Dental Hygiene


Brushing combined with flossing is essential in fighting tooth decay. Plaque, the bacteria containing film on teeth, must be removed to avoid decay of teeth, fillings, crowns and bridges. Dr. Arive recommends brushing 3 times a day for 2-3 minutes each time. Toothpaste with fluoride works best to remineralize tooth surfaces which are weakened by acid containing foods and drinks including, but not limited to, soda, citrus, and vinegar.

The Modified BASS Technique:
  1. Brush 3 times per day
  2. Brush for 2-3 minutes each time
  3. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle upward when brushing your upper teeth. Conversely, a downward angle is used for the lower teeth.
  4. Use a small circular motion, not an up and down or front to back motion.
  5. "Park" : Brush no more than 2-3 teeth in an area.
  6. Then "Go" to the next 2-3 teeth and repeat until all teeth have been cleaned.
  7. Gentle pressure is adequate in removing plaque - too much pressure can irreversibly destroy enamel. If your brush has frayed appearance, too much pressure is being used.
  8. Brush all surfaces: cheek side, tongue side, and chewing surfaces.
  9. The tongue harbors bacteria. Brushing your tongue can fresh your breath.


Why floss?
  1. Removes disease causing bacteria from between the teeth
  2. Cleans surfaces which cannot be accessed with a toothbrush
  3. These surfaces include tooth structures and the gums
  4. Required to fight decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis

Dr. Arive says, "Forgetting to floss is like forgetting to wash the front and back of your car."

Flossing should be completed no less than once per day. Two times daily is optimal. The spaces between teeth that are not routinely flossed can be tight. Flossing daily will expand these spaces.

Bleeding Gums:

Gums may bleed if flossing is new to your routine. Bleeding is usually a sign of inflammation of the gums as part of an immune response to fight the bacteria trapped on tooth surfaces and in the gums. Bleeding should not linger more than a few minutes after flossing and should not occur at all after flossing daily for about a month. Gums that bleed even with regular flossing may indicate a medical issue.


Start at the back tooth of one side (left or right - your preference), work toward the front then to the back of the opposite side. Gently slip floss behind the tooth furthest to the back. Wrap the floss around the tooth in a 'C' shape. Maneuver the floss up and down the tooth and gently into the gum. Repeat at the front and back of each tooth.

Flossing Instruments:

Children and adults with dexterity issues may need a handled flossing instrument. Available at drug stores and your favorite retailer. Some are disposable while others can be reused (see manufacturer's directions for care).


Fluoride Defined: A natural mineral found in air, soil, and most waterways. Fluoride is taken up by teeth and creates a surface that is less penetrable by the bacteria that create decay.

Fluoride in Water

  • Added to community waterways to help fight decay
  • Community levels are regulated (unlike well water) at safe levels
  • Levels in well water fluctuates
  • Well water can contain too little or too much fluoride
Fluoride Sources
  • Toothpaste (check ingredients)
  • Fluoride rinses (check ingredients)
  • Water (bottled water may not contain fluoride)
Fluoride Function
  • Teeth lose minerals from their porous structure as we eat and drink
  • Teeth need minerals to refill the micro-pores
  • A tooth "remineralized" with fluoride is more resistant to decay than one without.
  • Prevents decay = No future dental fillings!
Fluoride Exposure & Retention
  • Safe Exposure
    • Occurs at time of using fluoride containing toothpaste or rinse
    • Duration: the time it takes to brush teeth (2-3 minutes) or use the rinse (1 minute)
    • Limitation: fluoride is not in the mouth long enough to remineralize the teeth
  • Fluoride Retention
    • Starts the moment after excess toothpaste is spit out
    • Steps to increase fluoride retention
~Spit toothpaste out after brushing
~DO NOT rinse mouth with water or mouth wash afterwards
~After brushing, rinse with water, then use a fluoride containing mouthwash for 1 minute.
~DO NOT rinse with water after using your fluoride product
~DO NOT eat or drink for 30 minutes

Patients with recent decay require supplemental fluoride such as:

  • In office fluoride varnish application
  • At home:
    • Prescription strength toothpaste
    • Over-the-counter rinse
Fluoride Safety
  1. Fluoride should not be swallowed.
  2. Fluorosis can result from an over exposure of fluoride.
  3. Always store fluoride containing products out of the reach of small children.
  4. Exposure to high levels is an emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
  5. Remember, fluoride is a mineral like calcium and potassium. Please use and store fluoride in a safe manner.



Arive Family Dental

4019 Columbus Ave.

Anderson, IN 46013


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