Oral hygiene instructions
Why is oral hygiene for teeth and gums so important?
Plaque is bacteria that constantly grows on your teeth. If left on your teeth, it will infect your gums.
Gum infections hardly ever hurt, but they lead to gum recession, bone loss, and loss of teeth. And they spread bacteria through the blood. That can stress the immune system, make diabetes worse, initiate heart and joint infections, contribute to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
The good news is proper oral hygiene goes a long way in preventing and helping to treat gum infections – along with thorough professional cleanings.
Which kind of toothbrush?
A powered toothbrush is usually best, but a manual one can work well. The best kind of toothbrush is a sonic brush. Move it over all the surfaces of your teeth and gums with a gentle short scrubbing motion almost like you’d use a manual toothbrush but with a much lighter pressure.
If you’re going to use a manual (disposable) toothbrush, use one with soft bristles; avoid the cheap ones which usually have hard bristles that can damage teeth and gums. Plaque is soft and is best removed with soft bristles.
It takes at least 3 minutes to brush a full set of teeth well, no matter which type of toothbrush is used. Brush gently, use small scrubbing strokes. Brush in the morning before breakfast, and before you go to bed. Try to not bend the bristles much.
Replace a powered head as soon as its bristles become bent. If you use a manual brush, replace it at least every three months – longer than that and it will not work as well. Tiny cylindrical ‘Proxabrushes’ or ‘Go-Betweens’ can brush between teeth where spaces are wide enough to fit.