Dr. Lenihan and Dr. Copes strive to help you keep up with good oral hygiene habits. Our Hygienists will work hard at keeping you comfortable, as well as supply you with the proper education to keep you and your mouth in great shape. We recommend a professional cleaning and oral examination at least every 6 months to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Oral hygiene refers to keeping the mouth, and particularly the teeth, clean and free of dental plaque. Daily oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing, can prevent both cavities and gingivitis and should be combined with a daily fluoride mouthwash.
The practice of oral hygiene is important because it prevents the build-up of dental plaque. Plaque causes the two most common diseases found in the mouth, dental decay and gum disease.
Some Facts About Plaque:
- Dental plaque is a thin coating of bacteria and food particles that stick to teeth.
- Plaque cannot be rinsed off, but can be removed by daily brushing and flossing.
- Dental plaque is formed when the bacteria that normally live in our mouths are allowed to accumulate on, and stick to the teeth.
- Plaque converts dietary sugars to acid. This acid dissolves tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.
- Plaque calcifies and hardens to become calculus or tartar. These hardened deposits can only be removed by the dentist or hygienist, as brushing cannot do so.
- The longer dental plaque is permitted to stick to the teeth, the greater is the risk of dental disease.
- To prevent and treat these diseases, dental plaque must be removed every day, by brushing and flossing.
- Brushing and flossing will control plaque formation. Brush and floss twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime.
- Eating less refined sugar will reduce plaque formation.
Choosing the Right Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Your toothbrush should have a head that is small enough to reach all your teeth.
- It should be multi-tufted, and have a soft texture.
- Hard bristles can damage teeth and gums, and are not recommended.
- Electric and ultrasonic tooth brushing methods are very effective for plaque control.
- A waterpik is a very effective alternative to traditional flossing and interdental cleaning.
- A large variety of toothpastes and mouthwashes are available to choose from. The inclusion of fluoride is most important.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold can be relieved by toothpastes containing desensitizing agents.
- Whitening toothpastes are now becoming popular for teeth that have darkened in color.
Questions about Proper Oral Hygiene? Give us a call today! We would be happy to set up a Cleaning and Examination Appointment and answer any questions you might have!