Oral Health for Overall Health

Patient in Chair | West Calgary Periodontics

We Care About Our Patient's Oral Health!

General Oral Care Tips

We all have busy lives, and places to be, but these oral care tips will help you keep a healthy smile, wherever you go!

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day: in the morning, and before going to bed. Brushing your teeth is like washing your hands, the more you do it, the healthier you will be.
  2. If you are going about your day and can’t get to a toothbrush, chew sugar-free gum for 5 minutes after meals. We recommend the brands Spry® or Pur®, as they contain xylitol, a naturally occurring anti-cavity sugar from birch bark.  Note: chewing gum does not replace brushing twice a day!
  3. If you do brush your teeth after meals, wait for at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush. The 30 minutes gives your teeth time to remineralize.  Otherwise, the not-yet-neutralized acid on your teeth makes your tooth enamel soft and at risk of being brushed away over time.

Brushing Tips

  1. Use a soft bristle toothbrush.
  2. Use gentle pressure. – the pressure of your cheek pushing on your toothbrush against your teeth is enough pressure – don’t brush any harder.
  3. Angle the bristles of the toothbrush at a 450 angle to the gum tissue, so that 1/2 of the bristles are on the teeth and the other 1/2 are on the gums.
  4. Sweep the head of the toothbrush in small but rapid circles as you brush along the gumline proceeding from tooth to tooth. Spend at least 2 seconds brushing each surface of tooth.  It should take you at least 2 minutes to brush all your teeth.
  5. Always brush the top and side surfaces of your tongue. You can use your regular toothbrush to do this.
  6. After using your toothbrush, use a sulcus brush. Use the sulcus brush in a gentle back & forth sweeping motion at the level where your tooth and gum meet.  Where neighbouring teeth meet, rotate the sulcus brush in small circles to work the brush between the teeth.  It should take about 1-2 minutes to brush all your teeth with the sulcus brush.
  7. If you have deep grooves on the biting surfaces of your teeth, you can use the sulcus brush to clean them out too.

Tips for cleaning between teeth (flossing and interproximal brushes

  1. Our office recommends Glide® This thin but strong teflon tape floss easily slides between tight teeth, and is not wax coated.
  2. If you have large spaces between your teeth, open spaces between your teeth and gums, have dental bridges where it is difficult to floss, have difficulty flossing, or vow to never floss, then you can use an interproximal brush instead of floss, to clean between your teeth. See below for details.
  3. Flossing technique:
    1. Use a piece of floss approximately 30 cm (12 inches) in length. This gives you enough floss to wind around your fingers and 10cm (4inches) of floss to clean between your teeth.
    2. Wind the floss round your index fingers till only 10cm of floss remains between your fingers.
    3. Push your thumbs into the floss, while pulling back on your index fingers to make the floss taut. The floss between your thumbs is the floss you will use to clean in-between your teeth.
    4. Gently work the floss in a back and forth motion to slide it between your teeth. Don’t push hard otherwise you can accidentally force the floss into your gums (ouch!) – using a smooth floss like Glide helps with this step.
    5. Wrap the floss so that it “hugs’ the side of the tooth. Gently slide the floss below the gum till you feel light resistance, then slide the floss back to the point of contact between your teeth – repeat this motion a few times, till you feel a smooth tooth surface.
    6. Move to the next tooth, wrapping against the tooth, and repeat the up/down sliding motion, again till you feel a smooth surface.
    7. Pull the floss out from between your teeth, and move to the next set of teeth. Repeat steps a-g until you have flossed between all your teeth.
    8. Don’t forget to floss the back sides of your very last top and bottom teeth.
    9. Yes, we know it is a lot of work … but we give you permission to make funny faces while you floss 🙂
  4. Interproximal brush technique:
    1. Our office recommends the TePe® interproximal brushes. You can order them at: tepecanada.com.
    2. Use an interproximal brush with a brush size that just fits in-between the teeth. Too small of a brush size will not be effective.
    3. Use the interproximal brush like a pipe cleaner, brushing with an in-out fashion a few times, between your teeth.
    4. Besides getting in-between your teeth from the cheek side, try to ensure you clean from the tongue side as well.

Manual vs Electric Toothbrush

Both are just as good, as long as the bristles are in good shape (see below).  An electric toothbrush is better for people who have difficulty brushing their teeth or for those with dexterity problems.

WaterPik® Water Flosser

A WaterPik® water flosser can be helpful, as an addition, to cleaning your teeth by brushing, flossing and/or using inter-proximal brushes.  The following will help you get the best results from your WaterPik® water flosser:

  1. Use the water flosser in a sweeping motion, aiming the stream of water at right angles to the side of the tooth, where the tooth and gum meet.
  2. Never aim the water stream into your gums, this could damage them.
  3. Use a PlaqueSeeker tip – it gives you the added benefit of brushing while using your water flosser.
  4. If you have dental implants, use a setting no higher than medium, around your dental implants.


Mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing and flossing.  However, after you have brushed and flossed (or used interproximal brushes), you can rinse your mouth with a mouthwash of your choice, to give you a fresh mint taste.   If you do use mouthwash, pick one with fluoride for an added benefit.

When to change your toothbrush

The look of your toothbrush, rather than how long you have had it is the real measure of when to replace your toothbrush.  When the bristles of your toothbrush become spread out and/or are breaking off, it is time to replace your toothbrush.  If you find you are replacing your toothbrush frequently, then you are brushing too hard (see Brushing tips for the amount of pressure to use).

From All of Us At West Calgary Periodontics – Keep Calm and Brush On!

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