What is the best kind of toothbrush?
Generally speaking, a soft bristled toothbrush is best. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric, anything harder than soft, is too hard. Stiff bristles may give you that clean feeling, but they can also abrade your teeth and cause gum recession.
Step 1 - Place bristles along the gum line at a 45 degree angle. Gently brush using a circular motion along the outer and inner tooth surfaces.
Step 2 - Brush each tooth individually. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Using the front half of the brush, use the same circular motion.
Step 3 - Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back-and-forth motion. Brush the tongue to remove odor-producing bacteria.
How do I use dental floss?
Floss is cheap, so don't be stingy! Tear off about a forearm's length to start. Wrap one end around the middle finger of one hand to "anchor" it and pick up the other end about 4-6 inches away with the middle finger of the other hand. This allows you to manipulate the floss with your thumb and fore finger. As you soil a section of floss, "reel" in another 4-6 inches of clean floss with the anchor finger as you release the floss with the other finger.
Once you get the floss past the tooth contact, move the floss up and down, perpendicular to the tooth. Never shoe-shine the teeth in a back-and-forth motion! You will either notch your teeth or cut your gums, or both!
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind some of it around your middle finger (3 turns); this finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Shorten the length between the two fingers to 6 inches and wind some floss (1 turn) around the opposite middle finger. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth as you gently rub the side of the tooth with an up and down motion. Before retrieving it, reverse the C-shape to clean the adjacent tooth surface as well.
As you finish cleaning each tooth, wind the dirty floss once around the first middle finger and slide more new length of floss to proceed to the next teeth.
Facts: No one type of floss is really better. Use whatever you can get. The important thing is to just use it!
Periodontal disease commonly occurs between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach, especially between the back teeth which are wider and harder to reach.
Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique.
Fluoride, a substance that's found naturally in water, plays an important role in healthy tooth development and cavity prevention.
Fluoride combats tooth decay in two ways:
- It strengthens tooth enamel, a hard and shiny substance that protects the teeth, so that it can better resist the acid formed by plaque.
- Fluoride allows teeth damaged by acid to repair, or re-mineralize, themselves.
Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that these fluoride supplements be given daily to children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The dosage will change as your child grows. Only children living in non-fluoridated areas or children who drink only non-fluoridated bottled water should receive supplements.
Most children get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements. Too much fluoride before 8 years of age can cause enamel fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the permanent teeth. This condition is unsightly but harmless and often can be treated with cosmetic procedures.
How Much Fluoride Is Too Much?
Fluoride is perfectly safe when used as directed by our dental office however there are some issues that can arise from using too much fluoride. Toxic levels of fluoride depend on person-to-person so it is important that you speak with us first before considering using a questionable amount of fluoride or if you have a child whose teeth are currently developing.
Fluorosis is a condition where exposure to too much fluoride causes defects in the tooth's enamel layer that often look like white patches or streaks across a tooth. In severe fluorosis cases, these patches or streaks can be brown in color making them a severe cosmetic concern and are often embarrassing for many people who have this condition. Fluorosis is most common in children with developing permanent teeth where fluoride levels are not properly applied and/or monitored but can become a problem to virtually anyone at any age.
If you think you have or have been told you have a mild to severe case of fluorosis, we want you to know that we can help lighten or remove the stains to teeth caused by excessive fluoride exposure. Request an appointment or call our office directly at (408) 340-6480 to come in and have us take a look at your condition. In just one appointment we can significantly reduce the cosmetic blemishes of fluorosis.