While your regular preventive visits to Douglas Hauck DDS, Inc. are essential for achieving and maintaining optimal oral health, it is also essential that you practice good oral hygiene at home every day in order to avoid tooth decay and periodontal disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss and, in most cases, is completely preventable. By attending professional dental cleanings at our office twice each year and thoroughly brushing and flossing every day at home, you can help eliminate the bacteria and plaque that cause periodontal disease as well as achieve a beautiful and radiant smile.

With so many types of oral hygiene aids on the shelves, it can be hard to discover which aids are right for you and your smile. To help you, we have compiled a list of some of the most common oral hygiene aids available:

Dental Floss

Dental floss, as many of you know, is an interdental (between the teeth) and subgingival (below the gum) cleaner. Floss comes in many types and flavors and is often made of either very thin polyethylene ribbons or nylon filaments. When used correctly, floss can remove the plaque and food particles that get stuck between the teeth. While flossing is essential to your overall oral health, remember that flossing too vigorously can cause bleeding and damage to the soft tissues, so it is important to be careful when flossing. Dr. Douglas Hauck recommends flossing at least once or twice each day.

Interdental Cleaners

Interdental cleaners are tiny brushes that our dentist may recommend using in addition to dental floss. Very gentle on the gums, interdental cleaners are also effective in cleaning the tooth contours between the gums. Interdental brushes come in many sizes and shapes; Dr. Douglas Hauck will help you decide which is right for you when you visit our dental office.

Mouth Rinses

There are two types of mouth rinses: cosmetic rinses, which provide temporary results and are sold over the counter, and therapeutic rinses, which offer better results and often require a prescription. Dr. Douglas Hauck may recommend a therapeutic rinse to more effectively reduce cavities, plaque, and bad breath. Mouth rinses should be used after brushing your teeth for best results.

Oral Irrigators

Oral irrigators, such as Waterpiks or Water Jets, are designed to clean debris from underneath the gum line. The oral irrigators use tiny jets to continuously spray water into the gum pockets. This is done to remove food particles and harmful bacteria. In many cases, oral irrigators have proven effective in reducing the risk of periodontal (gum) disease, but they should not be used in place of either flossing or brushing. In addition, professional cleanings are recommended at least twice a year to remove debris and bacteria that oral irrigators cannot reach.

Rubber Tip Stimulators

To help you remove plaque from around the gum line as well as stimulate the blood flow to the gums, Dr. Douglas Hauck may recommend a rubber tip stimulator. When using the rubber tip stimulator, remember to trace gently along both the inner and outer gum line at least once every day. You can rinse off any plaque on the tip with regular tap water. As soon as the tip starts to look worn, replace it. When not in use, store the rubber tip stimulator in a dry, cool area.

Tongue Cleaners

Tongue cleaners are special dental appliances that can remove built-up fungi, food debris, and bacteria from the surface of the tongue. It is important to keep the tongue clean because the bacteria and fungi that accumulate on the tongue have been linked to bad breath (halitosis) as well as systemic diseases such as heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and stroke. There are many types of tongue cleaners, and they are often made from plastic, metal, and wood. Tongue cleaners are even shaped to match the contours of the tongue. To prevent ingestion of harmful bacteria and fungi, Dr. Douglas Hauck recommends cleaning the tongue before brushing the teeth.

Toothbrushes

There are many types of toothbrush available. With so many choices, it may be difficult to know which one is right for you. Dr. Douglas Hauck generally recommends electric toothbrushes because they are much more effective at removing plaque and food particles from around the teeth and gums than manual toothbrushes. Electric toothbrushes utilize a vibrating or rotary motion to keep the teeth and gums clean. While you can achieve the same results with a manual toothbrush, it will require much more effort to do so.

If you do use a manual toothbrush, remember to replace it every three months to keep your smile bright and healthy. Choose a brush with soft bristles in order to cause less damage to the soft tissues in the mouth. Look for a toothbrush that has the ADA’s approved seal for best results. To maintain optimal oral health, remember to brush at least twice a day, but ideally after each meal.

To learn more about oral hygiene aids in Newport Beach, California, and to schedule an appointment, we invite you to contact our dental office.

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