Regular brushing and flossing is the basis of good dental hygiene. Brushing should be two or three times a day, preferably after each meal, though flossing can be done just at bedtime. Use only a medium (not hard) toothbrush.
See your dental hygienist every 4-6 months. However, due to certain gum conditions some individuals may require a more frequent cleaning schedule. Brushing and flossing, if done faithfully, will remove most plaque, (that sticky film that continuously forms over our teeth) but any that remains will harden into tartar, which cannot be brushed off. The hygienist will remove it, along with accumulated stains from coffee, soda, tea, tobacco and red wine (the most common staining culprits).
What causes gum disease?
Most often, it is poor dental hygiene. When the teeth and gums are not kept clean enough, plaque builds up. Plaque holds bacteria. At some point, the bacteria get in between the teeth and the gums and cause an infection. As the infection progresses, pockets form, resulting in spaces between the teeth and gums.
Now there is an established cycle, which is hard to break. Bacteria create pockets. The pockets hold bacteria, which multiply and enlarge the pockets, enabling more bacteria to dwell there. Infection develops. This starts out as gingivitis, and it’s the early stage of gum disease.
You’ll notice it because the gums become red and swollen and may bleed while brushing or flossing. Regular visits with your hygienist combined with impeccable home care breaks this cycle and creates an environment for healthy gums.