f. Horizontal Method. This method is seldom used. It consists of holding the
brush at a right angle to the teeth and scrubbing back and forth on the facial, lingual,
and occlusal surfaces.
USE OF DENTIFRICES
Dentifrices clean and polish the teeth by the use of an abrasive. Dentifrices also
help protect the teeth against dental caries by the addition of a fluoride compound.
Dentifrices come as a liquid, a powder, and a paste. The liquid-type dentifrices do not
provide the desired polishing effect. The powder-type dentifrices often are too abrasive
or too difficult to control. The paste-type dentifrices containing a mild abrasive are
effective in cleaning the teeth by removing the bacterial mucin plaque and in polishing
the teeth. Fluoride compounds are added to toothpastes to help protect the teeth
against dental caries. Acceptable fluoride toothpastes are recognized and classified by
the Council on Dental Therapeutics. As a field expedient method, either table salt or
sodium bicarbonate is used as a dentifrice. The toothbrush alone is also effective in
removing some plaque.
4-10. USE OF DISCLOSING MATERIALS
Disclosing materials consist of dye substances. Disclosing materials are
invaluable in showing the patient improperly cleaned areas of his teeth. In the natural
state, bacterial mucin plaque is invisible. When the disclosing materials are put into the
mouth, plaque is stained a very definite color. With periodic use of disclosing materials,
the patient checks his toothbrushing technique and the PDS evaluates the
thoroughness of his oral prophylactic treatment. The disclosing material used most is
erythrosin, a water-soluble vegetable dye that stains plaque a brilliant red. This material
is available in tablet form through the Federal supply catalog.
Section III. FLOSSING
4-11. USE OF DENTAL FLOSS
a. General. The toothbrush cannot reach every surface of the tooth where
bacterial mucin plaques are apt to be attached. The toothbrush cleanses the majority of
the surfaces of each individual tooth, but it cannot completely clean the proximal
surfaces. The proximal surfaces represent about one-half of the areas affected by
dental caries and nearly all early periodontal disease. The best method for cleaning
proximal surfaces is the use of dental floss. The patient must be adequately trained in
the use of dental floss for it to be an effective, non-traumatic procedure.
b. Wrapping the Floss. To use dental floss properly, a piece of floss about 18
to 24 inches long is cut and the ends are wrapped lightly around the middle fingers.
Most of the floss is wrapped on one finger, but just enough is wrapped on the other
finger to anchor the floss. Then, the floss can be used like a scroll, wrapping onto one
finger and off the other as the floss is frayed or soiled.