Dr. Musto

Practice Limited to Periodontics and Dental Implants

920 Wyoming Avenue, Suite 203, Forty Fort, PA 18704

507-283-3611

Oral Hygiene

To brush the outside surfaces of your teeth properly, position the tooth brush at a 45-degree angle to where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.

When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.

To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don't forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.

Next, you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth. To do this use short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Observe yourself in a mirror to make sure you clean all surfaces thoroughly. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.

If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to contact a dental professional.

Also, remember to brush the top side of your tongue. The tongue can harbor food debris and bacteria which lead to bad breath.

How to Floss

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.

Observe yourself in a mirror to make sure you clean all surfaces thoroughly. Start with a piece of floss or tape about 18-24" long. Tape is slightly wider and has greater cleaning surface area. Lightly wrap most of the tape around the ring or middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the tape around the ring or middle finger of the other hand.

Grip the tape tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the tape between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the tape or try to snap it in to place. Bring the tape to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the tape up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to tape each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the tape becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.

To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the tape using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are sore. If your gums hurt while flossing, you could be using too much force or cutting the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long-term, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. Tartar control toothpastes may cause tooth sensitivity to worsen. If your teeth are especially sensitive, call our office. Medicated toothpaste or mouth rinses made especially for sensitive teeth may be recommended.

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products

There are so many products on the market today. Choosing products can be confusing and difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.

Automatic and "high-tech" electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes.

Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle; this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal or proxy brushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly, you could injure the gums. Discuss proper use with a dental professional.

Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line. Mechanical tooth cleansing is most important to reduce the early stage of gum disease.

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.

Your dental professionals can help select the right products for you.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental plaque and calculus to a minimum. A professional cleaning is needed to remove plaque and calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Visit your periodontist, as he or she is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.