Why is Brushing my Teeth Important?
According to the Dental Trivia section of dentist.ie (the Irish Dental Association website), only 46% of households purchase toothbrushes.
That’s an alarming statistic, and hopefully an inaccurate one, as your toothbrush is the most vital component of your oral health regime. Your dentist at Reva Dental can tell you what happens to those who don’t brush their teeth.
Flossing, mouthwash and regular dental check-ups are ideal, but if your toothbrush isn’t doing its job-or worse; you don’t have one – you’re destined for decay.
Gum Disease Can Kill
Good oral health relies on brushing your teeth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Gum disease is not only a cause of tooth loss, but can also in extreme cases cause heart attack and stroke, as bacteria can enter the bloodstream via the mouth.
When we eat, the sugars and starches in food combine with any plaque coating the teeth and produce acids that attacks tooth enamel, leading to decay.
Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on the tooth’s surface, and if you don’t brush to get rid of it, plaque will irritate your gums, making them red and swollen. This is gingivitis, which is the start of gum disease. It’s reversible in the early stages but left unchecked, the gums will begin to pull away from the teeth and the resulting pocket will fill with bacteria.
These pockets of bacteria can destroy the bone supporting the teeth, and ultimately can cause teeth will fall out. If you brush properly, you remove a large proportion of the plaque from the tooth’s surface-and flossing removes it from the spaces between teeth.
How Often Should I Brush?
To maintain good oral hygiene, you should brush for about two minutes morning and night, and preferably after eating so that plaque doesn’t build up.
A lot of people wait until their toothbrush is on its last legs before replacing it; acquiescing to the purchase of a new one only when the bristles are flat and falling out. If your toothbrush looks like that; it stopped doing you any good months ago.
If you brush twice a day, your toothbrush is ready for replacement every three to four months. Better yet, treat yourself to an electric toothbrush.
Power vs. Manual Toothbrush
‘Power’ or electric toothbrushes have become very sophisticated in design, with advanced brush heads and bristles based on oscillating/translating, vibrating, or ultrasonic technology.
There is no competition between a manual and a ‘power’ toothbrush. Even the most sophisticated of designs and the most regimented of brushers cannot compare to the plaque-removing efficacy of a power brush; they remove anywhere form 10% – 49% more plaque than a manual brush.
You can buy a reasonably priced electric toothbrush in most pharmacies and many department stores; and they are often on special offer at certain times of the year. It’s important to remember that even with an electric brush; you must replace the head after a while, as the bristles will become worn. At Reva Dental we generally recommend the Oral B Pulsar range of electric toothbrush which is available to purchase in the clinic (price €9.95).
Whether you use a traditional toothbrush or an electric one, be conscious of wear and tear, and change it at the start of each season. This way you can keep your gums healthy and your teeth cavity-free.
Ask your dentist’s advice on brushing; you can call Reva Dental on (056) 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie