It’s time to brush up on brushing up!
Your MyDental dentist can work wonders if things go wrong, but prevention is better than cure, so isn’t it time you committed once again to your brushing regime?
If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you will be well acquainted with all of the various treatments that our dentists can carry out for you, from provision of clear braces to teeth whitening, or from dental crowns to veneers.
But believe it or not, we’d be much happier if we never got to carry out one of these treatments on you. We’d genuinely love it if we met you every six months for a quick checkup, and gave you the all-clear.
Thankfully, with many of our patients, this is the case. Why? Because they have a really unshakeable daily regime that includes quality brushing, supported by flossing or interdental brushing.
We never tire of telling our patients that an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, and no other activity does as much to prevent dental problems than common or garden brushing.
There’s a certain amount of technique involved – and we’ll talk about this shortly – but the most important thing is that you brush every single day, and at least twice.
Regularity is the key to success
Bacteria multiply at a frightening pace, and if you don’t keep the pressure on, they’ll start to work their evil magic, leading to gum disease, cavities, bad breath and a host of unwanted problems. Brushing also allows you to massage fluoride around your teeth.
It goes without saying that you should brush last thing at night. If not, bacteria will have an 8-hour window, while you sleep, to multiply to their hearts’ content.
And for much the same reason, you should always look to brush after your breakfast, so that you don’t head off to work or school with those nasty bacteria unchecked.
We recognise that it can be difficult to brush during the day if you’re constantly on the move, but why not have an extra toothbrush in your office desk so that you can brush after lunch? Your teeth will really thank you for it!
How to brush for maximum impact
If we had to give you one bull’s-eye area to concentrate on when you’re brushing, it would be the area where the gum meets the tooth. It’s logical, when you think about it.
This is an ideal hiding place for bacteria and plaque, so you need to concentrate carefully – and not go into daydreaming mode – to make sure that you hit the spot.
If you get this right, it’s not so important whether you go for a circular brushing motion or a vibrating or flicking movement. The circular method lets you use a gentle brushing movement, and is very successful at getting into those hard-to-reach spots.
The second method, which involves a horizontal backwards and forwards motion, lets you use a gentle flicking action to dislodge any food or plaque that may be lurking on or between the gums.
Whichever action you chose, it’s important that you look to angle the brush at 45 degrees towards the gum. This means that you’re not just brushing and massaging the teeth and gums, but also getting into any minor crevices.
If you miss a brushing, please don’t be tempted to make up for it the next time by being extra vigorous in your brushing. This can cause your gums to bleed and is no more effective than a gentle brushing action.
What about electric toothbrushes?
We’ve written in the past about the different types of electric toothbrush on the market, but a key message is that, whichever type you chose, you let the toothbrush do the work. In other words, don’t use it as a manual brush – just hold it in place and let its electric power do the job for you.
Another helpful hint is to use a mirror when you’re brushing, as it lets you spot where you’re brushing, and prevents you from going into autopilot mode, when you’re liable to miss a few spots.
We’re absolutely sincere when we say that we’d love to end up as ‘maintenance dentists’ as opposed to having to carry out more major dental interventions. And with YOUR help, we believe we can get there.
Obviously, there are a number of dental problems that can occur through no fault of the patient. Needing clear braces is a case in point, as this is a condition which may be lurking there from birth, and is no reflection on your dental care regime.
Thankfully, clear braces cost less than ever these days, so it’s not the major outlay that it may have been in the past. So why not make yourself a promise that, other than problems like this that are outside your control, you’re going to make every effort to avoid the dentist’s chair – with the exception of your regular checkup?
It’s not pie in the sky – it’s a valid ambition and one that’s very much in keeping with a very upbeat and positive view on dental health from the International Dental Federation (http://www.fdiworldental.org/oral-health/vision-2020/shaping-the-future-of-oral-health.aspx)