It is important to practice good oral hygiene; not only for dental health, but for your overall wellbeing. From childhood, we are urged to brush well and regularly to avoid caries, calculus, periodontitis etc.
However, no one talks about the best times to brush. Brushing should start immediately a child’s first teeth erupt. The more times one brushes every day, the better, however this is difficult due to various reasons.
Dentists recommend everyone to get a simple schedule that builds brushing into a routine. Most times brushing at least twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed in the evening both after having meals for at least 2 minutes at both times is the standard.
When one consumes acidic foods for example citrus fruits, dried fruit, sodas, bread and pastries, they should brush at least 30 minutes after a meal. This prevents enamel and dentine damage caused by immediate brushing.
Brushing techniques employed are also important
For instance, the brush should be held at a 45-degree angle, then in small circular, back and forth motions gently along teeth and gums. Brush all surfaces inside the mouth, including the tongue ensuring that the back sides of the teeth (top and bottom rows) are being cleaned by brushing vertically in up and down motions.
Which tooth brush is the best?
This is a common question and there many options available on the market.
There are certain qualities you should look for in whatever toothbrush you choose, regardless of whether it is manual or electric. The best toothbrush size head is one that allows you easy access to all surfaces of your teeth including the sides and backs of your molars. The toothbrush should have a long enough handle so you can comfortably hold it in your hand.
Bristle varieties available include soft, medium, or hard. For the vast majority of people, a soft-bristled toothbrush will be the most comfortable and safest choice. Depending on how vigorously you brush your teeth and the strength of your teeth, medium- and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel.
For teeth protection as you brush, the bristles on the toothbrush should have rounded tips. Frequent replacement of toothbrushes every after 3-4 months or sooner if bristles are frayed is desirable. A worn out toothbrush wont do a great job cleaning teeth.
Which toothpaste is one supposed to use? This is another common question often asked.
Recommend using toothpaste containing fluoride in order to ensure growth of teeth regardless of the problem at hand at all times. Children should use a smear size toothpaste and shouldn’t swallow whereas adults recommended to use pea sized toothpaste.
In addition to brushing, Interdental cleaning, which leads to removal of food and plaque from surfaces a tooth brush has difficulty reaching most especially between teeth should be done always.
Options available include; using dental floss or tape, Interdental brushes and oral irrigators. These reach areas that the brush is unable to, remove plaque and allow the fluoride from the toothpaste to reach between the teeth.
Final Year student
UCU Dental School