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3 Ways to Keep Good Dental Hygiene at Home

While Dr. Scott Finlay & Associates’ office is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that our patients may be looking for options to help maximize their dental care at home in lieu of cleanings or other elective visits. In this article, we’ll break down three dental care products to help you achieve a healthier mouth from home.dentist in annapolis, md

Our first tool is the toothbrush, and not all are equal. Dr. Scott Finlay & Associates recommends a sonic or ultrasonic toothbrush for the most effective cleaning. Vibrating or sonic brushes vibrate from side-to-side at a high rate of frequency. Ultrasonic brushes use the highest frequency of vibration and do not rely on motion to clean the teeth.

There are many benefits of using a sonic toothbrush. These include:

  1. Speed – It is impossible for a manual brush to reach the speed of a powered brush, which is able to more successfully move plaque and food. Better yet, powered brushes use around half of the force needed by a manual brush to do the same job.
  2. Comfort – An electric toothbrush takes care of the grunt work. This is especially helpful for those individuals with arthritis, carpal tunnel, paralysis, and other medical concerns. It’s also a benefit for children who do not have the dexterity to effectively clean their own teeth.
  3. Deeper Clean – Powered brushes offer more power to remove stains and whiten teeth and more flexibility to reach into cracks and crevices.

Our second tip is flossing your teeth more efficiently with a water flossing tool. Science supports what dental professionals have observed in their patients during check-ups, as clinical studies show that a water flosser is up to 51% more effective than dental floss for reducing gingivitis, two times as effective as dental floss at reducing gingival bleeding and 29% more effective than dental floss at removing plaque.

Water flossers deliver a clinically proven combination of pulsation and pressure necessary to remove plaque and are especially beneficial for people with dental braces or orthodontic appliances. Water flossers are faster, easier, and more effective to use than regular dental floss. Some recommended brands are those by Waterpik, Conair, and Philips, and range in price from $30 to $90.

Flossing only works for those who use it regularly and do it effectively. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to achieve optimal oral health. By flossing daily, you help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque is a sticky substance made of bacteria. If it builds up, the bacteria can irritate the gums, cause inflammation, gum disease, and cavities.

Lastly, we recommend the Oulette, or tongue scraper, which removes any layers of bacteria or plaque from your tongue. This practice is needed and has been a part of our mouth care for centuries! The method of tongue scraping dates back to the Romans. The tongue takes up a lot of room in your mouth and needs to be cleaned just like your teeth. The benefits of a tongue scraper are:

  1. Better Breath. Approximately 85% of bad breath causes occur in the mouth and at least 50% of those causes are due to “residues” left on your tongue.
  2. Better Appearances. Cleaning your tongue helps the appearance by taking away the white coating of bacteria and showing the youthful pink tongue.
  3. Helps prevent tooth and gum disease. The tongue can act as a station for bacteria to invade the rest of your mouth. You can clean and floss your teeth, but unremoved bacteria will move from your tongue to your teeth, which may lead to tooth and gum disease.

All three methods help improve your at-home oral care when used properly and daily. When using a tongue scraper, the tongue should be gently scraped from back to front for 7 to 14 strokes, daily. We continue to recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Contact Dr. Scott Finlay and Associates, DDS at 443-276-4094 if you have any questions related to your dental health.