Are brushing and flossing enough?

I brush and floss! That is good enough, right?

Did you know that brushing and flossing alone are not able to prevent both dental caries (cavities) and periodontal disease?  The only way to give your mouth the best chances of minimizing or preventing these diseases over your lifetime is by brushing, flossing, and having regular dental exams and cleanings by dental professionals.  Even the most dedicated that meticulously follow their dental professionals advice of brushing at least two times a day for two minutes and flossing at least once a day need regular dental cleanings at least twice a year and yearly dental exams.

Plaque, the cause of both periodontal disease and dental cavities accumulates most where the gums meet the teeth (also known as the Gum line) and this area can be very difficult to keep clean.  For years the most prevalent tooth brushing method taught was the circles technique which can be effective but for most people is ineffective at cleaning the gum line. For this reason I recommend the Bass technique that targets the gum line to reduce the plaque accumulation in this area. The bass technique involves a gentle jiggle or vibration of the toothbrush while angling the tooth brush at the gum line at an approximate 45 degree angle. It is critical that you only use gentle pressure and do not scrub the gums in a back and forth motion as this may traumatize the gums and cause gum recession.

Moreover, brushing and flossing do not remove all the plaque in your mouth and this longstanding plaque eventually calcifies and becomes calculus (also known as tartar).  Our saliva is saturated with both calcium and phosphate which help remineralize our teeth from the acidic foods that we eat, but also causes any longstanding plaque to calcify into tartar.  Tatar is very hard and sticks to the teeth very well and can only be removed by dental instruments.  If the tartar and plaque build up too much it can lead to periodontal disease and/or cavities.