Preventive Care

During your first visit with our office, a dental hygienist will assess the health of your gums and the amount of bacterial deposits to determine what type of cleaning will best suit your health needs. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is utilizing good toothbrush and flossing techniques. Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed.

What causes gingivitis?

Plaque: a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, which constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria produce harmful byproducts that irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

If plaque isnt removed daily, it will build up into a hard deposit called calculus. When plaque continues to form on top of the calculus, it can irritate the gums, and a pocket may develop between the teeth and gums. Plaque buildup can eventually destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth.

How do I get rid of bad breath?

That depends on what is causing it. Often, bad breath results from less-than-optimal oral health, and sometimes people are not aware that they are not performing oral hygiene as effectively as they could. Our dentist and hygienists will be able to evaluate your oral health procedures and make recommendations for improvement; also, these professionals will be able to recognize any associated problems that might be contributing to an unpleasant mouth odor. Periodontal disease can be an underlying factor as well as sinus problems, stomach problems, certain foods and medications.

Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?

Oral Hygiene

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good, daily tooth brushing and flossing techniques.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

How To Brush

While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.

When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.

To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.

Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office.

How To Floss

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.

Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 18″ long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.

To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.

To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

Caring For Sensitive Teeth


There are several things that can contribute to sensitive teeth. Cavities, cracked teeth, exposed root surfaces, or worn tooth enamel are common causes.

The dentin contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When the dentin loses its protective covering of enamel, the tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth. This causes hypersensitivity and occasional discomfort. Fortunately, the irritation does not cause permanent damage to the pulp. Dentin may be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity near the gum line.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing gums from receding and causing sensitive-tooth pain. If you brush your teeth incorrectly, are using the wrong toothbrush, or are too aggressive; gum problems can result. Ask your dentist or hygienist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine.

Treating Sensitive Teeth

There are several products we can dispense here at our office to help with your tooth sensitivity. If over the counter products such as Sensodyne have not resulted in relief, we can provide prescription strength topical aids. Please see our products page for more details. We recommend you make an appointment with our office to evaluate the conditions causing the sensitivity.

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products


Chlorhexidine gluconate: this is a prescription oral rinse prescribed by the doctor to help keep the bacterial count low in your mouth. It is usually given after starting periodontal treatment and after some oral surgeries. It is also prescribed to help control rampant decay.

  • Use twice a day after brushing and flossing for 1 week.
  • Measure out 15 ml into the cap of the Peridex bottle. There is a fill line indicator in the cap.
  • Swish thoroughly for one (1) minute.
  • Spit out Peridex.
  • Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes.
  • Possible side effects of Peridex include: altered taste, staining of the teeth, increased tartar production. These will go away upon completion of Peridex use.
  • Once you are done with the week of Peridex, keep the bottle for use next month.
  • Each month use the Peridex for one week until depleted.

Clinpro 5000: We prescribe and dispense this high-concentration fluoride toothpaste to help stop and prevent cavities in patients who are experiencing a high level of decay in their mouths. It is important to this product like a fluoride treatment by not eating, drinking or rinsing for 30 minutes after use.

  • Use at least once a day in place of regular toothpaste.
  • Apply a pea sized amount of Control Rx or ClinPro 5000 to your toothbrush.
  • Brush teeth thoroughly for 2 full minutes.
  • Spit out extra toothpaste. DO NOT rinse with water.
  • Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets.

MI Paste (w/ or w/o fluoride): MI Paste is a paste made with bio-available minerals, including calcium and phosphate. It is recommended in cases of sensitivity when using sensitivity toothpaste isnt working. You put some on your finger and rub it into the sensitive areas daily. We also recommend putting it into your bleaching trays before and/or after whitening.

  • Rub it on your teeth along the gumline.
  • Do this every night for 2 weeks, then one night a week thereafter.
  • Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes.
  • It is okay to swallow MI Paste. It is a similar composition to TUMS.

CG Dry Mouth Gel: This is a great product for people who suffer from dry mouth. This is applied as needed, especially at night. GC Dry Mouth Gel is designed to provide comfort from dry mouth. Do not use if you have a hydroxybenzoates allergy

  • Use GC Dry Mouth Gel as often as required when the mouth feels dry. This can be anytime during the day or at night time.
  • Extrude a sufficient amount of gel from the tube on the finger or use a cotton swab to take the gel from the tube. Apply the gel to tongue, oral mucosa and or teeth.

Ortho Wash: Daily fluoride rinse which helps prevent tooth decay and white spots and decay around braces.

  • Use once a day after brushing your teeth with a toothpaste
  • Vigorously swish 10 milliliters of rinse between your teeth for 1 minute and then spit out.
  • Do not swallow the rinse
  • Floss teeth to get remaining fluoride in between teeth
  • Do not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes after rinsing (best to use at night prior to sleep)
  • Instruct children under 12 years of age in good rinsing habits (to minimize swallowing) supervise children as necessary until capable of using without supervision

PerioMed: 0.63% Stannous Fluoride used for tooth decay, gingivitis, sensitivity Product may produce temporary surface staining of teeth. Xerostomia, mouth breathers, and other conditions where saliva flow is reduced are more susceptible. Adequate brushing may control these stains, which are not permanent and can be removed by your dental professional.

  • Use once daily
  • Make two complete pump depressions into cup provided (1/8 oz). Add water to top line on cup.
  • Mix using bristle end of toothbrush
  • Place of the solution in your mouth. Swish for 1 minute. Spit.
  • Repeat the 1 minute treatment with the remaining solution. Spit.

Xylitol Gum & Mints:

  • The key to getting the greatest benefit from xylitol is to use it consistently and often, so it stays in contact with your teeth.
  • Studies show that 4 to 5 daily applications of xylitol per day are very effective. It is important that it is the major or only sweetener in products because the addition of other sweeteners often reduces the effectiveness of xylitol.
  • Use immediately after eating or snacking. If xylitol is the only sugar remaining in the mouth, most bacteria cannot metabolize it and will not be able to make the acids or biofilm that can attack teeth. Between meals, replace ordinary chewing gum or breath mints with comparable Spry products, which are 100% xylitol sweetened.
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Arestin: We may place Arestin in periodontal pockets to help reduce pathogens in deeper pockets.

  • ARESTIN should not be used if there is known sensitivity to minocycline or tetracyclines.
  • After treatment patients should avoid chewing hard, crunchy, or sticky foods with the treated teeth for 1 week, as well as avoid touching treated areas.
  • Patients should also postpone the use of interproximal cleaning devices around the treated sites for 10 days after the administration of Arestin.


Xerostomia is the medical word for dry mouth due to decreased or absent saliva. This problem is quite common and is caused by a variety of medical conditions and medications. Helpful Hints:

  • Drink water throughout the day. Most people do not drink enough fluids and this will contribute to dry mouth.
  • Restrict Caffeine intakecaffeine is a major cause of dry mouth. Use caffeine-free tea & coffee. Eliminating caffeine from your diet will have a significant effect on the symptoms of dry mouth.
  • Avoid all foods with high sugar content (especially hard candy). Dry mouth increases the risk of tooth decay.
  • Do not use alcohol or tobacco
  • Use a cool air humidifier in the bedroom- clean and change water daily. Start the humidifier an hour or two before bedtime and let it run through the night. If possible, sleep on your side in order to reduce mouth breathing
  • Use sugar-free candy, gum and beverages; look for products that contain Xylitol (a sweetener that does not cause cavities).
  • Spry Xylitol Mints & Gum- keep these by your bed, in your purse, or in your car. Find them at your local supplement store or order online www.
  • See your dentist frequently. People with dry mouth are more prone to oral yeast infections and well as dental cavities. Excellent oral hygiene is necessary to prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • If your dry mouth is caused by medications, discuss alternatives with your Doctor. Only take medications that are necessary.
    • Ask us about Products available in our office
    • Clinpro 5000 1.1% Sodium Fluoride. This prescription strength Fluoride toothpaste may be recommended as you may be more susceptible to decay. Dont rinse for 30 minutes after use.
    • MI Paste- available in our office with or without Fluoride. This is a paste that can help to prevent decay and re-mineralize weakened areas.
    • GC Dry Mouth Gel use anytime your mouth feels dry.

Products available over the counter without a prescription:

  • ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Rinse
  • SalivaSure Tablets- dissolve one tablet under your tongue slowly- one per hour if needed.
  • Salese Soft Lozenge with Xylitol
  • Oral Balance (Laclede) – 1.5 oz tube- moisturizing water based gel, especially useful at nighttime. Spread on tissues as needed.
  • Biotene Products (mouth rinses, toothpaste & gels) – mild tasting, contains Fluoride.
  • Saliva Substitute Liquids: Oral Balance Dry Mouth Moisturizing Liquid- 1.5 oz, or Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray-1.0 oz (Oasis also makes a great mouth rinse)

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, provided your mouth is kept clean. If your mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.

Oral Hygien Prodcut

There are so many products on the market that it may become confusing, and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.

Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Sonicare and Oral B.

Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle; this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so be sure discuss proper use of these brushes with your doctor.

If used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.


Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. However, a balanced diet will help to boost your bodys immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.

How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies, and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth feed on it, they then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying tooth enamel.

Starchy foods:

  • Crackers
  • Breads
  • Cookies
  • Candy

Sticky/slow to dissolve foods:

  • Granola bars
  • Chewy fruit snacks
  • Dried fruit
  • Hard candy

Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles, and neutralizing harmful acids.

Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay causing bacteria in the mouth.