Clean and Fresh - Ziolkowski Dental

Clean and Fresh - Ziolkowski Dental
From the office of:
Keith A. Ziolkowski, DDS, FAGD
3970 N Oakland Ave Ste 403
Shorewood, WI 53211-2265
(414) 962-0389
I Fact Sheet Oral Hygiene I
Clean and Fresh
Bacteria can live in your mouth in the
form of plaque, causing cavities and
gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal
(gum) disease. In order to keep your
mouth clean, you must practice good oral
hygiene every day.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on
teeth, including where toothbrushes can’t
reach. Many of the foods you eat cause
the bacteria in your mouth to produce
acids. Sugary foods are obvious sources
of plaque, but there are others that
you might not realize can cause harm.
Starches—such as bread, crackers, and
cereal—also cause acids to form.
Plaque also produces substances that
irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding. This can
lead to gum disease, in which gums pull
away from the teeth and form pockets
that fill with bacteria and pus. If the gums
are not treated, the bone around the
teeth can be destroyed and teeth may
become loose or have to be removed.
How can I get rid of plaque?
The best way to remove plaque is by
brushing and cleaning between your
teeth every day. Brushing removes plaque
from the tooth surfaces. Brush your teeth
twice per day with a soft-bristled brush.
The size and shape of your toothbrush
should fit your mouth and allow you to
reach all areas easily. Use an antimicrobial
toothpaste containing fluoride, which
helps protect your teeth from decay.
Clean between the teeth once a
day with floss or interdental cleaners to
remove plaque from between the teeth,
where the toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is essential to prevent gum disease.
How do I brush and floss my
The American Dental Association recommends the following techniques for
brushing and flossing your teeth:
• Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree
angle against the gums.
• Move the brush back and forth gently
in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
• Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the
inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing
surfaces of the teeth.
• Use the tip of the brush to clean the
inside surfaces of the front teeth,
using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
• Brush your tongue to remove bacteria
and freshen your breath.
• Break off about 18 inches of floss and
wind it around the middle fingers of
each hand. Hold the floss tightly
between your thumbs and forefingers.
• Guide the floss between your teeth
using a gentle rubbing motion.
• When the floss reaches the gum line,
curve it into a C shape against one
tooth. Gently slide it into the space
between the gum and the tooth.
• Bring the floss back toward the
contact point between the teeth and
move the floss up or down the other
side, conforming the floss to the shape
of the tooth.
• Hold the floss tightly against the tooth.
Gently rub the side of the tooth,
moving the floss away from the gum
with up-and-down motions.
• Repeat this method on the rest of your
Is there anything else I can use to
clean my mouth?
A mouth rinse, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, can increase the cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth
rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity,
which cause gingivitis and gum disease.
Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce
and prevent tooth decay.
Always talk to your dentist about any
new products you are interested in trying.
Not everyone should use a fluoride mouth
rinse. For instance, fluoride rinses are
not recommended for children ages 6 or
younger because they may swallow them.
Always check the manufacturer’s label for
precautions and age recommendations
and talk with your dentist about the use
of fluoride mouth rinse.
At the AGD’s Web site, you can search more than 300
oral health topics, post dental questions, sign up for
e-newsletters, find an AGD dentist, and more.
The AGD’s toll-free referral number. Call to locate an
AGD member dentist in your area.
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