How To Brush Your Teeth Correctly – Personal Dental Care

Dental care by brushing may date as far back as the Babylonians and their ingenious use of a twig. We are fortunate that we do not have to cut a twig, fray the end and scrub our teeth with such a tool.

Today we have an assortment of tooth brushes available to us for our dental needs. Brushes range from a straight brush with bristles ranging from very soft to extremely stiff, to rotary electric brushes and brushes that use sound waves to blast plaque from the recesses of our teeth.

Our choices are abundant, but the most important thing is that we brush!

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day. A soft bristle will clean without damaging the gums. Also be careful. Many of us think in an over-abundant mode. If 2 minutes is good then wouldn’t five or ten minutes be better.

Your teeth are with you for life. After your permanent teeth come in, there are no more natural replacements. Excessive brushing, over time will wear down the enamel and cause premature damage to your teeth. It may also damage your gums. So stick with the two minute limit. That will allow plenty of time to clean your teeth and gums.

We talk about brushing our teeth. But in effect, you are cleaning your mouth. Bacteria forms everywhere in your mouth, not just on your teeth. So take the time to gently brush your gums, the inside of your cheeks and yes, your tongue.

Many brands of toothpaste are available. Any brand that provides you with fluoride protection is usually good. Be careful to ensure that it does not have abrasive cleaning material in the paste. This too, over time and you certainly want to be around for a long time, can cause excessive wear to your teeth.

You do not need a large glob of toothpaste on your brush. Don’t follow the example of the commercials where they squeeze toothpaste the length of the bristles. Yes this will sell more toothpaste but it will not increase the effectiveness. You only need a small amount, about the size of a pea, too clean your teeth.

To brush effectively:

1) Use a soft bristle brush.

2) Use fluoride toothpaste with no abrasive compound included.

3) Brush for two minutes.

4) Brush your gums, inside cheeks and tongue.

5) And brush twice a day.

If you will consistently apply these simple rules, along with correct and conscientious flossing, you will enjoy excellent dental care. Look for correct flossing techniques in another article.

Are Dental X-Rays Really Needed?

The mainstream media has recently directed more attention to the issue of dental x-rays. A recent study has come to light which shows some connection between dental x-rays and brain tumors. Although there are some challenges that this particular study faces in the gathering of its data, I believe that media attention which helps the consumer become interested and more informed about the services they receive is always a good thing. With this idea in mind, I would like to address some of the concerns I have received from patients in my dental practice.

Dental x-rays are not always needed to perform a dental exam. In fact, dental x-rays should only be taken when they are needed for establishing a benchmark for a new patient and/or when there is a necessity and need for diagnosis and treatment of dental or oral disease. Many factors are evaluated to determine the need for the type and number of radiographs. Some of these elements include: age, oral health, risk factors, current signs and symptoms. Never should a one-size-fits-all approach be used with regard to the need for dental radiographs.

There are three types of dental exams performed in a dental office. These three exams are: a comprehensive, initial, or new client exam, a limited or problem-focused exam, and a periodic or established patient exam. The comprehensive oral evaluation is performed when a new patient wishes to become an established member and there is a need to establish a benchmark or an oral health reference for the future. Since a more involved set of data is being gathered to create a basis point, it is often at these appointments that more dental x-rays are taken.

When a limited or problem-focused exam occurs, there are fewer dental x-rays needed except for the specific areas in question. During these evaluations, the x-rays are only one of many different tests or pieces of information that are reviewed to determine the mode of treatment.

A routine or periodic dental exam typically occurs during a cleaning or dental prophylaxis appointment. Various issues are being evaluated during this exam. I like to divide my periodic oral evaluations into three sections. I think of the oral exam as being a circle and the examination being split into three separate categories. This exam includes a visual evaluation of soft tissue (lips, tongue, cheeks, gum tissue or gingiva, and periodontal charting), hard tissue (teeth, jaw, occlusion or bite, and then an evaluation of any radiographs that have been taken. Each portion of the examination offers valuable data that helps to aid me, the clinician, perform a more thorough and comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s oral health. Each portion of the exam has its own merit; however, when all three components are present, the most comprehensive evaluation of the patient can be performed.

As clinicians, our objective is to provide services and information which helps each individual become an active participant in maintaining his oral health. Dental radiographs or x-rays are only one tool used to help detect disease, infection, early cavity and gum disease. When radiographs are taken, proper protective aprons with thyroid collars should always be used to help minimize exposure to sensitive and vulnerable tissues. As patients become more involved in their dental care, they ask questions to help them understand why certain recommendations are made. When patients become more informed, their quality of care improves and the partnership between patient and dentist grows stronger.