At Highline Family Dentistry in Littleton, our team is prepared to answer all questions about your dental health, gums, teeth and their appearance. Dental cleanings are also known as oral hygiene cleanings or dental prophylaxis. A registered dental hygienist or RDH will give you a thorough cleaning each dental check-up visit. Home care,specifically brushing and flossing, are a vital part of your dental health, but most people require cleanings from a professional to have healthy gums, teeth and a nice smile.
Select from the topics below for more information about dental health:
Why is oral hygiene so important?
On average, adults older than 35 lose more teeth from untreated gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities.Up to 75% of adults are affected at some point in their life by gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Good home care is a must and the most effective way to preventing gingivitis and periodontal disease is daily brushing and flossing. This is an adjunct to seeing a dentist and registered dental hygienist at least once a year. Ideally dental patients are seen every six months for a thorough cleaning.
Gum and Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial plaque that is not removed. Plaque is a yellowish bio-film, that sticks to your teeth and accumulates at the gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth day and night. Thorough daily brushing and flossing can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep plaque and dental calculus to a minimum. A professional cleaning by a RDH registered dental hygienist will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss cannot reach. Dental check- ups are an important part of your oral hygiene plan to prevent and treat gum disease, so you can keep your teeth for your lifetime.
How to Brush
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office at (303) 794-6800.
Drs. Cavanaugh and Becker recommend using a soft bristle toothbrush. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth. Too much pressure with brushing can cause gum rescission and exposed root surfaces. After you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your upper and lower teeth, follow the same brushing method while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you cleaned each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
How to Floss
Periodontal disease and gingivitis normally appears where your teeth meet together and where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing twice a day is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. It is important to develop this habit and the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but please ask our RDH with technique questions.
Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 20″ long. Wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.
When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
Having your teeth cleaned often remove surface staining that will whiten your teeth from off white to a more natural white. Many dental insurance cover cleaning, exams, and x-rays at a very high rate with little to no out out of pocket expense. Good dental insurance will cover two dental cleanings per year along with a set of x-rays and exam. Having Dr. Cavanaugh or Dr. Becker examine your teeth can catch decay when it is easy and affordable-to treat. For dental patients that have gum disease you may be asked to visit our office every three to four months for deeper cleanings. Don’t wait another day, month, or year, and make the most of your dental insurance coverage. Please call our Littleton Dental office today to make an appointment.