Home care is what we call the process you go through to keep your teeth and gums healthy between dental visits. Of course, I have to do this too. My philosophy is to keep it simple and effective. I want to have the fewest steps with the best results for my effort. Home care is a little boring and time consuming so I prioritize saving time and effort more than money. This is what I do and it will be work for 95% of you too.
First, use a sonic toothbrush. You may be thinking you can do a perfectly good job with a manual toothbrush. I thought so too. After all, I was taught to brush in Dental School and the instructors tested us on our effectiveness. Really! But I can do a better job with a sonic toothbrush. The sonic vibration works by dismembering (shredding) the plaque bacteria so they can no longer adhere to your teeth. You don’t have to make tiny circles the way we learned with a manual brush you just place it lightly against your teeth for a few seconds then move to the next spot. This is especially nice if you have to brush for children or disabled people. The brush will let you know when 30 seconds have gone by and it’s time to move to the next quadrant. Two minutes for your whole mouth. A little nerve-racking at first with all the noise and vibration but you will soon get used to keeping your lips closed so it doesn’t spray all over the bathroom.
A sonic toothbrush generally costs $80 or more. We’re not talking about a $20 electric toothbrush without the sonic vibration. And you need to replace the brush head frequently. I get the name brand brush heads with soft or extra-soft bristles. There are blue indicator bristles that turn clear at the tip as the brush wears out. When half the length of the blue bristle has turned clear it’s time for a new brush head. If you don’t replace your brush head soon enough your teeth won’t get as clean. You’ll start to feel that fuzzy feeling on your teeth.
I brush 3 times a day. The most important time is right before bed. You want to have clean teeth at night when your saliva isn’t flowing. More about that later. The second step is to use a high fluoride toothpaste. Clinpro 5000 and Prevident are both good choices. I use Clinpro 5000 because we have it for sale at the office. Prevident is available at the pharmacy with a prescription that we can give you at your hygiene visit. They are 5000 ppm Fluoride. That’s prescription strength. Five times more fluoride than grocery store toothpaste.
Fluoride repairs teeth that are starting to decay and reduces sensitivity. It won’t hurt you as long as you don’t swallow it. So it’s good for anyone who can be relied on to spit it out. These kinds of toothpaste are also good because they don’t have whitening or tartar control
products in them that can make you more sensitive. I also like using a high fluoride toothpaste because it doesn’t require another step. It’s not another rinse or varnish to be applied after brushing. I just use this toothpaste every time I brush. Another good habit is to spit but not to rinse with water after brushing. Leave the remains of the fluoride to soak into your teeth. I know it’s really hard for some of you not to rinse your mouth after brushing. That’s OK, using it three times a day will probably be enough, even if you rinse after. Step three is to clean between your teeth every day.
Floss is the best way to clean between your teeth and there is a correct way to wrap the floss on your fingers to make it easier. Ask me to show you when you’re here. It’s hard to describe. If you can’t fit your fingers in your mouth, don’t have the dexterity, etc. a flossing tool is good too. You can use disposable floss tools or a sturdy handle that is reusable and restrung with floss each time. If you have enough space you can use latex picks. There are lots of options. Just use one each day. Talk with the dental hygienist about which option is best for you. Technically it’s more effective to floss before you brush but haven’t been able to develop that habit yet. And technically unwaxed floss will pick up more plaque than waxed floss but I like floss with Goretex because it’s easier to use and that means it’s more likely to happen.
So that’s it – brush 3 times a day with a sonic brush and high fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth once and day.