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Oral Hygiene


Overview :

Brushing

Brushing should be performed with a toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and preferably after every meal and snack. Effective brushing must clean each outer tooth surface, inner tooth surface, and the flat chewing surfaces of the back teeth. To clean the outer and inner surfaces, the toothbrush should be held at a 45-degree angle against the gums and moved back and forth in short strokes (no more than one toothwidth distance). To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, the toothbrush should be held vertically and the bristles at the tip (called the toe of the brush) moved gently up and down against each tooth. To clean the chewing surfaces of the large back teeth, the brush should be held flat and moved back and forth. Finally, the tongue should also be brushed using a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and bacteria that may sour the breath.

Toothbrushes wear out and should be replaced every three months. Consumers should look for tooth-brushes with soft, nylon, rounded bristles in a size and shape that allows them to reach all tooth surfaces easily.

Holding a toothbrush may be difficult for people with limited use of their hands. The toothbrush handle may be modified by inserting it into a rubber ball for easier gripping.

Flossing

Flossing once a day helps prevent gum disease by removing food particles and plaque at and below the gumline as well as between teeth. To begin, most of an 18-in (45-cm) strand of floss is wrapped around the third finger of one hand. A 1-in (2.5-cm) section is then grasped firmly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. The floss is eased between two teeth and worked gently up and down several times with a rubbing motion. At the gumline, the floss is curved first around one tooth and then the other with gentle sliding into the space between the tooth and gum. After each tooth contact is cleaned, a fresh section of floss is unwrapped from one hand as the used section of floss is wrapped around the third finger of the opposite hand. Flossing proceeds between all teeth and behind the last teeth. Flossing should also be performed around the abutment (support) teeth of a bridge and under any artificial teeth using a device called a floss threader.

Dental floss comes in many varieties (waxed, unwaxed, flavored, tape) and may be chosen on personal preference. For people who have difficulty handling floss, floss holders and other types of interdental (between the teeth) cleaning aids, such as brushes and picks, are available.




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