Plaque is essentially the start of gum disease problems. Plaque is a build-up of particles from the foods you eat every day. Once sugars are introduced to plaque, it turns into a tooth eating acid that sits just above the gum line. If regular oral care isn't standard, the acid will start eating at the teeth and gums. Plaque that is allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time can cause cavities, gingivitis and other problems in your mouth. If it's left longer than that, serious dental procedures may be required to restore your decaying smile.
Step 1 - Place bristles along the gum line at a 45 degree angle. Gently brush using a circular motion along the outer and inner tooth surfaces.
Step 2 - Brush each tooth individually. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Using the front half of the brush, use the same circular motion.
Step 3 - Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back-and-forth motion. Brush the tongue to remove odor-producing bacteria.
A proper flossing method is vital to ensure the time you are spending flossing is actually cleaning your teeth. First, begin with about 18 inches of total floss; leave approximately 6 inches to floss with, and wind the remainder around one of your middle fingers.
As you begin, rather than bringing the floss down in a straight line, be sure to create a ‘C’ shape with the floss by curving it around the tooth; this ensures you are cleaning the entire surface as opposed to just the side. Gently move the floss up and down the surface of the tooth, and then reverse the C-shape to repeat the process with the adjacent tooth. Prior to moving onto the next set of teeth, unwind your clean floss from your first middle finger and transfer the dirty floss to your opposite middle finger by winding it. Repeat until all teeth have been cleaned, and be sure to use clean floss each time to avoid simply transferring bacteria and debris.
Fluoride, a substance that's found naturally in water, plays an important role in healthy tooth development and cavity prevention.
Fluoride combats tooth decay in two ways:
1) It strengthens tooth enamel, a hard and shiny substance that protects the teeth, so that it can better resist the acid formed by plaque.
2) Fluoride allows teeth damaged by acid to repair, or re-mineralize, themselves.
Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that these fluoride supplements be given daily to children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The dosage will change as your child grows. Only children living in non-fluoridated areas or children who drink only non-fluoridated bottled water should receive supplements.
Most children get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements. Too much fluoride before 8 years of age can cause enamel fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the permanent teeth. This condition is unsightly but harmless and often can be treated with cosmetic procedures.