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How to Brush Your Teeth

How often should I brush my teeth?

The optimum regime is to thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day – in the morning to freshen up your mouth and in the evening to clean off the plaque that has accumulated during the day. It is also advisable to brush after lunch – since if you brush at eight in the morning and go to bed at 10 or 11 at night, you’ve got 14 or 15 hours of eating for bacteria to build up.

Correct Brushing Technique

It is important to note that the brushing technique is at least as important as the frequency of brushing. The fact is that too much brushing with bad technique can cause problems. Lots of people brush their teeth too hard and while they think they are doing a good job, often they are causing wear to the gums and tooth surface. People think receding gums are a sign of gum disease, but it’s often a sign of too much scrubbing.

It’s OK to brush your teeth using either a circular motion or an up-and-down motion. However when it comes to the gum line you should tip the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and apply gentle pressure so that the bristles blanchesjust under the gums, then vibrate there and flick away. Your brush shouldn’t travel across the gums. It’s important to get just underneath the gum because a lot of food and bacteria get trapped there.

You should always brush your tongue, or buy a tongue scraper. Bacteria and plaque stick to the tongue, so do it whenever you brush. It should take two to three minutes to do a thorough job.

Don’t brush for half an hour after eating, to give your saliva time to do its job and neutralise the acid caused by eating and drinking. Before this, your teeth are at their weakest and brushing can damage the enamel.

Manual or electric toothbrush?

Generally a small-headed toothbrush with soft bristles is the most efficient. And it is usually best to use a soft-to-medium toothbrush, as hard toothbrushes tend to cause more damage. Electric toothbrushes are best in some cases but not always, although we do often recommend the Oral B Pulsar electric brush which is available to buy here in the clinic. However the important thing is to learn the correct technique.

Do I really have to floss?

Yes. But once a day is fine. If you are susceptible to getting food trapped it is a good idea to carry floss with you and do it during the day. Otherwise floss at night, and ideally before brushing because flossing opens up your teeth slightly. When you brush afterwards, the fluoride in the toothpaste can seep into the tiny gaps between each tooth. Floss between every tooth, using clean floss for each one, and go up as far as it will go without ripping your gums. Gently saw the floss up underneath the gums and gently saw it out again. This cleans the tooth and root surface, and removes bacteria and food debris.

Should you use mouthwash?

A standard mouthwash can wash away the toothpaste’s beneficial ingredients. Eating sugar attracts bacteria that deposit acid, and this creates plaque, which erodes the tooth surface. The ingredients in fluoride toothpaste help to reinforce the surface, so it can make sense not to use a mouthwash unless you have a particular condition such as gum disease in which case mouthwash may be prescribed.

Should you rinse with water?

For children it is best to wash out the mouth after brushing, because if they still have adult teeth that have yet to come through, they may end up with too much fluoride in their body, which can damage their teeth. For adults, it’s good to leave a film, but in moderation – you don’t want a mouthful of toothpaste.

Why do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?

As mentioned, bleeding gums can simply be a sign that you are brushing your teeth too hard, in which case try choosing a softer toothbrush and follow the technique outlined in this article. However bleeding can also occur if plaque is left on your teeth and along the gum line, leading to inflammation of the gums which become swollen and red. This condition is known as gingivitis and a tell-tale sign is bleeding when brushing. Gingivitis left untreated can lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This disease leads to the destruction of the ligaments and bone that hold the teeth in place. Unless treated, the teeth may become loose, fall out or require removal. Be sure to consult your dentist if you notice your gums bleeding whilst brushing.

Call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

 

Why is brushing my teeth important?

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