Teeth Cleaning 101
Teeth Cleaning 101
Brush and Floss
Are you wondering how you should actually clean your teeth? Or even why you need to clean your teeth in the first place?
Welcome to Teeth Cleaning 101.
To help you understand teeth cleaning, the risks of forgoing it, and the best ways to keep your smile plaque-free, we’ll go over:
The importance of teeth cleaning:
- Cleaning teeth every day removes plaque
- Plaque leads to gingivitis and gum disease
- Plaque becomes harder to remove over time and requires periodic professional teeth cleaning
- Bits of bacteria, food, and acid that cling to your teeth
- Forms 20 minutes after eating
- Hardens into tartar, which is much harder to remove
- Plaque and tartar inflame your gums and cause gingivitis
- Plaque and tartar break down your tooth enamel resulting in little holes called cavities
- Cavities cause pain if they grow large enough to irritate nerves or fracture your teeth
- Cavities infect and destroy the inside of your tooth, requiring involved dental treatments
- Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums and the first stage of gum disease
- It is caused by poor oral hygiene, puberty, and other hormonal changes
- Symptoms include red, swollen, tender, bleeding, or receding gums
- Easy to cure, but leads to gum disease
- Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss
- Periodontitis, the more severe stage of gum disease, is when the gums pull away from the teeth
- Toxins break down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place
- The infection can spread into other parts of your body
- Brush twice every day
- Gently brush your teeth, use circular motions, clean your gum line, and lightly brush your tongue
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months
- Effective at fighting gingivitis and tooth decay
- Accessible and affordable
- More effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes
- Built-in timers ensure you’re cleaning your teeth for an adequate amount of time
- Good option for people with carpal tunnel, arthritis, and developmental disabilities
How to floss:
- Pull out an arm’s length of dental floss, wrap it around your middle fingers and hold it with your thumb and index finger, wrap the floss around the tooth, and gently slide up and own
- Use a new section of floss each time you move to new space between teeth
- Floss at least once per day before brushing
- Floss removes plaque that toothbrushes can’t reach
- In-between plaque accumulates even larger deposits of buildup
- Oral appliance that cleans between your teeth using pulsating water
- 29% more effective in removing plaque than string floss
- Great for people who have dental implants, bridges, and crowns
Why is Teeth Cleaning Important?
Have you ever wondered if teeth cleaning is actually necessary?
Don’t be fooled—it’s vital to clean your teeth routinely.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, you need to clean your teeth each day or plaque will accumulate and lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
And the more you put off teeth cleaning, the harder it gets.
Over time, plaque hardens into tartar which requires professional dental cleanings to remove.
For this reason, it’s essential to get professional teeth cleaning by a dentist every 6 to 12 months to remove any plaque and tartar deposits you may have missed.
The Mayo Clinic defines plaque as an invisible, sticky film made when bacteria, saliva, and bits of food combine in your mouth.
Since plaque forms on your teeth within 20 minutes after eating, it’s crucial to continuously remove it every day before it hardens into tartar at the bottom of the tooth.
If plaque and tartar accumulate for long enough, they produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums.
This inflammation is otherwise known as gingivitis—the first stage of gum disease.
Neglecting teeth cleaning also creates another issue—tooth decay and cavities.
Your teeth have a hard coating called enamel.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that the same toxins in plaque and tartar that inflame your gums can also break down the enamel resulting in little holes called cavities.
While cavities don’t usually cause pain, they can if they are allowed to grow large enough that they irritate nerves or fracture your teeth.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums and the first stage of gum disease. It is usually the result of poor oral hygiene; however, it may also develop as a result of puberty or other hormonal changes.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating
- Receding gums
The good news is that gingivitis is extremely common and easily curable—usually, all it takes is a professional teeth cleaning and a more thorough oral hygiene routine.
However, it is essential to take gingivitis seriously and treat it immediately, as it can lead to a much more severe stage of gum disease called periodontitis.
Did you know that the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss?
When gingivitis develops into periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces that become infected.
As bacteria spreads beneath the gum line, the toxins break down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place.
The result is loose teeth that require extraction.
From there, the American Academy of Periodontology warns that the infection can spread and even contribute to heart disease and diabetes.
Given the threat of gingivitis, tooth decay, and gum disease, it’s crucial to have a thorough brushing routine.
However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes there is a right way to brush your teeth:
- Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and toothpaste
- Use small circular motions and short back-and-forth strokes
- Brush carefully and gently along your gum line
- Lightly brush your tongue to help keep your mouth clean
Rinse your toothbrush and store it upright so it can air dry.
Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, as a worn-toothbrush will not clean your teeth as well.
At this point, you might be thinking:
“Should I get a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush?”
A manual toothbrush can work just fine.
The Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology notes that when it comes to fighting gingivitis and tooth decay, both manual or powered toothbrushes will do the trick.
However, if accessibility and affordability are an issue for you, a manual toothbrush may be the way to go.
Ultimately, the best toothbrush is the kind that will get you to brush your teeth regularly.
There is some evidence that electric toothbrushes are more effective at cleaning your teeth than manual toothbrushes.
According to a Cochrane review, electric toothbrushes reduce plaque by 21%, and gingivitis by 11%.
Electric toothbrushes can also have built-in timers to ensure your cleaning your teeth for an adequate amount of time.
Furthermore, people with carpal tunnel, arthritis, and developmental disabilities may have an easier time using electric toothbrushes.
How to Floss
Similar to teeth brushing, there is a correct way to floss your teeth.
Health Canada outlines the steps to floss properly:
- Pull out 40 to 50 centimetres of dental floss—about the length of your arm
- Wrap the ends of the floss around each of your middle fingers, leaving about 2 to 3 centimetres between your two fingers
- Use your thumb and index fingers to hold the floss in place
- Wrap the floss around the tooth into a “C” shape
- Gently slide the floss up and down between your tooth and your gums
- Use a new section of floss each time you move to a new space between teeth
Make sure you floss at least once per day before brushing.
While many people neglect flossing in their oral hygiene routines, it’s just as important as brushing your teeth.
The American Dental Association says that floss removes plaque that toothbrushes simply can’t reach.
Therefore, this hard-to-get plaque is prone to hardening into tartar and accumulating even larger deposits of buildup.
Looking for an alternative to floss?
A water flosser is an oral appliance that cleans between your teeth using pulsating water.
They work great:
A study by the Journal of Clinical Dentistry shows they are 29% more effective at removing plaque than string floss.
The benefits of water flossers are even more significant for people who have dental implants, bridges, and crowns.
Book a Consultation
Concerned about cavities, gingivitis, or gum disease?
We’re here to help.
We offer teeth cleanings and can provide you with the best oral hygiene routine for your teeth.
Book a free consultation now by calling (780) 425-1646.