7333 E Livingston Ave
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

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  • PREVENTATIVE DENTAL CARE, " A MUST to KEEP YOUR TEETH!" - tips from Berger Dental Bites

The other day I read an article titled, “Health-care basics: Spend or save?”  Two of the eight items they mentioned were: dental floss and toothbrushes.  Therefore, it must be time to talk a little about the tools we use for preventative dentistry.  Ever since the mid 1960’s my father (at first) and I have been teaching our patients the proper means to keep their mouths healthy.  If you would like to maintain a healthy mouth please continue reading.

Once your mouth is healthy, all that is necessary to maintain it is the proper brush, floss, and technique.  There are many different toothpastes, mouthwashes, and dental aids available, but if the proper technique is used most of them are not necessary. 

I usually recommend flossing 1st with an unwaxed floss.  This disrupts the plaque, which will be removed later during brushing.  Unwaxed floss is thinner than waxed floss, which allows it go farther up the root surface of the tooth.  It also will unravel, allowing the fibers to pick up the plaque better than waxed floss.  I also inform my patients that if you are wrapping the floss properly you will hear it squeak when the teeth are clean.  This won’t occur if using waxed floss.   

Depending on the health of your gums a soft or extra soft toothbrush should be used.  A medium or hard brush can actually do damage to the tooth surface and gums. 

We have taught our patients for years that dry-brushing will allow you to brush longer and you can remove the plaque better.   Plaque is what causes decay and gum disease.  Removing plaque is the most important reason for brushing. 

Dry-brushing doesn’t mean using a dry toothbrush, but rather it is a method of brushing without toothpaste, not in the bathroom, by feel and not by time.  Next time you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist run your tongue over them and notice how smooth and clean they feel.  This same feeling can be repeated with each brushing.  You really can’t notice this by feel if you have brushed with toothpaste.  You will notice the mint flavor more than the feel! 

If you desire that fresh taste, you can rinse with mouthwash afterwards or place a little toothpaste on a different brush and use it for about 30 seconds. (Use a different brush so the flavor doesn’t stay with the brush that you use for actual cleaning.)

Lastly, if you have difficulty using a manual brush, an electric brush can be used.  We recommend the Rota-dent.  Feel free to call our office to find out why we feel it is best choice.

The method of brushing and flossing that we recommend was developed by a Dr. Charles Bass.  If  you desire more information about the proper way to clean your mouth continue reading to find out about the Bass Technique!”


During the Second World War, Dr. Charles C Bass (1875-1975), a medical doctor, developed nylon dental floss as a replacement for silk floss.

Dr. Bass also designed the "Right Kind" multi-tufted toothbrush with tufts that are spaced closely to provide a smooth, narrow, compact and flat brushing plane. Similar toothbrushis still offered today.

Around this time, a Mississippi physician named Charles Cassidy Bass began to suggest that people did not just lose their teeth because they were getting old. He pointed up that if one worked hard to keep the area of the tooth at and below the gum clean and free of germs or bacteria, even the elderly could keep their teeth.

Dr. Bass proposed placing your toothbrush partly on the tooth and partly on the gum with the toothbrush bristles angled toward the gums.  As you vibrated the toothbrush back and forth, the tips of the bristles slid below the gums to clean off plaque bacteria or germs below the gum or gingival margin.

Dr. Charles Bass is known as the "Father of Preventive Dentistry" because he made the first move in theory and practice of daily removal of the oral germs or bacteria through correct use of a toothbrush and dental floss.   The “Father of Dental Hygiene,” Dr. Charles C. Bass who said:

  • “You must clean your teeth right with the right kind of tooth brushand dental flossevery night before retiring.”
  • "A clean tooth does not decay. Periodontoclasia does not occur about a clean tooth."


The Bass Method: Purposes and Indications

·         For all patients for germs or bacterial plaque removal next to and directly below the gum or gingival margin.


The Bass Method: Technique

The Bass Method: Angle the Filaments at Gum-Tooth Margin

  • Place thesoft toothbrushor ultra-soft toothbrushwith flat brushing plane and rounded nylon filament tips directed straight into the gingival sulcus or gingival margin.
  • The filaments will be directed at approximately 45 degrees to the long axis of the tooth.

The Bass Method: Strokes

  • Press lightly without flexing and bending the filaments.
  • Nylon filament tips will enter the gingival sulci at gum-tooth border and cover the gum margin.
  • Vibrate the toothbrush back and forth with very short strokes without disengaging the nylon tips of the filaments from the gum margin. Count at least 10 vibrations.
  • Reposition the toothbrush and apply the brush to the next group of two or three teeth. Take care to overlap placement.
  • Repeat the entire stroke at each position around the maxillary (upper jaw) and mandibular (lower jaw) arches, both for facial and lingual surfaces.


Tips and Advice on your Toothbrush

Toothbrush should have as a part of Bass Method:

  • Long, wide handle  for a firm grasp

Toothbrushes should be changed:

  • every three to four months before the bristles become splayed and frayed
  • sick people - at the beginning of an illness and after they feel better

You should brush your teeth at least 2-3 minutes twice a day - the length of a song on the radio.  Brush outside and inside the teeth, and especially on chewing surfaces and between teeth. 

Tips and Advice on your Dental Floss

  Flossing is easy with the proper technique:

  • Wind an 18-inch piece of floss around your middle finger, leaving about 4-inches of floss between them
  • Grasp floss firmly between thumb and index finder of each hand. Gently slide floss between teeth, using a slow sawing motion to slip between tight teeth
  • Move floss up and down against tooth to clean both above and below the gum-line, curving around the tooth for best results
  • Repeat cleaning procedure for each tooth. Every few teeth, move to a clean piece of floss by unwinding floss from one finger and rewinding it onto the other finger

For most patients, flossingshould be used before toothbrushing.  Slide the floss to a new, unused portion for the next tooth surfaces.  Floss may be doubled to provide a wider rubbing surface.  Floss holdercan be helpful for a person with a disability or for a parent or caregiver.

surface.   Floss holdercan be helpful for a person with a disability or for a parent or caregiver.


Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Robert G. Berger D.D.S.

[email protected]