Once, it was a simple question of up and down or round and round. Today, tooth brushing is a basic ritual of personal hygiene – is fraught with decisions: Should you use an electric toothbrush? Is it worth adding a mouthwash to my routine? Or is tap water just as good as any water?
The main reason we brush our teeth is to remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that grows on the surface of teeth. Some of these bacteria produce substances that irritate the gums. Others convert sugar to acid which erodes the teeth. Bacteria also produce stinky substances that cause bad breath.
What’s the most effective way to brush your teeth?
Electric toothbrushes have been proven to reduce plaque by 21% in a study conducted by the Cochrane group of dentists. That’s not to say that manual toothbrushes are not as effective, However, the technique of brushing comes into play with them.
Dentists advise use of toothbrushes with smallish head and medium texture toothbrushes. A peanut sized amount of toothpaste is enough and brushing should take 3-4 minutes.
When should I brush them?
At least twice a day – before bed, and at any other time. An area of dispute is whether you should brush before or after breakfast. The main thing to be careful of is refined sugar because they contain acid which can make the surface of teeth soft.
Do I Have to use toothpaste?
Brushing protects against gum disease, but it’s the fluoride in toothpaste that prevents tooth decay. Because of the foods we eat, our teeth are constantly demineralizing and remineralizing; if fluoride is present during this process of remineralizing, it gets incorporated and strengthens the tooth.
Adults should look for a toothpaste that contains at least 1,350ppm of fluoride.
What about Mouthwash?
Using a fluoride mouthwash straight after brushing is pointless, however if a mouthwash is used straight after consuming an acidic drink it is beneficial. Some mouthwashes contain antiseptic agents which help with gum disease and also fresh breath. But if you brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, the additional benefit is likely to be huge.
Plaque accumulates between teeth, as well as surfaces, this is difficult to remove with a toothbrush alone. The only risk with dental flossing is gum bleeding, new evidence has shown that interdental brushes are more effective than floss.
See your Dentist regularly!
Regular checks at the dentist is advised so as to detect early signs of tooth decay or gum disease. Every 6 months is recommended but if toothbrushing is effective, this can be spaced out to between six to twenty-four(24) months.