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    April 29, 2011

    Refresh your toothbrushing technique

    One of the most important aspects of toothbrushing is using a brush that is not too worn. If the bristles of your brush are bent or out of shape they will not clean properly. It is very important to replace your brush regularly. We recommend replacing the brush every 4- 6 weeks. You are wasting your valuable time if your brush is worn. See our education article about 'How to choose a toothbrush'.
    It has been shown that a new toothbrush will remove about 30% more plaque than one that is 3 months old. Not to mention the bacteria that have impregnated your brush over that period of time. So why wait until your brush is that less effective? After all you dont want to be doing the work without the benefit, all for the sake of a $4.00 toothbrush. To make it easy to remember we change our toothbrushes at the beginning of every month. One thing that is common to many people is that they simply forget when they last changed their brush. The only reliable way we have found, is to change your brush at the beginning of every month. This way you cannot forget, & your teeth get the benfit of constantly resilient, bacteria free brisltes. Our patients have found it useful to order enough toothbrushes for themselves and the family for the next 6 months. This way the new brush is always there when the time to change has come.

    We have also found it good practice to change your toothbrush if you or someone in the family has been ill. Toothbrushes are often stored together and therefore replacing a toothbrush which may be contaminated will reduce the likelihood of other family members getting sick. It also stops that person from repeatedly reinfecting themselves.

    Proper brushing technique is the next essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The brush pictured is the Sensodyne

    It takes at least 2 minutes to brush adult teeth adequately. It helps to think of your mouth as 4 different sections(quadrants) and consider 30 seconds of brushing in each quadrant. Each quadrant of teeth has an outer (cheek), top(biting), & inner (tongue or palate) surface to brush. Start cleaning in one area and try to follow a logical sequence around your mouth. This way you are less likely to miss the same areas every time.
                     Picture 2

    For the outer surfaces of your teeth place the brush on the tooth surface at 45 degree angle to the tooth and slide the brush tips into the gum margins whilst also pushing the bristles between teeth. Move the brush in small circular/jiggling motion, keeping the brisltes in the gum margin & between the teeth (see picture 1). Slowly advance the position of the brush along the outer line of teeth. Then repeat this action for the inner surface of the teeth (see picture 2).

    Picture 3                  

    It is very difficult to move the brush in a circular motion on the tongue side of your lower teeth so a gentle back and forth motion is acceptable (see picture 3). When you come to the tongue side of the lower front teeth stand the brush upright and roll the brush side to side and up and down (see picture 4 ).

    When brushing upper back molars make sure your mouth is nearly closed as this will enable you to clean the cheek side of the very back teeth. Finally, brush the biting surfaces of all the back teeth in the usual fashion, however as an adult this becomes a less important area to spend as much time on. It is recommended that you should brush your teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before you go to sleep.

    Brushing over the surface of your tongue is also a good idea as it removes bacteria that can cause bad breath (See bad breath). We have personally tested & seen the positive evidence of dedicated tongue scrapers for this purpose. We wholeheartedly recommend them.

    Power toothbrushes
    Toothbrushing with an Power toothbrush is much the same as a manual toothbrushing technique except that the brushhead does the oscillating motion. You still need to angle the brush head & press into all the crevices and move around all areas of the mouth. The electric toothbrush is a powerful motivator and we love the timers which keep people brushing for the required amount of time. Electric toothbrushes are much more cost effective now and they are especially good for patients with any reduced physical dexterity for example arthritis.

    Remember that the toothbrush head still needs to be changed as regularly as a manual toothbrush (See power toothbrushes for our recommendations)

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