Today we will be sharing with you the do’s and don’ts of toothbrushing.
For your info, plaque will cause tooth decay. Plaque is a thick sticky layer made out of bacteria, food particles as well as organic matter. Bacteria with the presence of sugar will produce a byproduct called acid. And this acid will cause the surrounding pH of the tooth to become less than 5.5. This will in turn damage the tooth structure and eats up our tooth. It will lead to tooth decay as well as gum diseases. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum caused by plaque which can then lead to serious infection, damage to the bone and tissue, and tooth loss.
So in order to reduce the plaque sticking to our teeth, here are something that you need to be aware of before, during and after toothbrushing.
Before toothbrushing, it’s advisable to use a normal floss, super floss, interdental brush as well as a water floss to clean the gaps in between our teeth. Because if you don’t use the interdental cleaners then 35% of our teeth are not clean properly. Do use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is added to the toothpaste for three main reasons. First, it can strengthen our tooth enamel, making our tooth more resistant to tooth decay as well as to reduce the amount of acid produced by the bacteria on our teeth.
So here is a brief summary of the fluoride concentration in the toothpaste that may be suitable for different age groups. For babies less than 18 months old, no toothpaste should be used. For the kids 18 months or until three years old, a smear size of 1000 ppm fluoride toothpaste should be used. However if the kid is three to six years old, then a pea size of 1000 ppm fluoride toothpaste should be used. If the kid is six years old or older then they can use a pea size of adult toothpaste which is 1450 ppm fluoride toothpaste. And if you’re more prone to getting more decays in the future then the dentist may prescribe you with higher concentration of fluoride toothpaste which is 5000 ppm fluoride.
When you’re toothbrushing, it is advisable to use a soft bristle, small head toothbrush. So you can reach the very back end of the tooth to clean. For kids, you can get them their kid toothbrush! When brushing, you need to brush twice a day, at least two minutes each time, before breakfast and the last thing before sleep. Break it down into different sections, like upper right, upper left, lower left and lower right. Brush each sections for 30 seconds! You may use a stopwatch to get an idea of how two minutes feels like. Use the right technique to brush your teeth is very important. If you are wearing braces, it’s more prone to getting more decays. So it’s recommended to brush teeth each time after have a meal!
Lastly don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove the odor-causing bacteria. You may ask what tool is the best to brush the tongue. Is it the back of the toothbrush? Tongue scraper? Or just a normal toothbrush is enough? Tongue scraper can clean better than the toothbrush, reducing the substance called volatile sulfur compound (VSC) that causes bad breath for the short term. However, if you don’t have a tongue scraper, using a toothbrush to clean your tongue is also a good alternative. You should replace your toothbrush every three months. Or it has become frayed, after you have a cold, virus or infection. Consider the powered toothbrush because it can clean better especially if you have difficulty brushing your teeth! Do establish a good brushing routine with your children as early as possible!
After knowing the Do’s we’ll be talking about the things that you shouldn’t do before, during & after toothbrushing.
First, you shouldn’t brush your teeth right after eating. Wait for at least 30 minutes. Because acidic food like carbonated drinks, lemon juice, vinegar etc. can soften the tooth enamel (outer layer). So brushing too soon may damage the enamel, causing more harm than good. Instead, after eating you should rinse away any food debris that stuck in your mouth with water and wait for 30 minutes before you brush your teeth.
Do not brush too hard. Use a soft bristle toothbrush with a gentle touch. If you are using an electric toothbrush to clean your teeth, you just need to guide the head of toothbrush around the tooth surface to clean. Let the toothbrush do the job. Otherwise with the force from electric toothbrush as well as your pressure, you may damage your teeth. Also do not over brush! Too much brushing or brushing too hard will wear down the enamel on your teeth and damage your gums causing sensitivity. Don’t forget to brush your back teeth too! After brushing your teeth restrict from rinsing. Just spit out the toothpaste and allow the fluoride to remain on the teeth.
If you want to use any mouthwash, do not gargle immediately after you brush. Only gargle at least 30 minutes after toothbrushing to allow the fluoride to act on the teeth as well as to prevent any chemicals from the toothpaste to react with the chemicals from the mouthwash. Because interaction between the chemicals can reduce the effectiveness of both the toothpaste and the mouthwash. Don’t ever share toothbrush with anyone, even a family member. Because the germs and infection can transfer via a toothbrush. Try not to eat or drink anything immediately after brushing to allow time for fluoride to work. So it’s better to brush before you sleep.
Last but not least don’t forget the importance of the regular checkup with your dentist. Depending on the risk of you getting more decay or following any dental procedures that you have completed with your dentist, the recall period may be different for different people. For example if you have high risk of getting more decays in the future, then your recall period may be three monthly. However if your risk of getting decays is moderate, then six monthly recall is sufficient. Your dentist knows best. So follow their advice.
That’s all for today. Hope the information above helps you in some way.