Dental Home Care Instructions
Twice a day:
- Floss teeth: up and down motion only
- Waterpik: very important; it flushes away the waste products of the bacteria
- Sonicare toothbrush: two minutes
- Crest or Colgate cavity-protection toothpaste
Brushing and Flossing
- Brushing instructions
Brushing: Step 1
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.
Brushing: Step 2
Brush gently in a circular motion.
Brushing: Step 3
Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.
Brushing: Step 4
Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.
- Flossing instructions
Flossing: Step 1
Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and the other finger takes it up as the floss is used.
Flossing: Step 2
Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.
Flossing: Step 3
Holding the floss tightly, gently saw it between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.
Flossing: Step 4
Slide the floss up and down, and repeat for each tooth.
Home Care Instructions for Fluoride Trays
We recommend the use of fluoride trays to reduce the rate of root decay in adult patients.
- You will wear your fluoride trays for ten minutes daily.
- Brush and floss teeth prior to using your fluoride trays.
- Apply a thin ribbon of fluoride gel/paste around the inside edge of the trays.
- Insert trays and bite together to seat them.
- If excess fluoride extrudes over the edges of the trays, you have used too much, so spit the excess out.
- After ten minutes, remove the trays and spit excess fluoride into the sink.
- After your fluoride treatment, do not rinse your mouth, eat, or drink anything for 30 minutes.
- Rinse excess fluoride out of trays, dry, and store the clean trays in the case we give you.
Our goal is to help you reduce the incidence of decay. In order to avoid decay, we recommend a complete dental program including:
- Proper dietary control (low sugars and carbohydrates)
- Proper Hygiene Devices (use recommended toothbrush, floss, Waterpik, etc.)
- Rigorous Home Care Practices (follow recommended hygiene protocols twice daily)
- Regular Professional Dental Checkups and Cleanings (Intervals range between three and six months; follow your hygienist and Dr. Jude’s recommendations)
The best way to prevent root decay is to prevent gum recession caused by periodontal disease.
The best way to avoid periodontal disease (caused by bacteria laden plaque) is to maintain good oral hygiene.
How to Use Custom Fluoride Carriers (Trays)
- At bedtime, remove partial or full dentures from the mouth. Brush teeth thoroughly with soft toothbrush and regular toothpaste. Floss teeth by sliding the floss up and down each side of each tooth. Note: It is very important to remove all food and plaque from between teeth before using fluoride. Food and plaque can prevent the fluoride from reaching the surface of the tooth.
- Place a thin ribbon of the fluoride gel into each upper and lower fluoride tray so each tooth space has some fluoride. Either 0.4% stannous fluoride (Gel Kam) or 1.1% sodium fluoride (Prevident) may be used. The fluoride can be spread into a thin film that coats the inside of the trays by using a cotton-tipped applicator, finger, or toothbrush.
- Seat the trays on the upper and lower teeth and let them remain in place for five minutes. Only a small amount of fluoride should come out of the base of the trays when they are placed; otherwise, there may be too much fluoride in the trays.
- After five minutes, remove the trays and thoroughly expectorate (spit out) the residual fluoride. Very Important: Do not rinse mouth, drink, or eat for at least 30 minutes after fluoride use.
- For head and neck radiation patients, begin using fluoride in the custom trays no longer than one week after radiotherapy is completed. Repeat daily for the rest of your life!! Remember that tooth decay can occur in a matter of weeks if the fluoride is not used properly.
Care for Fluoride Carriers (Trays)
- Rinse and dry the trays thoroughly after each use. Clean them by brushing them with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Occasionally, the trays can be disinfected in a solution of sodium hypochlorite (Clorox) and water. Use one tablespoon of Clorox in about one-half cup of water. Soak them for about 15 minutes.
- If the trays become covered with hard-water deposits, soak them in white vinegar overnight and brush them the next morning.
- Do not boil the trays or leave them in a hot car because they may warp or melt.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 360.438.0711.
Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)
The best way to treat dry mouth — known medically as xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh) — depends on what’s causing it. You can do some things to relieve dry mouth temporarily. But for the best long-term dry mouth remedy, you need to address its cause.
To relieve your dry mouth:
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. For some people, xylitol, which is often found in sugar-free gum or sugar-free candies, may cause diarrhea or cramps if consumed in large amounts.
- Limit your caffeine intake, because caffeine can make your mouth drier.
- Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
- Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
- Sip water regularly.
- Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes — look for products containing xylitol, such as Mouth Kote or Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray, or ones that contain carboxymethylcellulose (kahr-bok-see-meth-ul-SEL-u-lohs) or hydroxyethyl cellulose (hi-drok-see-ETH-ul SEL-u-lohs), such as Biotene Oral Balance.
- Try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — especially one that contains xylitol, such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Rinse, which also offer protection against tooth decay.
- Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants because they can make your symptoms worse.
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
- Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.
Saliva is important to maintain the health of your teeth and mouth. If you frequently have a dry mouth, taking these steps to protect your oral health may also help your condition:
- Avoid sugary or acidic foods and candies because they increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste. Ask Dr. Jude if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.
- Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime.
- Visit our office at least twice yearly to detect and treat tooth decay or other dental problems.
If these steps don’t improve your dry mouth, talk to your doctor or Dr. Jude. The cause could be a medication or another condition. Medications are one of the most common causes of dry mouth. Long-term relief from your dry mouth may mean stopping or changing your medication or its dosage, or addressing underlying health issues.