Gum disease and tooth decay can cause tooth loss. The best way to fight the progression of gum disease and tooth decay is proper oral care, which includes but isn’t limited to brushing and flossing. Plaque or biofilm removal daily is essential to oral health.


Dr. Wright recommends using a soft-bristle toothbrush twice daily for effective cleaning. Tilt the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline, and move the brush in small circular motions. This motion cleanses the tooth surface while gently massaging the gums. Do not apply too much pressure; more pressure doesn’t improve cleansing and brushing shouldn’t cause discomfort. Brush the outside (cheek side), inside (tongue side) and biting surface of the teeth. Brushing the tongue is essential because its crevices can breed bacteria.


Dental floss can easily reach areas that brushing can’t, such as between the teeth and slightly below the gumline. To floss, you’ll need a piece of floss at least 18 inches long. Wrap it around your middle fingers, and use your thumb and pointer finger while pulling it tight to direct it between each tooth contact. With the floss between the teeth, gently move the floss up and down while being careful to avoid injuring the gum tissues. Flossing shouldn’t cause excess pain or bleeding when done correctly and regularly. Dr. Wright recommends flossing once daily to keep bacteria under control in between the teeth.

Other Aids

Electric toothbrushes help some people, especially those with limited dexterity. Dr. Wright’s hygienist will recommend one if appropriate for your situation. We typically recommend Sonicare and Oral-B® devices.

Other tools that can help with daily oral hygiene include but are not limited to rubber-tip gum stimulators, brushes that clean in between teeth or at the gumline, water picks/oral irrigators, and prescription or over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste and mouthwashes.

Dr. Kimberly Wright

Dr. Kimberly Wright

Dr. Kimberly Wright graduated from the University of Oregon and Oregon Health and Science University. She is a lifelong learner, taking over 100 hours of continuing education annually. Dr. Wright earned the prestigious Mastership Award from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and is a past MasterTrack Director for Oregon’s AGD, for which she had also served as past president. She was the past trustee for the Oregon Dental Association too. She is a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Orofacial Pain, Pierre Fauchard Academy, and the American College of Dentists.