Hello everyone! This is Doctor Rob Lipkowitz, coming to you with this week’s Rob’s reminder. The 4th in a four-part series on how to have a bright healthy smile. Now that you have a beautiful smile one of your goals should be to keep it that way. So, this week I’ll be talking to you about toothbrushes and toothpaste, what works, what’s hype, and what to avoid.
Choosing & Using Your Toothbrush
There are dozens of different types of toothbrushes on the market today. Some electric and some manual but they’re all designed to do the same thing: remove plaque; that thin layer of bacteria that forms in and around the gum line and the teeth and causes gum disease and tooth decay. When used correctly, brushing is the safest way to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. But if used incorrectly real damage can occur.
- When selecting a toothbrush make sure to choose a brush with soft bristles. Medium and hard bristles can cause tooth erosion and recession, exposing the roots of your teeth to the mouth. Exposed roots are often sensitive to temperature, as well as toothbrushing, and are far more prone to decay as we age.
- Once you’ve chosen the right brush, next you have to use it properly. We want to avoid broad sawing motions with your toothbrush. Instead, place the bristles down by the gum line & with gentle pressure vibrate the brush back and forth brushing one to two teeth at a time. overlapping as you go.
- Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes. I’m a big fan of the Sonicare toothbrush. The first reason I love the Sonicare toothbrush is its built-in timer that alerts you every 30 seconds and shuts off after 2 minutes.
- Next, the brush head vibrates instead of spinning or oscillating this reduces the risk of gum recession or tooth erosion.
- And lastly, they’re very easy to use. Simply hold the brush in place down by the gum line moving it every few seconds until you’re done. The final result? Beautiful clean teeth!
The Timer is Your Friend!
A number of years ago there was a group of researchers that asked 25 people to brush their teeth for 2 minutes. And when they thought they were done to put their toothbrushes down the average person brushed their teeth for 25 seconds! If you brush your teeth for the full 2 minutes, you’re probably way ahead of the game to start with!
Let’s Talk Toothpaste.
Toothpaste today has a variety of formulas. Some reverse early cavities, some make your teeth harder and more resistant to tooth decay. Some are designed to keep your teeth whiter, and others reduce sensitivity.
All these sound wonderful, but the truth is some of them have hidden risks. What are these risks?
Many of today’s formulations are very abrasive. They actually promote tooth erosion and gum recession. So, when picking up toothpaste make sure that the silica is way down on the content ingredient list. This will ensure a low abrasive formulation of toothpaste.
Beware: Whitening Toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste is usually the most abrasive, especially charcoal toothpaste. So as a general rule I avoid these. Whitening toothpaste can scratch & dull the porcelain on your dental restorations, and wear away your teeth. And finally, don’t be fooled by brand names. Some of our most trusted toothpaste brands have some very abrasive formulations. Below is a list of toothpaste with low abrasion. Make sure to choose a toothpaste that is 80 or lower on the abrasion scale. This will ensure a nice gentle formulation for you to avoid those problems.
Lastly, a simple way to keep your teeth looking great is occasional bleaching touch-ups with your home bleaching kit or white strips. And let’s not forget your regular cleaning visits so that we can remove the stains that collect on your teeth.