Even though regular dental exams are crucial in the prevention of oral issues and keeping teeth healthy, the single most important aspect of a healthy smile is homecare. Oral homecare routines need to be put in place and practiced every day in order to prevent dental issues. The leading cause of tooth loss worldwide is periodental disease or “periodontis” which unfortunately is completely preventable if good oral hygiene habits are kept. Professional cleanings at least twice per year and daily brushing and flossing will remove a large percentage of plaque and bacteria, which is the leading cause of decay. There are many oral hygiene aids which are on the market which will assist your homecare routines.
The single best interdental and subgingival (below the gum) oral hygiene aid is dental floss. It is a string made from nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons, and is a great weapon for removing plaque and particles of food stuck in between teeth. Flossing should be done after brushing every day, although care should be exercised to not floss to hard as it can damage gums and tissues.
Interdental brushes are tiny brushes that can be used in addition to flossing to scrub the gumlines. They are smaller and more contoured than toothbrushes.
Cosmetic rinses which are sold in drugstores and supermarkets will temporarily suppress bad breath. Therapeutic rinses may or may not require a prescription. Dentists will generally not view an over the counter rinse as an effective remover of plaque. Therapeutic rinses do contain ingredients that will help in plaque removal. Mouth rinses should be used after brushing.
Oral irrigators, like Water Jets and Waterpiksare a relatively new development that spray a small but powerful stream of water into the mouth, effectively cleaning pockets and in between teeth that may have been missed brushing or flossing.
Rubber Tip Stimulators
The rubber tip stimulator is another effective tool at massaging the gums and removing plaque and food trapped in between teeth.
Tongue cleaners are devices which gently scrape the tongue surface in order to remove bacteria and plaque which have been known to cause heart disease and stroke. Many people forget or were never taught to clean their tongue in addition to brushing and flossing, yet the tongue is one of the leading havens for bacteria.
Toothbrushes come in a wide variety of sizes, hardnesses and shapes. They also are available in manual or electric types. Choose a toothbrush with medium to soft bristles and brush your teeth daily along with your gumlines.
If you have any questions about oral hygiene aids, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.