Interproximal (between the teeth) cleaning can be a most difficult enterprise. This is especially so below the gumline. Some patients find this more problematic than others even though this may be more necessary for them than other patients. Below you will find information on an additional method beyond flossing for the cleansing of gum tissue between your teeth. THIS METHOD IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO OR A REPLACEMENT FOR FLOSSING! This is because the technique does not clean through the area where adjacent teeth touch each other. This area is called the contact point and it is where the majority of tooth decay that occurs between your teeth starts. Only flossing cleans out the contact point. The procedure described below only removes debris from your gums below the contact point.
Oral irrigators, like the Water Pik, enhance interproximal oral hygiene.
THE WATER PICK: The water pick removes food particle and plaque debris by propelling a stream of water under your interproximal gum tissue that removes these accumulations. It is especially useful for deeper pockets. Fill the water pick's tank with two rounded tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in three cups (24 ounces) of warm water. Baking soda leeches water from the insides of bacterial cells found in plaque, destroying them. Use the supplied tip and set it to between medium/high and high. Access the interproximal gum from the cheek or lip sides (outsides) of your teeth only so you can see where the stream is going. The stream will cleanse the area out all the way through to the tongue side (inside) of your teeth. The stream should be oriented at a 45 degree angle to the teeth, not straight down into the gum tissue. This way collected deposits underneath your gums are flushed out and not packed in further. Do this for 3-5 seconds at each interproximal area until all these areas have been cleaned. Individuals who have been advised to use this extra procedure should do so nightly after regular brushing and flossing just before retiring. You may need to refill the machine's water supply to complete your entire mouth.
Failure to maintain good interproximal oral
hygiene can result in periodontal disease like this.