A better life starts with a beautiful smile. Since teeth are windows of our smile so they should be cleaned regularly. This helps in removal of plaque, the causative factor of a number of dental problems.
By Dr Sumaiya Hasan
Regular brushing of the teeth is the first and the foremost rule of healthy smile. Here are few practical tips to make your smile beautiful.
1. Invest in the Right Tools: Your tooth brush is the tool which you use to fight dental diseases. Therefore, investing in it, on correct time and correct type is worthy. Tooth brushes with soft bristles are recommended as they are effective enough to clean the plaque, which itself is also soft. Hard bristles of tooth brush cause more harm than benefit. They are responsible for causing tooth surface wear which, at one extreme, may lead to cavitation of teeth.
A tooth brush must be replaced once every three to four months as its bristles become frayed and less effective. Furthermore, an old tooth brush harbours more germs and instead of being a favourable aid, may cause more problems.
2. Manual or mechanical? Both manual and powered toothbrushes can efficiently and meticulously clean teeth. People who have difficulty using a manual toothbrush may find powered toothbrushes easier to use.
3. Do it the Right Way: There are a number of tooth brushing techniques. The most recommended, however, is called the ‘Modified Bass Technique’. The tooth brush is placed at an angle of 45 ̊ on the gum line where plaque tends to accumulate. Covering two to three teeth at a time, the brush is moved in circular motion and directed towards the chewing surface to sweep away the debris trapped between the teeth. The chewing surface is then cleaned in a back and forth brushing motion. Tongue must be scrubbed gently in the end with clean tooth brush as it too harbours debris and microorganisms which are responsible for causing bad breath.
Tooth brushing must be gentle. Aggressive brushing is neither required nor recommended as it causes tooth surface wear.
4. Don’t rush when you brush: The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. All surfaces of the teeth including inside surfaces, outside surfaces and the chewing surfaces must be cleaned.
5. Don’t Over Rinse: The National Health Service, UK states that rinsing the mouth with water or mouthwash aggressively and immediately after brushing may wash away the toothpaste which has fluoride in it. The fluoride is an important element in preventing dental decay and over rinsing the mouth can reduce the protective action of fluoride. Therefore, after tooth brushing the excessive toothpaste must be spitted out and rinsing must be limited to the extent of removing debris from the mouth.
6. Don’t Brush Immediately After an Acidic Meal: The American Dental Association recommends to postpone tooth brushing for atleast an hour after taking an acidic food or drink. The acid in meal has a tendency to soften the tooth surface and when a tooth brush scrubs on the soften surface, the surface wears off. Therefore a waiting period between consumption of acidic meal and tooth brushing, during which, saliva, which has an ability to harden the tooth surface, performs its action.
An important point to be noted is that tooth brushing is merely one of the many rules for maintenance of oral hygiene. Regular dental flossing and sticking to healthy diet are also crucial for a healthy mouth. Furthermore, visiting a dentist regularly is also necessary as the dentist will educate you about oral health and also identify problems in your mouth, which otherwise, might go unnoticed.