To find out the proper way to brush and floss, ask your dental hygienist for instructions. Brushing and flossing incorrectly can do more harm than good.
There are many toothbrushes on the market today. They fall into two major categories – manual and automatic.
Before choosing a toothbrush, know what it will do for you:
- Remove food and plaque.
- Disrupt the process of plaque formation.
- Stimulate the gums (gingiva), keeping them healthy and well exercised.
The manual toothbrush comes in many sizes, designs and levels of stiffness. Dental hygienists will guide your selection toward the style of brush that is most effective for you.
The automatic toothbrush also comes in different designs with various brushing methods and other features that should be considered in the selection process.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a toothbrush:
- Individual size
- Effectiveness and ease to manipulate
- Ease to clean and maintain
Your dental hygienist can help you make the best choice.
Consumers are bombarded with product advertising. The purpose of toothpaste is to work with the toothbrush in the removal of plaque, food and stains. It does this with abrasives and foaming ingredients.
In addition to cleaning teeth, advertising campaigns make claims about less sensitivity, less tartar, whiter teeth and more. The only advice to consumers is to look for the Canadian Dental Association crest stamped on the toothpaste tube. Talk to your dental hygienist about the product that would be good for you.
The purpose of dental floss is to:
- Clean in between teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach
- Allow saliva to flow in between teeth to help keep them clean with a natural washing action
- Help massage gums, keeping them strong and healthy
Once again, there is a wide choice available, including waxed and unwaxed, flavored and scented, shred resistant and whitening floss. Manufacturers also offer many different thicknesses of floss.
There is also a variety of specialty items such as dental tape, SuperflossT, floss threaders and an assortment of floss holders. There is something on the market for every person’s need.
You can discuss these products with your dental hygienist who will help you to incorporate them into your regular home care routine.
This dental aid may be found attached to the end of your toothbrush or on a separate implement. It is cone shaped and made of flexible rubber.
The purpose of the rubber tip is to:
- Remove bits of food and plaque you may have missed with your brush
- To stimulate and exercise your gums
- To help reshape the gums after periodontal disease
Your dental hygienist will teach you how to use this dental aid.
Made from wood or plastic, wedge stimulators are triangular in shape and vary in stiffness. Consult your dental hygienist before choosing this aid as it is only useful in areas where bone loss has occurred.
The purpose of the wedge stimulator is to:
- Massage and stimulate gum tissue
- Remove food debris and plaque caught in between teeth
This aid comes in different shapes and sizes but all have the same purpose:
- To remove food in between teeth that remains after brushing
- To help in the maintenance of periodontal pockets by making sure the area is clean; this allows gums to be tight and healthy
- To assist those patients undergoing orthodontic treatment; this is an extremely valuable tool since working around braces and wires can be difficult
Consult your dental hygienist to see if this dental aid is an option for you.
Oral irrigators provide a washing action using a regular or pulsating stream of fluid. The most common fluid used in these machines is water, however, mouthwash diluted in water or salt added to water are also common. These machines have dials that regulate pressure.
The purpose of the oral irrigator is to:
- Remove food that remains after brushing
- Help orthodontic patients with their dental health
- Clean around complex dentistry (crowns and bridges)
- Carefully irrigate periodontal pockets
Directions from your dental hygienist can make this tool effective for you.