Healthy Gums

At the office of Bruce W. Smith, DDS, gum care focuses on the health of supporting structures for the teeth. Recent studies show strong connection between healthy gums and overall healthy bodies. Healthy gums are marked by several characteristics that can be tested using a variety of diagnostic tools. When tests fall within normal limits, the gum and bone tissue are said to be healthy. The best way to maintain healthy gum and bone tissue, as prescribed by Drs. Smith and Carrell, is routinely seeing a dental hygienist for preventive cleanings and checkups.

Equally important is oral home care. Proper brushing and flossing is your first line of defense against the bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis. Brushing and flossing disrupts biofilm, a sticky substance containing disease-causing bacteria. Within 24 hours, biofilm hardens into tartar. It is best to remove the biofilm before it hardens. This is accomplished with proper brushing and flossing techniques. The only way to remove hardened tartar is with a professional cleaning.

Brush Properly

Proper brushing technique is essential to healthy gums. The purpose of brushing is to remove debris from the tooth surface and 1 to 2 millimeters below the gum line. It is important to adopt a flossing regimen as a supplement to brushing.

Our dentists highly recommend using an electric toothbrush. The proper brushing technique is different for electric and manual toothbrushes. Whether using an electric or manual toothbrush, the bristles should be soft and angled at forty-five degrees where the tooth meets the gum.

Brushing with too much force is ineffective. The bristles should not bend, but rather remain straight so they can penetrate 1 to 2 millimeters below the gum line. Do not forget to scrape and clean your tongue.

  • Manual Toothbrush
    Always use a soft bristle toothbrush. Angle it 45 degrees where the tooth meets the gums. Use a slow and circular motion, gently brushing the teeth for at least 2 minutes, paying close attention to the in-between. Do not forget to scrape and clean your tongue.
  • Electric Toothbrush
    Always use a soft bristle brush head. Angle it 45 degrees where the tooth meets the gums. Slowly drag the toothbrush along the teeth, nestling the bristle between each tooth. Let is rest in this position a second or two, then drag the toothbrush between the next two teeth.
  • Electric toothbrushes have a 2-minute timer. Spend 30 seconds in each quadrant (upper right, lower right, upper left and lower left) to get the best result. Do not forget to scrape and clean your tongue.

    Floss Properly

    Proper flossing technique is essential to healthy gums. The purpose of flossing is to remove biofilm 1 to 2 millimeters below the gum line. So, it is important to adopt a flossing regimen that best suits your needs.

    Drs. Smith and Carrell highly recommend using an electric water flosser over manual flossing. The proper flossing technique is different for water flossers and manual flossing.

  • Manual Floss
    Flossing allows you to reach further below the gums and get between your teeth, where brushing alone cannot reach. Using about 18 inches of floss, secure the floss by wrapping it around the middle finger of each hand. Using your thumbs or forefingers, gently push the floss between each tooth. Then, following the curve of the tooth, close the floss around the tooth and gently guide the floss below the gum line and make several circular motions toward the tooth. To remove the floss, gently pull the floss back between the teeth being careful not to disturb any restorative care.
  • Electric Water Flosser
    Water flossers are an effective alternative to manually flossing. Some studies show water flossing is up to 50% more effective than manual. Simply aim the flosser tip between your teeth and along the gum line in front and on back of each tooth. The pulsing water will do the job of disrupting biofilm and removing debris between your teeth and below the gum line.
  • Floss Properly Under a Bridge

    A bridge is 2 or more crowns linked together to replace one or more missing teeth. Because they are linked, it is impossible to floss normally by pushing the floss between each tooth. Flossing under a bridge requires the use of a floss threader. The threader is a loop of stiff floss. Like a needle and thread, the floss is threaded through the loop of the threader. The threader is then placed between or under the bridge and the floss is pulled through to the other side. This allows for proper flossing. Gently drag the floss back forth to remove any debris collected under the bridge. Then, floss the anchor teeth by closing the floss around the tooth and gradually reach below the gum line and make several circular motions toward the anchor tooth. Repeat this for any other anchor teeth.

    To learn more about gum care in Houston, Texas, and how best to care for your unique oral health, we invite you to contact our office at 713-529-4364 today.