MAINTAINING ORAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR OVERALL HEALTH

So what are you and your family doing with your time at home? Some of you are working, others are not. I hope everyone is well and finding ways to keep busy!

We all want to stay healthy and there is a lot of news out there on what we need to do to accomplish that. Being home more often, however, can present challenges to stay on top of things because we’re adjusting to a new day-to-day lifestyle.

Being home gives you easy access to snack more often

Frequent snacking can lead to greater buildup of plaque, resulting in an increased chance of gum disease and tooth decay. Be mindful about what you are snacking on and how frequently you are snacking. Check the nutrition label, look for hidden sugars in foods and beverages. Have some good choices prepared and ready to snack on when you have the urge for a snack.

  • Cucumbers, carrots, celery, snow peas, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, apples, oranges, grapes, can be cleaned, prepared, and stored in the fridge until you want them. 
  • Nuts, seeds, hard-boiled eggs, and tuna are just a few options that provide protein to keep you going.
  • Hummus, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and nut butters are good choices if you want a dip for your vegetables or fruits.

After those meals and snacks, remember the importance of brushing and flossing! With that in mind, I thought this would be a great time to help you “brush” up on your oral health techniques (yes, pun intended!).

Let’s start by thinking of each tooth as having 5 sides

  1. top (biting surfaces)
  2. cheek and lip
  3. tongue
  4. front
  5. back side (towards front of mouth and towards back of mouth)

Think about how you can clean each side of every tooth

Start with a soft brush

Medium and hard brushes can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Work with one section of the mouth at a time and angle the bristles of the toothbrush toward the gum working in circular motions; switching to get both cheek and tongue sides.

Toothbrush placed at 45 degree angle to gum. 

Brush the top surface

Continue to work your way around the mouth focusing on getting all the surfaces. To get the front and back “sides” this is where flossing comes into play.

Start with about an 18” long piece of floss

Starting at the backside of the most distant tooth wrap the floss around the backside of the tooth and gently move it below the gum, only going as far as it will comfortably go. Think of it like making a “C” shape around the tooth with the floss.

Floss placed gently below the gum tissue wrapping it around the tooth in a “C” shape.

Pull the floss up against the tooth to remove the plaque. Now do this between each tooth, where the teeth contact you will have 2 motions, one for the surface of the tooth facing towards the front of the mouth and one for the surface facing backward. Continue around the mouth to the other side finishing on the backside of the last tooth. Be sure to floss each front and back of every tooth even if you have spaces due to missing teeth.

Use a small section of the floss at a time for better control, moving on to a fresh section of floss as you move around the mouth. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, use your thumbs to guide the floss on the upper teeth and your index fingers to guide the floss on your lower teeth. 

How to know when you’re done flossing

What you are looking to do is remove the plaque from the areas of the teeth that can’t be reached by brushing. Often times you can feel the plaque on your teeth with your tongue, when you are done brushing and flossing your teeth should feel smooth to your tongue, it’s a good indication you have removed the plaque well. Use a well-lit mirror especially if you are new to flossing until you have mastered the technique. You should be able to see the plaque you have removed on the floss. Be patient with yourself as anything new takes time to master.

What type of Toothbrush is Right for me?

There are many types of toothbrushes and sizes to accommodate various needs.

  • Children’s brushes come in many sizes designed for different ages, smaller brush heads are better for children and adults with small mouths, orthodontic brushes are designed to get around braces.
  • Power toothbrushes are helpful when there are physical limitations such as arthritis.
  • Water piks are also a good addition to oral home care after initial brushing and flossing has been completed. There are many types of floss, holders for the floss, pik type floss, and prestrung floss. Piks that look like Christmas trees, rubber, and wooden specialized piks are helpful where bone loss has created larger spaces, or under orthodontic wires.

Stay Healthy!

Being proactive in your oral home care is an important part of your overall health. Feel free to reach out to us with questions or comments.

Be healthy, be happy, and keep smiling 🙂

Dr. Pilecki