Your molars need to be cleaned on their chewing surfaces. The indentations provide a place for bacteria to grow, so allow the bristles to poke into the crevices as you brush.
Outer and Inner Surfaces
To clean these surfaces, tilt your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against your gum line. Move the brush up and down or in circles gently, as you advance the brush from one tooth to another. Keep the bristles angled for a “massage” effect.
Inner Surfaces of Front Teeth
Hold the brush almost vertical and gently move it up and down. Only the front part of the brush should be touching the tooth surface. Be careful at the gum line, gums should be “massaged,” not “brushed.”
If you have difficulty using a hand-brush, there are many excellent electric toothbrushes on the market. Please ask us for advice.
Tooth brushing does not clean between teeth. Consequently, if you don’t floss, bacterial plaque may cause cavities to form between your teeth. By flossing, you also prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Healthy gums (or gingival) help to anchor teeth firmly in place. They are a nice pink colour, do not bleed and are not tender when brushed.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which form around teeth. These bacteria produce a sticky substance known as plaque. Toxins from plaque inflame the gums and underlying bone. The gums become puffy, red and tender and bleed easily. This is the early stage of gum disease. If treated early, it is reversible.
If gingivitis is ignored and untreated, it advances to early periodontitis. When periodontitis sets in, the gums begin to pull away from the tooth surface and “pockets” form. These pockets trap food and bacteria, which create bone-destroying and gum-irritating tartar (calculus). Your dentist and hygienist will measure the pocket depths to assess the damage and recommend treatment. With meticulous home care and regular professional hygiene appointments, early periodontitis can be successfully treated.
If your gums are left untreated, advanced periodontitis develops. The bone that anchors your teeth is destroyed and, at this point, if there is not intervention, it is likely that your teeth will become loose, infected, and painful and require extraction. At this stage, aggressive treatment may preserve some of the teeth. A referral to a gum specialist (periodontist) is usually required.
You can prevent and control gum disease by maintaining excellent oral hygiene and following a recommended interval for professional hygiene visits and examinations.
- Remove plaque before it becomes tartar by brushing well twice a day.
- Floss regularly and don’t be afraid to clean below the gum line.
- Eat healthy foods. Diet can play an important role in preventing gum disease.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking causes gum disease and discolours teeth.
- Regular professional hygiene appointments combat gum disease.