The importance of dental hygiene
Bacterial plaque can build up on all surfaces in your mouth and particularly around dental crown margins – this is where the crown meets your gum line.
To remove bacterial plaque and keep your mouth healthy, it’s important to be thorough when you clean your teeth and gums. This will help prevent gingivitis (inflammation and bleeding from your gums) and periodontal disease (destruction of the bone that supports your teeth).
There are lots of tools to choose from to help keep your smile healthy – even choosing a basic toothbrush can be bewildering. And with cosmetic dentistry, you need the right tools to prevent any teeth or gum problems. So here is my guide to keep your dental crowns healthy and in great condition.
Carefully clean around the margins of your crowns to protect the area where your crown meets your gum. If you don’t, your gum may recede, which will not only look unsightly, it may expose sensitive dentine. This is the part of the tooth that covers the nerve. But what type of toothbrush is best to use?
Manual tooth brushes
- Choose a toothbrush with a small, compact head which will help you get to those hard to reach areas.
- Your toothbrush should have soft to medium filaments, which will be gentle on your teeth and gums.
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line – a small circular movement will successfully remove the plaque.
- You may find it easier to adopt a ‘roll’ technique. This is where you sweep the brush from the gum area to the tip of the tooth (almost as if you are brushing the gum over the tooth).
- When cleaning the front of your mouth, it may be helpful if you hold the brush upright.
- You should find that the biting surfaces of your teeth are easier to scrub because they aren’t in contact with delicate gum tissue.
- Brushing your teeth with a manual toothbrush should take about three minutes, twice a day.
Electric toothbrushes are very popular today, but there is a confusing amount of models to choose from. Personally, I recommend an electric toothbrush with a small oscillating round head as these are very easy to use. These are good because the brush moves one way then the other repeatedly in a steady rhythm. You place the brush on each surface of the tooth at a 45-degree angle for around five seconds. It should take about two minutes to complete the whole of your mouth.
Remember to replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) every three months, or sooner if the filaments begin to look splayed or worn out. Remember a worn toothbrush won’t work very well.
Interdental cleaning and flossing
As well as brushing your teeth, adopt a daily interdental cleaning routine. This is how you remove plaque and impacted food from in between your teeth, often where your toothbrush can’t reach. Dental floss and interdental brushes (these look like tiny bottle brushes) are both effective ways of removing plaque between your teeth. Whichever one you choose, do it at least once a day.
I find a lot of people prefer to use interdental brushes because they are quick and easy, but flossing, although less popular, is ideal for cleaning between crowns. If the gaps in between your teeth vary in size, and you prefer using interdental brushes, you might need several different brush sizes. The brushes should fit into the gaps between your teeth without the wire rubbing your tooth. You can also use a single tufted brush to remove remaining plaque from between your teeth.
To make sure you’re flossing correctly, follow these tips.
- Take the floss and curve it around your middle fingers at each end, so that your index finger and thumb can help guide the floss.
- Make sure there is an inch of floss between your fingers.
- Use a mirror to help guide you.
- Pull the floss taut and curve it around your tooth with a ‘c’ shape action. Gently slide it up and down the side of the tooth, edging into the gum as far as the gum will allow.
- Repeat on the other side of the adjoining tooth.
- Don’t forget to do the back of your last tooth.
- Use a fresh section of floss for each gap.
Dedicating just a few minutes a day to oral cleaning (morning and night) is all you need to do to help maintain a healthy mouth. This is equally applicable to cleaning any dental crowns you have. Follow my steps above and visit our hub of dental information for more handy tips and advice.
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