Oral Hygiene

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (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 tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

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

Dr. Torrey and his Team recommend brushing and flossing the ones you want to keep. Also by using a soft to extra soft tooth brush it helps reduce tooth erosion and gum recession. It will be a challenge for those people who grew up on hard or medium brushes but hang in there, they are equally as effective.The choice of toothbrushes is a personal one. Half of The Team in our office use electrics and half ‘old school’ toothbrushes. The research shows that it is irrelevant which style you chose so long as it is used properly. That means fuzzy side in the mouth!


These are two of our current favorites

Gum Brand 503 (left) 509 (right)

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.

proper flossing technique

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 gumline 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 forefingers of both hands. Do not forget the back side 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.

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products

There are so many products on the market it can 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.


We love Waterpiks! Lets face it, we are all a bit lazy with homecare. The Waterpik is great because it is a defined amount of water and there is no good way to pull it out of your mouth and not create a huge water mess! Additionally it removes plaque and cleans those hard to reach areas. If you have braces or periodontal disease they are a MUST HAVE!


Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing, flossing and/or Waterpiking can significantly reduce cavities and periodontal disease. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gumline so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.

We recommend Sensodyne brand for generalized sensitivity issues. Make sure to check with the hygienists or Dr. Torrey to rule out the sensitivity from a more serious problem. Sensodyne usually takes at least three weeks to make a difference.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental plaque 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.