Oral Hygiene Flagstaff

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. There exists a correlation between periodontal health and resistance to heart disease. Click here

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which 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

If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call our Flagstaff office at Flagstaff Office Phone Number 928-774-1168.

Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud recommend using a soft tooth brush. 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 brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. 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.

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 inches 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 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.

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the 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 (such as Sensodyne) or mouth rinse (ACT for sensitive teeth) made especially for sensitive teeth. Sometimes tartar control toothpastes lead to sensitive teeth!

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.

Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the 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. BE CAREFUL using electric tooth brushes such as the Sonicare. Although it is sometimes beneficial, it can lead to mild to severe gum recession. Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud encourage you to only use after discussion with a dental professional.

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 discuss proper use with your doctor.

Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud recommend ACT and it can be found in multiple flavors in Flagstaff‘s Target or either Flagstaff Walgreens. 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. (Also note that tartar control toothpastes can sometimes lead to sensitive teeth)

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.

Fluoride Treatments in Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud‘s office

In office fluoride treatments are an effective means to preventing cavities.  Although beneficial to all patients, to those that have experienced some gum recession it is of the utmost importance. There is no hard enamel covering ones roots and therefore it is an area that can erode rapidly if left alone.Our hygienists will offer this 1 minute treatment at the end of your dental appointment if she feels you would benefit.  In dentistry, prevention is the cheapest, easiest and most effective way to maintain oral health.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning at Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud Flagstaff office 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.

Dental Hygienists in Dr. Bacon’s Office

Flagstaff Dentists Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud and their staff are experienced, friendly and dedicated to caring for your individual needs. All of our hygienists are Northern Arizona University graduates! This is important as Flagstaff‘s local hygiene school requires a Bachelors degree whereas many others do not!
We always have three hygienists working at the same time. This means your family don’t have to lose a whole day of life every 6 months just getting your family’s teeth cleaned!
Free Hygiene “Goody Bag”
After every cleaning you will receive a new tooth brush (custom for your
specific needs), floss, SPF 15 chapstick, a tube of your choice of toothpaste, a Flouride  rinse sample and more!
If you would like to have your teeth cleaned and checked, please call our office in Flagstaff, AZ at Flagstaff Office Phone Number 928-774-1168.