5 April, 2017
Patients often ask about what they should be using to clean their teeth. So here is a two part blog about the most important cleaning tools to keep your smile healthy.
The most important item in your tool kit is your tooth brush. This is the key to removing most of the plaque from your teeth and gums. Plaque is the number one cause of dental decay and gum disease, so the more you remove the healthier your mouth, and whole body, will be.
There are two main types of tooth brushes, the old school manual tooth brush and the newer electric tooth brush
The Manual Toothbrush
The key to a good toothbrush is a small head with soft nylon bristles. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to get into all those hard to get to places. Near the gums of the back teeth and behind the bottom front teeth are the places that I find most of the plaque escape to. The enamel on our teeth is very strong, but will slowly be worn away with brushing so the softer the better. Some patients find that they’re teeth don’t feel as clean unless they use a medium toothbrush, but by changing the angle of the tooth brush to 45° we can maximise cleanliness and minimise enamel damage. It might sound counter intuitive to be a holistic practice and not recommend a tooth brush with natural fibres, but nylon bristles are the way to go. The natural fibres trap bacteria and debris so when you go and brush your teeth again, you end up smearing all that old junk back onto your teeth but this time the bacteria has evolved and is more resilient. A bamboo handled toothbrush is an appropriate way to be environmentally healthy, and there are many on the market that also have nylon bristles.
I would also avoid using charcoal toothbrushes. Although charcoal is renowned for its ability to remove toxins from the gut it is significantly abrasive and can have long term consequences for your teeth. If you would like the health benefits of charcoal detoxing your mouth then I suggest you brush without it and then chew a charcoal tablet for two minutes.
The Electric Toothbrush
These aren’t for everyone but if they are for you then they are fantastic. They have all the qualities of a great manual toothbrush, but without all the flaws and inconsistencies of the operator. The meaning of the latter is that they will brush your teeth with almost perfect technique whether your tired, feeling lazy, distracted, running late or not. We generally recommend the base model Oral-B (Vitality) given its affordability. There are other Oral-B models that do a great job too, they are just a bit pricier and don’t clean your teeth and better than the base model. Philips Sonicare also have some great tooth brushes but are a little more expensive and replacement heads are harder to come by.
The only thing more important than what type of tooth brush you use is how often you use it. It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and if you can after lunch. The most important time is night time as we don’t want to be going to bed with all that stuff on our teeth, dissolving them as we sleep.
Next time I’ll go over some other items that will help keep your mouth the healthiest it has ever been.