Home Care- Proper Brushing and Flossing

A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients.  Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal.  Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, avoiding sodas, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.

Brushing and flossing are of paramount importance to oral hygiene.  Though bi-annual professional dental cleanings remove plaque, tartar, and debris, excellent homecare methods are equally valuable.  Proper brushing and flossing can enhance the health of the mouth, make the smile sparkle, and prevent serious diseases.

Reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential:

  • Prevention of tooth decay – Tooth decay is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and its treatment often requires complex dental procedures.  Tooth decay occurs when the acids found in plaque erode the natural enamel found on the teeth.  This phenomenon can easily be prevented by using proper home hygiene methods.
  • Prevention of periodontal disease – Periodontal disease is a serious, progressive condition which can cause tooth loss, gum recession, and jawbone recession. Periodontal disease is caused by the toxins found in plaque and can lead to serious health problems in other parts of the body. Removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the surface of the tooth using a toothbrush and from the interdental areas using dental floss, is an excellent way to stave off periodontal problems. 
  • Prevention of halitosis – Bad breath or halitosis is usually caused by old food particles on or between the teeth.  These food particles can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, leaving the mouth healthier, and breath smelling fresher.
  • Prevention of staining – Staining, or yellowing, of teeth can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as smoking, coffee, and tea.  The more regularly these staining agents are removed from the teeth using brushing and flossing techniques, the less likely it is that the stains will become permanent.

Tooth brushing –  Dr. Griffon recommends the Sonicare Diamondclean ultrasonic toothbrush as the most important and effective part of your at home oral hygiene routine.  Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night)  with a fluoride containing low RDA  toothpaste.

  1. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time placing it against the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
  2. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Sonicare Diamondclean Toothbrushes are available for purchase in our office for $165 with a $20 rebate that we will help you fill out.  We keep our prices for these toothbrushes as low as possible because we want you to use them!  (Compare with Walmart, Target or Amazon for $189.95).  We have the lowest price because we care about your oral health above profit margin.  Should you be unhappy with your Sonicare Diamondclean Toothbrush, you can return it for up to 30 days (even if opened and used), but only if purchased at a dental office.

If you do not have a Sonicare Diamondclean, Dr. Griffon recommends an extra soft ADA recommended manual brush. 

Be sure to replace your brush head or toothbrush every 3 months.  Sonicare Diamondclean Toothbrush heads are available for purchase in our office for your convenience.  However, the best value for replacement heads is at Costco- they are able to offer them in bulk for a discounted price.  Be sure to buy Sonciare Diamondclean brush heads, after market products are not as effective. 

For children under 12, Dr. Griffon recommends the Sonicare for Kids Toothbrush.  We offer these for sale in our office for your convenience for $50.  This brush is available at Target, Walmart and Amazon for less- $39.95 (unfortunately, Sonicare cannot offer the Sonicare for Kids Toothbrushes to us at a low enough price to be able to compete with them)

Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.  Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

  1. Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
  2. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  3. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. 
  4. Carefullly move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth and removing plaque and debris from between your teeth and gums.
  5. Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
  6. Do not pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.

Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss due to compromised dexterity.

Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing and after meals if you are unable to brush.  If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with Dr. Griffon or her dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.  Dr. Griffon recommends Sonicare Breath Rx, Listerine Total Care, and Dental Herb Company Under the Gums Irrigant.

Use other dental aids as recommended by your Dr. Griffon or her dental hygienist:  interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, and medicated rinses