Proper brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively. Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not scratch and irritate teeth or damage gums.
Place bristles along the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.
Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back & forth rolling motion. Move brush to the next group of 2-3 teeth and repeat.
Maintain a 45-degree angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gumline. Gently brush using back, forth, and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces.
Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up & down strokes using the front half of the brush.
Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth & use a gentle back & forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.
Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Researchers have established that thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. Most are harmless, but others can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections.
Flossing is an essential part of the tooth-cleaning process because it removes plaque from between teeth and at the gumline, where periodontal disease often begins. If you find using floss awkward or difficult, ask your dental hygienist about the variety of dental floss holders or interdental cleaning devices that are available.
Wind 18" of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a 1"- 2" length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
Keep a 1" - 2" length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.
Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. Do not snap floss between your teeth. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.
Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.
DENTAL HYGIENE WITH IMPLANTS
Congratulations on your choice to improve your health, comfort, appearance and chewing ability through dental implant therapy. Remember though, you'll want to take optimum care of your implant supported teeth. And that means special attention with the right oral hygiene products.
Generally speaking, dental implants need the same conscientious care that natural teeth need. Because of their special shape and location regular brushing and flossing may need to be supplemented. For that reason there are a number of oral hygiene systems on the market designed to make your job easy.
Many times a cordless electric toothbrush will be recommended. Some manufactures provide small round brush tips or heads which make cleaning the implant posts easier. Implant posts are where the teeth or other structures attach to the implant . If you use a standard brush, take extra care to clean in and around all implant posts.
Oral irrigators have been shown to be effective in reducing plaque acclumulation around natural teeth and implants. Your dentist or hygienist may also suggest you use a special mouth rinse.
Good implant hygiene includes daily flossing. If your implant supported teeth stand alone, that is, are not attached to adjacent teeth or implant posts, standard flossing methods are just fine. However, many times several teeth may be attached together to form an implant supported "bridge" or several implants may support a special "bar" to which teeth are attached. If this is the case you'll need additional help in flossing these areas.
"Floss threaders" are widely available where dental hygiene products are sold. Floss threaders help you introduce the floss under bridges and bars so these areas can be easily cleaned. Your dentist or hygienist may recommend a special "wide" floss for additional help in cleaning of your implants.
Interproximal brushes are special small dental brushes designed for cleaning "between" the teeth or implants. While not a replacement for dental floss they can offer additional help in cleaning these hard to reach areas. They are widely available and especially handy for those who find flossing difficult.
Remember, regular visits to your dentist or hygienist for professional cleaning and implant maintenance is mandatory to protect your investment.