October 2, 2013 - Roland Chong

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Tooth brushing and Flossing. What are you missing?

Tooth brushing and flossing are essential for good dental health. The humble toothbrush and simple floss have been guardians of our teeth for a long time. Without these simple tools our mouths would be filled with disease causing bacteria. Tooth decay and gum disease would become a common sight in the mouth.

As was discussed in our previous editions plaque on our teeth are made up of millions of bacteria. High plaque levels together with a high sugar diet, are the main causes of dental decay.

What does bacteria in our mouths do to teeth?

Our mouths are filled with good and bad bacteria. When bacteria is left to accumulate on the tooth surface and build up into thick layers, the bad bacteria which cause disease in our mouths increase in numbers, eventually outnumbering the good bacteria.

When the nasty bacteria are exposed to sugar they produce of acid. Prolonged exposure of acid to teeth cause cavities. Some bacteria produce toxins which lead to swollen and bleeding gums. In some people the bone supporting the teeth can also breakdown.

Brushing your teeth and flossing will help keep the plaque layers on the teeth surfaces thin. This helps keep the good bacteria in higher numbers and the bad bacteria in very low numbers. Cleaning the teeth will also keep the volume of bacteria low. This will help reduce the amount of acid produced and also maintain healthy pink gums that don’t bleed.

Tips for cleaning your teeth:

  • Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day, morning and night.
  • Floss your teeth once a day, preferably at night before bedtime.
  • Use a soft bristle brush and replace the toothbrush when the bristles start to bend.
  • Brush more at the gumline and don’t rush.

Toothbrushing diagram courtesy of DHSV.

Flossing diagram courtesy of Smile Orange County.

Roland Chong

Roland has over 18 years experience as a general dentist. Roland does all aspects of general dentistry with a special interest in prosthodontics (crown and bridge work) and cosmetic dentistry. A member of the International Team of Implantology, Roland is constantly developing his skills by collaborating with international experts.

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