Choosing the right toothbrush can seem daunting when you’re standing before the multi-colored array of brushes on store shelves. Should you splurge on an electric rechargeable or try the battery-operated one first? Would you prefer a rotating or vibrating head? How about the cheek and tongue cleaner? Or will you just toss your favourite medium-sized, soft bristle brush into the cart until next time.The simple and effective choice for the average consumer is a soft bristle brush with a head that fits the size of your mouth. But it’s the using, not the choosing, that matters most, dental experts say.
Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes is not only important for good oral health and good overall health, it contributes to an attractive smile, a pleasing appearance and more social confidence.
Brushing can’t remove plaque that’s hardened into tartar, but regular brushing and flossing can reverse swollen gums that bleed (gingivitis), a condition that could lead to periodontal (gum) disease and bone and tooth loss.
Manual and electric toothbrushes are both good as long as the patient is thorough and uses it consistently.
Some electric brushes have built-in timers that pulse or beep every 30 seconds to tell you when to move to the next quadrant of the mouth. Others have pressure sensors to help aggressive brushers break the habit.
Use electric brushes for patients with limited hand motion due to age or medical conditions. For seniors who need the larger ergonomic handle but can’t afford an electric brush, she recommends wrap-ping a face cloth around the handle or taping a tennis ball to the bottom of the grip.
Many tend to use a brush that’s too big for their mouth. The toothbrush and brushing technique depend on the size of the mouth, number of teeth, how the teeth are aligned and if there is spacing between the teeth or crowding. Proper brushing is a very individual practice.
Even the growth of plaque varies from person to person, based on an individual’s biology, genetics, lifestyle and medical history. It’s multifactorial, if your parent had problems with gum disease, you might too. But other health factors such as smoking and diabetes could also lead to a greater risk of gum disease.
Severe gum disease is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which says 10 to 15 per cent of the world population (600 to 900 million people) suffers from severe periodontal disease.
BRUSH UP ON YOUR CLEANING
Electric – Work around the mouth, allowing brush to sit on each tooth a few seconds to clean plaque off. Angle the brush up or down at the margin where the tooth and gum meet and rotate into the corners between the teeth. Don’t scrub, let it do the work.
Manual – Point the bristles to the gum line at a 45-degree angle and gently massage with a vibrating action to create friction. Move the toothbrush in the direction the tooth grows.
Brushing in circles is easier for children who have less manual dexterity.
Saliva neutralizes bacteria in the mouth but the flow slows down at night. Brush your teeth again after late night snacks. If you only floss once a day, do it at night.
Every three months
Replace the manual and electric adult-and child-sized brushes if bristles start to fray or become flattened. Replace more frequently if you were sick, have gingivitis or gum disease. Never share your toothbrush head.
Brushing does not replace daily flossing or regular dental checkups.