Oral and Dental Care
Oral care includes the cleaning of all soft tissues in the mouth, such as gums, tongue, and cheek mucosa, in addition to teeth. The important topics for your oral and dental health are as follows:
- Rinsing solutions
- Tartar removal
- Periodic dental check-up
What kind of brush:
A soft or medium-hard brush should be preferred. Using a very hard brush to remove stains can cause abrasion on tooth surfaces. Choosing a small-headed brush as much as possible ensures that the brush can move comfortably even in the back areas of the mouth. Proper brushing done manually provides better results than automatic brushes.
In a study conducted in Turkey, it was stated that our average tooth brushing time is not even 30 seconds. However, the ideal time is 2 minutes. When you time yourself, you will see how long 2 minutes actually is.
How many times to brush:
Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, and one of these should be before going to bed. The sleep period is the time when the most bacteria grow and the most cavities occur in the mouth due to the decrease in saliva flow. The other brushing session is recommended to be after breakfast. It is also beneficial to brush teeth after lunch and dinner, but busy city life may make it impractical.
Method of brushing teeth:
When it comes to brushing teeth, it is important to not only think about the teeth themselves. Your brushing should include your gums and the upper and lower jaws should be brushed separately. Do not apply too much pressure while brushing. As a brushing method, we recommend a combination method to our patients:
a. Brush from the top of the upper jaw downwards and from the bottom of the lower jaw upwards: Place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle on your gum and pull towards the teeth. Then, without moving the brush in the opposite direction, lift it and brush from the gum to the tooth in the same area. In other words, you will have made a simple sweeping motion. Think of brushing in the same way as sweeping a floor: you only move the broom in one direction and then lift it and move it in the same direction again. This way, you will be sweeping the plaque that accumulates on the gums and teeth towards your mouth, which will prevent your gums from receding. Brushing in the opposite direction, or from tooth to tooth, will push the plaque towards the junction of the gum and tooth, which can lead to both tartar buildup and gum recession. This first step of brushing is very important and should be applied to both the outer surface of the teeth (facing the lip) and the inner surface (facing the tongue and palate).
b. As the second step, you should brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth (the pitted surfaces where the upper and lower teeth meet) back and forth.
c. In the third step, you should brush your teeth and gums in a circular motion as much as possible, which will also massage your gums.
d. In the final step, brush your tongue from the back to the front, and even brush the soft tissues in your cheeks and palate. Rinse your mouth with water and finish brushing.
Brush maintenance and replacement:
After brushing, the brush should be rinsed thoroughly under cold water and then left to dry upright. The next brushing should be done with a dry brush that has been coated with toothpaste, without wetting it with water. Make sure your brush does not come into contact with other people's brushes, as various diseases can be transmitted this way. Even replace your own brush after a serious illness like the flu. The lifespan of a toothbrush is an average of three months, after which it should be replaced.
Selection of toothpaste:
In general, the contents of all toothpaste brands known in the market are similar. What is important is not the brand, but brushing correctly and with the right frequency. In some special sensitivity cases, your dentist will tell you which brand or type of toothpaste to use. Such cases are very rare. Choose a toothpaste whose taste and smell you like from the well-known brands in the market.
Interdental brushes are specially designed brushes for cleaning the spaces between two teeth. They consist of thin bristles wrapped around a thin wire. They are particularly effective in cleaning the areas around slightly larger gaps between teeth or around dentures.
USE OF DENTAL FLOSS:
No matter how well and regularly you brush your teeth, it is impossible to clean the area between two adjacent teeth completely. One of the most practical ways to clean these areas is by using dental floss. Many of the cavities that you don't notice until they start to cause pain are actually interproximal cavities. Using dental floss is just as important as brushing your teeth for preventing these cavities.
What kind of dental floss should I use?
Generally, dental floss is sold as waxed, unwaxed, and PTFE. Waxed ones are suitable for people with tightly packed teeth who have difficulty passing the floss. The PTFE type can be used comfortably even in tightly packed interdental spaces.
How often should I use it?
Using dental floss before each brushing would be beneficial if possible. If you're too lazy to do this, you should use it at least once a day before going to bed.
How do I use it?
Cut about 30-35cm of floss and wrap it around the middle fingers of both hands. Leave a 5-6 cm unwrapped section in the middle. Hold this section tightly with your thumbs or index fingers to keep it taut. Instead of applying too much pressure at once, place the floss between the teeth with gentle back-and-forth movements. After passing the floss between the teeth, move it up and down to scrape the tooth surfaces. You should travel around the surfaces of both teeth sequentially. It is beneficial for the floss to enter a little into the gum, but it should not be forced hard enough to injure or bleed the gum. It is more hygienic to use unused parts of the floss when repeating this process between each pair of teeth. If you find it difficult to wrap the dental floss around your fingers, specially designed dental floss with a plastic handle can provide ease of use. There are also specially developed dental flosses for cleaning under dentures or for those who cannot use dental floss due to orthodontic wires (such as Oral-b Superfloss). The tip of these dental flosses is made of a stiff material like a fishing line, and the rest is regular dental floss. The stiff part can be pushed from the inside under the denture or between orthodontic wires, and then pulled out. It is quite cumbersome to use. Instead, the use of a mouthwash (Oxyjet) that we will describe in the next section is much more practical.
USAGE OF ORAL IRRIGATOR (Oxyjet) DEVICE:
Using dental floss can be troublesome for many people and they may be reluctant to use it regularly. Especially for cleaning under bridges, around implants, and around teeth with orthodontic wires, special dental floss is required, which can be extra challenging to use. Instead, a device that washes teeth with pressurized water, similar to washing cars with a pressure washer, has been developed. These devices are generally referred to as oral irrigators. Although we do not recommend many brands, we recommend Oral-b's product, Oxyjet, for its durability. You can select the pressure and spray type of the water.
How to use:
If you choose the pressure too high, you can irritate your gums and cause bleeding and water can be sprayed around too much. During the adaptation period, you can use it at levels 1 and 2 by slightly tilting your head towards the sink, and later on, you can use levels 3 and 4. You can use the water in the fine spray mode to clean the spaces between your teeth, especially like dental floss. For cleaning the areas where teeth meet gums, it is more appropriate to use the spraying mode. You can use only drinking water in the water tank or you can add an oral rinse solution (Listerine, Oral-b, Sensodyne, Colgate, etc.) to the water. It comes with 4 different colored heads and allows 4 different people to use the same device. It is a recommended device, especially for patients with implants and bridges. We also recommend it to patients who are reluctant to use dental floss between natural teeth. After brushing your teeth, you will see that you remove many food residues that you could not remove with brushing alone when you use this device.
USE OF ORAL RINSE SOLUTION:
These solutions, also known as mouthwash solutions, are suitable for daily use. The most commonly used one is a solution called "Listerine". In addition, there are solutions produced by almost all toothpaste companies (Ipana, Colgate, Sensodyne, Oralb, etc.), and all of them are suitable for daily use. These solutions are suitable for continuous use, unlike other gargles sold in pharmacies, which can cause various side effects if used for more than 2 weeks. How to use: Use as recommended by the manufacturer. Generally, after completing all your dental care before going to bed, take this solution into your mouth without diluting it and gargle for 30 seconds without swallowing it, passing it through the spaces between your teeth. Then, if possible, go to bed without rinsing with water, which will increase its effectiveness.
All the methods mentioned above prevent tooth decay and also prevent, or at least delay, tartar formation. However, despite regular application of all methods, tartar still forms in many people due to their saliva composition. There is a misconception among the public that cleaning tartar is harmful. However, these tartars perform a foreign body function within the gum and the gums try to move away from this foreign body, causing gum recession. Cleaning tartars with the right methods has no harm and prevents the consequences that may lead to the loss of your teeth.
How often should cleaning be done:
People who do not have tartar buildup do not need to have their teeth cleaned throughout their lifetime. Unnecessary interventions are harmful. If tartar buildup is occurring, cleaning should be done every 6 months to 2 years depending on the frequency of formation. Many people who frequently consume cigarettes, tea, and coffee mistake the stains caused by these substances on their teeth for tartar and want to have them cleaned at frequent intervals. Remember that these types of stains will quickly reoccur as long as these habits continue. Consult your dentist about the necessity of cleaning and follow their advice.
YEARLY DENTAL CHECK-UP:
Unless your dentist calls you for a check-up in a shorter period of time, make sure to schedule a 15-minute check-up appointment once a year. In this short session, if there are any problems that you are not aware of, they will be detected and intervention will be possible before the problem grows. Additionally, this session will be beneficial for the control of previously performed treatments.