At our office, we emphasize home care with our patients so that they are able to maintain their dentition and implants as best as possible. Here is a quick guide to our most recommended dental hygiene aids, all of which can be found over-the-counter in the dental aisle of your pharmacy. Please ask any of our doctors or our hygienists at your next visit which is right for you!
1. Fluoridated toothpaste
If you have teeth or any permanent implant restoration in your mouth, you should be using toothpaste to clean your teeth at least twice per day. It is recommended to brush your teeth, morning and night, for 2 minutes each time. Most of us (unless otherwise prescribed) should be using an over-the-counter (OTC) fluoridated toothpaste. It is not hard to find fluoridated toothpaste, as the vast majority of the OTC options have some fluoride in them.
2. Dental floss – for teeth and implants
There is no real substitution for flossing your teeth. Floss allows you to clean the surface of the tooth which touches the adjacent tooth. This area of direct contact is often so small that the only thing that will adequately clean it is floss. Flossing should be done every evening. Many people say, “when I floss my teeth, my gums bleed.” Yes, this is because the gums are inflamed and will bleed easily. You will see that if you start to get into the habit of flossing every night, your gums will be less red and will not bleed when flossed.
3. Interproximal brushes – for teeth and implants
These little brushes resemble pipe cleaners and are great for cleaning out areas between the teeth next to the gum line, particularly on patients with periodontal disease. These areas can enlarge and become food traps and interproximal brushes are perfect to clean these hard-to-reach spots.
4. WaterPik – for teeth and implants
A WaterPik is a great homecare tool for patients with periodontal disease, bone loss and/or implants. The thin plastic tip releases water to flush out any debris and rinse the areas between teeth/implants and the surrounding gingiva. Be sure to use the WaterPik on its lowest setting and to point the tip straight through the open space, not pointed down into the gum line.
5. Electric toothbrush – for teeth and implants
Electric toothbrushes are a wonderful addition to dental homecare routines. There are many brands available now and some of them even include 2-minute timers which will ensure you are brushing the proper amount of time. The key to an electric toothbrush is to hold the brush steady on the tooth and move it throughout the arch while letting the brush do the work. There is no need for additional tooth brushing motion from you while the electric brush is working and additional motion can actually wear tooth structure away quicker.