We have all been raised with the understanding that brushing our teeth is important, but the understanding of how important may be lost. Traditionally the role of a dentist was to identify problems and restore the function of the tooth. This type of reactionary response was many dentists only choice because of the information and tools they had available. Today, the focus in dentistry has been the study and education of why these dental issues have arisen, and how they can be prevented. Preventive dentistry is the new, modern approach to dentistry, and what you do at home each day with your oral hygiene routine plays an enormous part. Samuel Seo, DMD, along with our staff at PDX Center for Dentistry, can do more than just fix problems, we can help you avoid problems.
Samuel Seo, DMD has taken the concept of providing patients with more information, having more information has proven to mean avoiding issues in the future. We may understand that we need to brush and floss, but learning about plaque, tartar, gum disease, and more, explains how one concept ties to the next, and how taking simple steps can avoid a domino effect of problems.
An example of this includes the topic of flossing. We are all told that flossing is a great preventive tool, but we often aren’t told why, and most patients minimally perform the task with much drudgery. Updated information tells us that flossing significantly decreases an individual patient’s chance of developing periodontitis or gum disease. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. Normal daily eating leaves food particles and the sticky plaque substance between our teeth. If these food particles are left in place, our gum tissue can develop a bacterial infection from the sugars found in the foods. This bacterial infection attacks the tissue, and the tissue only knows how to respond by pulling away from the source of infection, meaning the tissue is also pulling away from our teeth. Our teeth rely on this tissue for support. We floss to keep our gum tissue healthy.
Brushing is very important, but don’t just brush the surface of your teeth, brush along the gums. Most people understand that they want to brush to remove foul smelling odors, but they may not understand that we want you to brush to remove plaque. Plaque is a naturally occurring substance that we make from saliva and food particles. This material tends to collect and rest at the base of our teeth, along the gumline. When the plaque is soft, it’s easy to remove, that’s why we want to brush daily. When the plaque dries, it becomes hard and difficult to remove. Plaque contains sugar, and as bacteria feasts on the sugar, it creates an acid that attacks the enamel of our teeth and causes a bacterial infection in our gums. This is how we get cavities and gum disease. The biggest problem most dentists see in brushing is patients not brushing frequently enough, not focusing on the gumline, and not brushing long enough. We want our patients to brush twice a day, angle the brush toward the gum line, and assume there are four quadrants in your mouth and brush each quadrant for 30 seconds, for a total of 2 minutes each time you brush.
These tips, tools, and guidelines will help you have a healthier mouth, preventing disease. For more information on oral hygiene and how you can avoid problems, contact PDX Center for Dentistry at our Portland office at (503) 546-9079.