Patient Education

Keeping Your Teeth Healthy For LIFE

Did you know that there is a Right and Wrong way to brush and floss your teeth? 

At Healthy Dental Center in Des Plaines, IL it is our mission to help our patients raise their dental IQ so that their teeth outlive them

Below are some tips - but don't forget that you can always schedule a consultation with our general dentists Dr. James Cho, DDS and Dr. Erin Cho, DMD at Healthy Dental Center in Des Plaines, IL. From your first appointment you will get individualized recommendations to keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

How to Brush your Teeth

  1. It is recommended to get an electric toothbrush such as Philips or Oral-B

  2. Start in the same corner every time. If you are right handed, then start on the upper right side. If you are left handed then start on the upper left side (and go in opposite order)

  3. Brush in the following order:

    • Upper:

      1. Right to left on the outside 

      2. Left to right on the inside

    • Lower: ​

      1. Right to left on the outside ​

      2. Left to right on the inside

  4. Divide the mouth into 4 sections, brush each section for 30 sections. 

  5. Focus on a few teeth at a time, keep the toothbrush over those few teeth and allow the electric toothbrush to do all the work 

  6. Pro Tip: Don't forget to brush extra on the very last teeth because those are difficult areas to clean.  

  7. Pro Tip #2: Don't forget to brush your tongue! That is where bad breath comes from. 

  8. Pro Tip #3: Whether you are using an electric or manual toothbrush, do not brush hard! It is a myth that the harder you brush the better you brush. Brushing hard can actually damage and remove gum tissue called recession. Consequences of gum recession are sensitivity, more prone to root cavities, and earlier tooth loss. 

How to Floss, Correctly

  1. When choosing between different floss options, pick what works best in your hands

  2. Plaque is STICKY, you must scrape it away between the teeth (and No, you cannot just use mouthwash)

  3. Conventional string floss works best when you make a "C" shape against the side of the tooth, scrape up and down several times. 

  4. Scraping is key, so go ahead and scrape a few more times, it can't hurt. Then do the same thing to the next tooth using a new area of floss if possible.

  5. Go in the same order as you did brushing, and go in that order every time.

  6. For floss picks: Curve the floss against the side of the tooth to get optimal cleaning.

  7. Waterflossing vs flossing - studies show that waterflossing can be just as effective as flossing. However, waterflossing is preferred for individuals with braces, severe periodontal disease, and multiple implants.

  8. When you add Flossing to your daily dental routine you'll experience a cleaner and healthier smile. It cleans the gaps between your teeth where bacteria often reside. It prevents plaque build-up which leads to cavities and gum disease.

Toothpaste Recommendations

Which toothpaste should I buy? Is one of the most common questions. Different toothpastes are recommended based on the patient's individual needs: 

                                           For Sensitivity:                 Sensodyne or Carifree

            For Cavity Prevention (high risk):                CariFree 5000, Prevident 5000

                                                                                                                                       (Both available through prescription only)

             For Cavity Prevention (low risk):                 Colgate

                                            Gum Disease:                 Parodontax

                                                 Whitening:                 Crest 3D White 

                                                                                                                                                            (Whitening toothpastes are not recommended due to high abrasive nature. Can damage enamel)

                                       Doctor's Choice:                 CariFree

                                                                                                                                                 (nanohydroxyapetite is extremely effective against sensitivity)

Educational Dental Videos

Home care for braces
Braces have countless tiny spaces to trap food, and this trapped food causes plaque, which can lead to many other dental problems. Because of this, it's very important to brush your teeth after every meal (snacks count, too), rinse with mouthwash, and floss at least once a day.

Cleaning your Dentures
Removable Partial and Full dentures require the proper care to maintain them stain-free. Remove and rinse dentures after eating, run water over your dentures to remove food debris. Brush your dentures at least daily, remove and gently clean your dentures.

Manual vs electric toothbrush
In a study it was proven that electric toothbrushes decrease more plaque and are better at cleaning because of the vibration allows more micro-movements.

Electric toothbrushes are preferred over manual toothbrushes because it decreases the need for perfect technique.

How to Clean Night Guards
Oral appliances can collect germs, plaque, and tartar buildup just like your natural teeth. Since the mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, it's important to clean your appliance every time after using it.
Use a toothbrush and mild soap and scrub the plaque away. You can also use denture cleaner or peroxide and soak it for no longer than 10 minutes.