Patient Education Blog

Posts for tag: cleaning

By Dr. Randal Carlton, DDS
July 28, 2014
Category: Dental
Tags: flossing   tooth   cleaning  

Great oral hygiene is paramount to the long term success of healthy teeth. Effective brushing and flossing is defined as having removed all foreign material from each side of each tooth. Please remember that sometimes foreign material on teeth can hardened to a point that a dental professional must remove it. But the more loose material that can cause cavities is easily removed with a good toothbrush, floss, and effective technique.

   We need to think of teeth as having 5 sides:  

   1) Occlusal (Biting/Chewing surface)

   2) Facial (Outside next to your cheeks)

   3) Lingual (Inside next to your tongue)

   4) Mesial (Front in between your teeth)

   5) Distal (Back in between your teeth)

A toothbrush is effective at cleaning 3 of those: inside, outside, and the biting surfaces. The other 2 sides, in between the teeth, often get neglected when flossing isn't part of our daily oral hygiene routine.

Brushing only three surfaces is cleaning a mere 60% of our total number of tooth surfaces. What about the areas between our teeth? Those two surfaces touch their neighboring teeth and harbor the majority of cavity causing plaque. And, they are the 2 most neglected surfaces when we skip flossing.

A Tool For Better Dental Health

Concentrate on scrubbing those two surfaces with the floss and not just popping in and out through the contact points. On your next visit, ask one of our dentists or dental hygienist for a demonstration on the proper technique when using floss. You should always check with your health care provider before making any changes to your health care routine.

By using floss as your tool you can avoid having "half clean" teeth. Using it will help you develop and keep healthy teeth for a lifetime.