Patients always ask what is the right type of toothbrush for me? In most cases the answer is, whatever one you will use regularly to maintain your oral health. There are a few factors to take into consideration when making the decision on the type of tooth brush that suits you:
Although there are some inexpensive electric toothbrushes available, in most cases they cost much more than a regular manual disposable toothbrush. In addition to the initial outlay there is the additional expense of replacing the removable heads when they wear out. Saying that, if an electric toothbrush keeps your teeth clean and encourages you to brush, then perhaps the bigger initial expense will be offset by the reduction in visits to you local dentist.
There is a quite a wide variety of toothbrush sizes in supermarkets and local shops, so which one do you choose.. as brushing your teeth is an individual and personal thing it goes back to whatever you are comfortable with and is the most effective. First of all the toothbrush should sit comfortably in your hand, if you brush twice a day the last thing you want is for that to be an uncomfortable experience. Secondly, the head of the toothbrush should fit easily in your mouth and allow you to reach all of the main surfaces of your teeth, including your molars.
In most shops you are usually given the option to select soft, medium or hard bristles for either a manual or electric toothbrush. Soft bristles are the best option for most people, but it very much depends on the strength of your teeth and gums, and how firmly you brush. Patients need to be careful that their choice of brush does not damage gums, the tooth enamel or root surface.
Finally and most importantly your choice of toothbrush depends on whatever you like the best, and one that you will use at least twice a day, every day.
If you need any more advice or recommendations for the right way to maintain your oral health or the right type of toothbrush for you, talk to our dentist on your next visit.
Flossing involves the use of a dental cord or dental floss tape to remove food particles from in-between teeth. It should be an integral part of any oral healthcare routine and involves gently moving the floss in-between and below the gum line of each tooth in the mouth.
5 Key Steps involved in Flossing
– Use 18″ of floss, wind most of it around the same finger on both hands, leaving around 1″ in the middle to start with
– Draw floss down in-between teeth with a gentle sawing motion
– Bend the floss into a ‘C’ shape and continue below the gum line
– Make sure to floss between and beside every tooth
– Rinse your mouth to remove debris before brushing
3 Key Advantages of Flossing
– Flossing removes food debris and plaque from places that a toothbrush cannot reach
– Flossing prevents tooth decay and gum disease
– It helps you to maintain healthy gums, which in turn lead to healthy teeth
We come across patients all the time who dislike the idea of flossing due to the temporary discomfort they experience in their gums. The good news is that after a couple of days this discomfort subsides and you get to a stage where you don’t even realise you are doing it. If you need any help or advice with your flossing technique ask the dentist on your next visit. Appointments can be made by calling our practice reception on 01 6790625.
Healthy and well cared for gums will last you a lifetime, and should be pink and firm to the touch.
Your gums perform three main functions:
– Anchor teeth to the jaw, allowing you to bite and chew
– Alveolar Processes surround the teeth and give them support
– The Gingiva (Pink Flesh) protects the roots of your teeth
Bleeding, swelling and soreness are all sure signs of gum disease, which comes in two main types – Gingivitis which is reversible and Periodontal Disease which is not reversible.
Treatment Options for gum disease will be assessed and recommended by your dentist when you attend for your next check-up. It can usually be a simple case of your dentist or hygienist removing the build up of plaque (Tartar) from your teeth, and/or maybe deep root cleaning if necessary.
Gum disease can be minimised by ensuring that you spend a sufficient amount of time brushing your teeth (Around 2 minutes) and using floss and interdental brushes to remove plaque from your teeth and gums.
Other steps that you could take might include:
– Reducing your intake of sugary food and drinks, which feed plaque
– Taking the time to carefully clean around teeth and gums
– Plaque removing mouthwash
– Eat more fish and nuts, which reduce the risk of gum disease
The most common reason now for a tooth to be extracted is gum disease. Unfortunately, many dentists are not particularly interested in gums, and as such, gum disease often goes unnoticed until relatively advanced, and difficult to treat. Early signs are bleeding gums after brushing or flossing, and healthy gums SHOULD NOT BLEED! Treatment in early stages is thorough cleaning of the teeth by the dentist or hygienist (who is specifically trained for this purpose), followed by instruction in suitable maintenance techniques for homecare.
The main reason for bringing people back for 6, 9 or 12 month check-ups is to allow regular professional tooth cleaning to prevent gum disease and maintain optimum oral health, so if your dentist only ever cleans the back of the front 6 teeth and gives them a quick brush, CHANGE DENTIST NOW!! There is no excuse for ignoring gum disease anymore, and any dentist that does should not be allowed to get away with it. Be particularly aware if you are being seen under your PRSI, a medical card, or other third party scheme, as it is easy for the dentist to skip the proper cleaning and still get paid, and this should not happen.
Treatment of more advanced gum disease will cost you money, as there is no easy fix, and it will require time and effort on your part, and usually the intervention of a good hygienist or periodontist (gum treatment specialist). It is much easier to prevent than to treat gum disease.
Probably the most undervalued and abused member of the dental team, both by dentists and patients! Hygienists have a hard life, as many dentists use them as a depository for all the patients and work they don’t want themselves, and many patients don’t quite understand their role when they’re sent to see them.
If you want a clean, healthy mouth, perfect oral hygiene, and immaculately kissable breath, a hygienist should become one of your best friends, as she will be able to advise you on the most appropriate oral hygiene techniques for your mouth, will clean your teeth more diligently, and more thoroughly than the majority of dentists, and should take a personal interest in you becoming a paragon of oral health. She is generally able to treat the majority of cases of gum disease, and you can see her as often as you wish to maintain that perfect smile, without having to see the dentist every time.
If you get into knots with floss, drink mouthwash as an aperitif, and use interdental brushes to clean your ears, you need a visit to the hygienist ASAP!
Our hygienist, Joann, is available Wednesdays and Fridays in our studio on Nassau Street, and will gently, but thoroughly, clean and polish your mouth, and coax you into better oral hygiene habits. She is also appreciated by us dentists too, as she can clean a mouth better than any of us are able!
The electric toothbrush
No, they’re not just a gimmick, but can be a very useful tool for improving the health of your gums, teeth and mouth in general.
However, don’t rush off to buy the first you see, as there are good and bad ones, and some are more suited to particular people than others, and, guess what, that’s another reason for seeing your dentist or hygienist regularly, as he/she will have the chance to advise you as to the most appropriate brush for your mouth.
In our studio on Nassau Street we stock our favoured brushes, namely the Oral B Plaque Remover ( not the one for 10 euro that you find in the pound shop! ), and the Philips Sonicare, which uses a form of sonic vibration to clean the teeth, as opposed to mechanical motions.
If you seriously value your teeth, an investment in a good electric toothbrush is a wise one.
Hate flossing, like the rest of us? Try TePe’s. Probably the easiest and most effective way to clean between teeth, and no more tying yourself in knots. If your dentist hasn’t mentioned them, ask! Healthier gums, fresher breath, less ‘scraping’ at your dental cleaning visit, and less chance of gum disease in years to come. Ideally, ask for advice on the correct size for you, but if in doubt, start with Pink and go from there.
If you can’t find them in your local pharmacy, drop in to us on Nassau Street, where we generally have a stock of all sizes available.
Check out http://www.tepe.com/ for a video tutorial on the correct use of the interdental brush.