YOUR DENTAL HEALTH – ORAL HYGIENE
With correct daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings, you can remove bacterial plaque and keep your gums and teeth healthy. Remember, don’t scrub! Use gentle brushing motions to protect delicate gum tissue.
How to Brush
• Position brush at a 45º angle where gums and teeth meet. Move brush in circular
motion several times over each tooth using small, gentle strokes.
• Use light, comfortable pressure while putting the bristles between teeth.
• Follow same directions to clean inside of back teeth.
• For upper and lower front teeth, hold brush vertically and stroke brush gently back and forth
several times over each tooth.
• Gently brush surrounding gum tissue.
• Use short, gentle strokes. Change brush position as needed to reach and clean all surfaces.
• Watch in a mirror to ensure you clean each surface.
• When done, rinse vigorously to remove plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
• If you experience pain while brushing or have any questions, please call the office.
How to Floss
Correct flossing removes plaque from between teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Do not be alarmed if your gums bleed or are a little sore during the first week of flossing. If your gums hurt, floss more gently and be sure not to pinch gums. As you floss daily and remove plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
Start with an 18” piece of floss (waxed is easier to use). Lightly wrap most of floss around middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest around middle finger of the other hand.
• Hold floss tightly between thumb and forefinger of each hand, insert gently into to gum
line, curve into a C-shape against one tooth, and move up and down. In same space repeat
on other tooth. Floss each side of all upper teeth; as floss becomes soiled, adjust to get a
• Guide floss using forefinger of both hands. Floss backside of last upper and lower tooth on
• Rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, provided your mouth is kept clean; otherwise the sensitivity will remain and could worsen. If your teeth are especially sensitive, we may recommend a medicated toothpaste or rinse to help you.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
Here’s a quick guide to dental care products that work for most patients:
• Electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective. We observe excellent results with Sonicare
• Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) rinse your mouth, but do not remove plaque; you
need to brush and floss also.
• Rubber tips on toothbrush handles help massage gums after brushing.
• Tiny brushes—interproximal toothbrushes—help clean between your teeth. Discuss proper
use first with your doctor to avoid gum injury.
• Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, used with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth
decay as much as 40%. Do not use rinses for children under six years.
• Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, may help bring early gum
disease under control. Use with brushing and flossing.
Daily brushing and flossing keeps tartar to a minimum, but a professional cleaning removes tartar in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. To prevent gum disease and keep your teeth healthy for life, be sure to visit our office regularly.
Good nutrition plays an important role in your dental health. While brushing and flossing keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong, a balanced diet boosts your body’s immune system and strengthens your resistance to oral disease.
How often and what you eat also affects your dental health:
• Bacteria in your mouth feed on starchy foods (crackers, bread, cookies and candy) and
produce acids which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more.
• Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve (granola bars, chewy fruit snacks, dried
fruit, potato chips, hard candy) give acids more time to destroy your tooth enamel.
I had a permanent crown that very same day. If I lived in this area, East Lyme Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
would definitely be my practice.” – George Rendell