Dental decay and periodontal (gum) disease are two entirely different diseases. But both have one thing in common—prevention can eliminate it taking place or at the very least limit the damage.Both dental decay and periodontitis are caused by dental plaque–an invisible, sticky bacterial substance that collects on the teeth. Remove the dental plaque daily, and you remove the cause of the disease.There are two ways to remove dental plaque. One is with a chemical rinse called chlorhexidine, available by prescription. The side effect of chlorhexidine is that it can leave dark stains on the teeth that have to be removed in the dental office.The best way to remove dental plaque is simple mechanical scrubbing with different kinds of toothbrushes and dental floss. Unfortunately, too many people don’t floss or brush correctly and end up leaving a lot of plaque. That’s why we’ve got video here to demonstrate the proper techniques for brushing and flossing. Take a look and help yourself to a free dose of prevention.
Besides treating dental decay, we treat periodontal (gum) disease, which involves the gums and bone that support the teeth. But remember, both kinds of dental disease described above are caused mostly by tobacco usage and buildup of dental plaque
You, the patient, can eliminate these two causes of dental disease by not using tobacco products and removing dental plaque each day. (If you want to see the ravages of what chewing tobacco can do, go to the cosmetic bonding section of this web site.)
Unfortunately, dental plaque is white in color and mostly invisible. The only way to spot it is by applying disclosing solution which we offer all of our patients. You paint it on with a q-tip and rinse out your mouth. The bacterial plaque is where the red splotches are.
When you brush, you need a soft bristle brush that you can gently rotate back and forth at a 45 degree angle to the teeth going toward the gum line. You should only try to brush about 3 teeth at a time. Remember to brush all three surfaces of your teeth–the front side (obviously), the tongue side, and the tops of the molars and premolars.
When you floss, always wrap at least 18 inches on the middle finger of your right hand and just enough on your left hand middle finger to serve as an “empty spool.”
After advancing the floss between the contact of your teeth, slide the floss up and down each tooth in the contact. That’s up and down–not back and forth.
Going back and forth only flosses the width of the floss! When you finish that contact, wrap the dirty floss on your left hand and advance clean floss from your right middle finger.
Notice you are using your index finger and thumb to guide the floss–that’s where your best dexterity is.
Proxy brushes can go in between some teeth. The ones made by Butler can fold up and go in your pocket.It’s been estimated that 70 percent of tooth decay occurs on the tops (occlusal) of molar and premolar teeth. These teeth can be protected from decay if sealants are applied soon enough. Sealants are quick and painless. Sealants do not work in between the teeth however. Only flossing or proxy brushes can protect decay that occurs between the contacts of teeth. Still, sealants are a great investment.