Why do we have to brush our teeth?
Dental brushing is something that should not be missing from our daily routine. The mouth of each person is a septic environment, namely an environment containing microorganisms. These microorganisms are mainly represented by bacteria that feed from sugars from our diet and secrete certain substances harmful to teeth and gums.
Teeth are covered with dental enamel at the coronary level (the visible part in the mouth of the tooth). Unfortunately, the enamel is very sensitive to acidic environment, that is, it dissolves into the acidic environment. Bacteria are stuck on it and they consume sugars from food and secrete lactic acid (plus other substances). Lactic acid demineralizes the enamel, it dissolves it thus causing dental caries.
When bacteria are present on the teeth near the gums, the substances secreted by them irritate the gum. This leads to a swollen gum (gingivitis) that bleeds and which in time begins to draw back together with the bone that provides support to the teeth.
Bacteria have an amazingly high rate of multiplication, especially at night when we are asleep, and that is why for a good health of our teeth and gums it is imperative to brush our teeth and remove as many bacteria as possible.
When should we brush our teeth?
Twice a day. In the morning immediately after waking up, and in the evening, before bedtime. Evening brushing is the most important because at night the functions of our body decrease, as well as the salivary function. Saliva is an excellent antimicrobial agent, but at night when saliva secretion is significantly reduced this function is very low and bacteria get excessively multiplied. Therefore, it’s recommended we have a clean mouth in the evening which will remain clean in the morning rather than having a dirty one that will be much dirtier in the morning.
How long should teeth brushing last?
The teeth brushing should take about 4 minutes when done using the correct technique. I know 4 minutes sounds a lot, especially as many of us are accustomed to finishing within a minute, and that our time is limited and quite precious. To people who consider that 4 minutes is a lot I recommend to perform an activity that would distract their attention while brushing, such as listening to music or watching TV, but only after the appropriation of a good brushing technique, when the automatism appears and you do not have to think about how to place the toothbrush on the tooth and on the gum or about the moves you have to perform.
Correct teeth brushing
- place the toothbrush on your teeth and gum at a 45-degree angle (bristles up at the top teeth, bristles down at the lower teeth)
- brush a group of 2-3 teeth simultaneously using a rotating movement from the gum to the tooth – 5-6 rotations per each group. These moves shall be performed with your mouth half-open.
- on frontal teeth, both upper and lower ones, on the surfaces towards the tongue place the toothbrush vertically and make the same wiping movement from the gum to the tooth.
To the question “What toothbrush shall I use?” the answer I give to patients is a personalized one according to their needs, but generally the most suitable toothbrush is a medium-hard plastic bristle toothbrush as simple as possible. To the question “What toothpaste shall I choose?” the answer is even simpler, because 90% of the final brushing result consists of the technique and not the paste, any toothpaste that satisfies you is appropriate.
Depending on how well you brush your teeth and depending on your body, the dental-periodontal professional hygiene in the dental practice can be recommended every 6 months or once a year. This hygiene supplements your daily hygiene by removing tartar and bacterial plaque where you have not fully succeeded and shall consists of: scaling, compulsory supragingival and subgingival airflow only if necessary, professional brushing, professional fluoridation.
I give you a piece of advice: avoid the offers that offer you with only scaling and professional brushing, especially those with low costs. Do not entrust your health to the hands of the people selling you illusions.
Dr. Florin Popastate