Delmarva Dental Services recommends brushing after every meal, but we realize this cannot always be accomplished. Regardless of the number of times you brush your teeth, prior to bedtime you should brush your teeth for 3 minutes (it's longer than you think) and floss. Generally, electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual and the Braun 7000 series is the best. When choosing a manual toothbrush look for soft bristles and a small head. Delmarva Dental Services recommends Oral B's staged brushes for children 1 to 4 years old. We have all these toothbrushes available at our office.
When brushing, think of your teeth as having three surfaces; a chewing surface, cheek surface, and tongue surface. Brush each surface separately and only two teeth at a time. Use a circular motion angled toward the gum line when brushing the cheek and tongue sides (an electric does this for you). Adults should brush their tongue or use a tongue scraper. Children should be supervised.
Delmarva Dental Services recommends "Colgate Total" toothpaste for most adult patients. This not only has the cavity fighting fluoride, as do all ADA approved toothpastes, but is also the only toothpaste that has triclosan. This is a compound that after brushing remains on the teeth for 14 hours fighting gum disease. Children should use a pea-sized amount of an ADA approved toothpaste containing fluoride that tastes good. Delmarva Dental Services recommends ADA approved tartar control toothpaste for patients who have heavy tartar (calculus), except when beginning cavities sensitive teeth or canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are present. For patients with canker sores we recommend "Rembrandt Anti Canker Sore Toothpaste".
Flossing once a day is more important than brushing when it comes to adults. Flossing has a greater impact on the prevention of gum disease and proximal cavities (cavities between the teeth) that seem to be more prevalent in adults.
Picture a tooth in the shape of a cube. The bottom is the hidden root. There are 5 surfaces for cleaning; three by brushing and two by flossing. A toothbrush can brush the chewing surface, cheek surface and tongue surface, but flossing is the only way to reach the proximal surfaces where the teeth come against one another.
Most brands of floss are efficient but there are specific types for particular problems. "Glide" and "Colgate Preferred" are good when the contacts between the teeth are tight. There is no significant difference between waxed and unwaxed floss. Some good brands of floss are "Johnson & Johnson", "Reach" and "Gentle Gum Care". There are also various flossing aids such as floss forks, floss holders, and mechanical flossers such as the "Power Flosser", although hand held flossing is usually best. There are also devices, which help patients floss under fixed bridges and implant bridges called "floss threaders" and "Superfloss".
Delmarva Dental Services customizes patients's home care to their individual needs.
For many years research showed little benefit of using a "Water Pik" over conventional brushing and flossing. However, recent research has shown it to be a benefit to patients with gum disease (periodontal disease).when used with a "Pik Pocket" attachment .Delmarva Dental Services offers "Waterpiks" with "Pik Pocket" to our patients who have deep pockets. They flush the pockets with a special antibacterial solution. Patients who do not have gum disease can use the "Waterpik" together with brushing and flossing but not as a substitute.
Delmarva Dental Services recommends this to our patients who are healing from gum lifts, crown lengthening and when their gum tissues are red, flabby and need stimulation.
Delmarva Dental Services recommends "Listerine" for adult patients, especially those who have gum disease (periodontal disease). Listerine is not as good as flossing as their advertising claims. Therefore, do not substitute Listerine for flossing. It is however, the best nonprescription mouthwash for the gums. We will also advise our patients to use this in their Pik Pockets or the prescription mouthrinse "Periogard". Children should use fluoride supplements based on their decay rate, age and home water fluoride levels. Fluoride may be in the form of drops, vitamins, pills, rinses, or gels.