Oral Hygiene


1) What is Plaque?
What is the correct method of brushing?
Effective Brushing
What is dental floss and what is the correct way of flossing?
Techniques of flossing
Why should we clean the back of the tongue?
7) How often should we visit the dental surgeon?
8) What can I do to reduce bad breath?

What is Plaque? (Bridge)

Plaque is a sticky film that constantly forms on all areas of your teeth; it is composed of bacteria, by-products of bacteria and saliva. However, plaque that builds up along the gumline and between the teeth in hard to reach places can be harmful as it can cause decay of teeth and gum disease.

What is the correct method of brushing?

The best way to remove decay causing plaque is by brushing. Most people feel that effective brushing involves scrubbing teeth hard with the brush. However, this will only lead to wearing away of the enamel, causing gums to recede and expose the root surface of teeth. There are a number of effective brushing techniques. One effective method is to use a circular or elliptical motion to brush a couple of teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth.

Effective Brushing

  • Place a soft nylon bristled toothbrush on the outer surface of the teeth at a 45 degree angle and gently brush in an elliptical fashion.
  • Then, brush the inner tooth surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • Use the “toe” of the brush to clean the inner surfaces of the upper and lower teeth, using a gentle up and down stroke.
  • Teeth should be brushed for 3 to 4minutes twice a day.

What is dental floss and what is the correct way of flossing?

Flossing is a very important part of daily oral hygiene. Floss is a special type of thread used to remove plaque from between the teeth and areas where the brush cannot reach. It is essential in preventing gum disease.

Techniques of flossing

  • Break of about 12 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of the middle fingers. Wind the rest around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take the floss after it has been used. Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers.
  • Guide the floss between the teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never push the floss into the gums.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  • Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, move the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
  • Repeat this on all the teeth.

Why should we clean the back of the tongue?

The most common cause for bad breath is due to food coating the back of the tongue. These are attacked my microorganisms and they release volatile sulfur gases which leads to bad breath. Therefore, cleaning the tongue especially the back of the tongue with the toothbrush or a tongue cleaner is very important.

How often should we visit the dental surgeon?

Regular visits to the dental surgeon every six months or at least once a year is very essential. During these visits teeth are cleaned by the dental surgeon or a dental hygienist to remove tartar (calculus). The teeth are examined for signs of decay and the gums are examined for any infection. X-rays may be taken to help in diagnosing dental problems. These examinations help to detect problems at an early stage and treat them.

What can I do to reduce bad breath?

  • Have your teeth cleaned at least once a year by a dental professional
  • Brush your teeth and gums properly using a soft or medium tooth brush use the correct brushing technique.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day, flossing is important to remove food particles that form between teeth, which is a major cause for tooth decay and bad breath.
  • Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to clean the tongue. Clean the tongue all the way back thoroughly but gently.
  • Clean your mouth after eating or drinking milk products, fish or meat.
  • If your mouth feels dry, chew sugarfree gum, mint, or cloves.
  • Eat fresh, fibrous vegetables like carrots
  • Ask your dentist to a recommend mouthwash which helps fight bad breath
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • If you feel you have bad breath visit your dentist.