As dental experts, we always want our patients to keep their teeth healthy through consistent dental visits and great home care. We are currently experiencing an unusual time when those consistent dental visits must be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That makes home dental care more important than ever before.
Good Home Care = Good Plaque Removal
Great oral hygiene and home dental care are all about prevention. The goal of using effective plaque removal techniques is to reduce your risk for dental infections, like cavities and gum disease. While this is always important to keeping your mouth healthy, it has become more important lately because most people have limited access to preventive dental care at this time.
The main goal in home care is removing the sticky bacterial buildup of dental plaque. The two most important components of a home oral hygiene routine are brushing and flossing. This is probably something that you already know, but what matters is putting it into practice. Here is a quick rundown on a great oral hygiene routine.
- Brushing with the correct technique twice a day.
A toothbrush functions to remove sticky dental plaque from the teeth and gums through physical contact with the bristles. That may seem obvious, but it is important to stress the need for the bristles to touch every exposed surface of the teeth, which is what we mean by “with the correct technique”.
The best brushing technique uses a soft-bristled toothbrush in a gentle circular motion and in a method that ensures contact between the bristles and every exposed surface of the teeth. An electric toothbrush may accomplish better plaque removal because it automatically performs the circular motion for you, and you simply have to move it to cover all of the teeth.
Do you want to test out your brushing technique? Order some plaque-disclosing tablets and chew one after brushing. They stain dental plaque a hot pink or purple color, showing you exactly where you’ve missed as you brush.
- Flossing with the correct technique once a day.
When you floss, you must wrap the floss around one tooth and move it vertically to “scrape” the side of the tooth. Then you press the floss in the opposite direction around the neighboring tooth and move vertically. This is the proper way to clean the sides of the teeth that face each other and are unreachable with toothbrush bristles.
The reason we all need professional teeth cleanings is that none of us is a perfect brusher or flosser. We all have spots that we miss, and we can all improve our plaque removal techniques. By following these instructions and paying attention to your technique, you can remove more plaque and have a healthier mouth in between dental cleanings.
Good Home Care = Using the Right Oral Care Products
In addition to plaque removal, you can use certain oral care products to strengthen your enamel or fight dry mouth. This requires understanding your personal risk factors. Those who tend to get cavities frequently need to use products designed to strengthen enamel to help them resist the cavity process. Many people suffer from a dry mouth as the result of prescription medications, and using products that stimulate saliva and moisturize the inside of the mouth improves their oral health.
High Cavity Risk? You Need Fluoride.
Anyone who has had a cavity in the last year or who has a history of frequent dental work is considered high risk for cavities. Fluoride is the easiest and most effective ingredient you can find in over-the-counter products for fighting cavities. If you want to avoid fluoride, ask one of our doctors about alternative options. You can find fluoride in toothpastes and mouthwashes. When you add fluoride products to your great brushing and flossing techniques, you can lower your risk for new cavities.
Dry Mouth? You Need Mild Products and Salivary Stimulants.
People who suffer from dry mouth have a higher risk for both cavities and gum disease. Because saliva is our body’s natural defense against plaque and the disease-causing bacteria it contains, someone who lacks saliva will accumulate more plaque that is stickier and more difficult to remove.
Because a dry mouth can make the tissues sensitive, we recommend mild, hypoallergenic products like Biotene’s toothpaste and mouthwash. They also make a dry mouth gel and spray that are helpful in moisturizing the inside of the mouth.
To stimulate your own natural production of saliva, you can chew sugar-free gum during the day and use a stimulant like Xylimelts overnight. These small patches stick to the roof of the mouth and release a mild sweet flavor that stimulates saliva production and helps keep your mouth naturally moist.
More Questions about How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy during COVID-19?
Call now to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. We can answer any questions you have about preventing dental disease and which products are right for you.