for a rotary brush for people with normal, mostly healthy teeth and gums. Sonicare is a good choice for anyone with gingivitis or periodontal issues.
There is also a wide selection of other products to browse through in the toothbrush section of your local store. Try a few different things and see which ones work for you.
And remember, since Halloween is right around the corner, this is the perfect time to “brush up” on your oral hygiene. Remember to use a Fluoride- containing toothpaste (any one that has the ADA seal of approval), and make sure to brush very soon after eating that candy.
Enjoy your Halloween!
“Dr. Krimsky’s Dental Wisdom” is a feature guest post from Dr. Peter Krimsky, a Florida dentist and member of numerous professional dentistry organizations, including the Florida Dental Association, American Dental Association andAcademy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He also works with his patients to save money on dental care procedures, from root canals to cleanings with discount dental plans from DentalPlans.com.