When it comes to dental health, the toothpaste is one of the first things that come to the mind. A lot of people wonder if it can make a difference to their dental health. The short answer is, yes. The longer answer is the source of this article. If you want to find out why having the right toothbrush and brushing altogether is so important, read on.
Good Oral Hygiene
The importance of good, daily oral hygiene practices can never be overestimated. Even if you maintain a good diet, engage in regular exercise and take all the right nutritional supplements to improve your health, if you don’t take care of your mouth, the rest of your body will feel the impact — eventually.
More and more studies are revealing connections between oral health and oral bacteria and increased risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Oral bacteria has also been traced to incidents of premature birth and low-birth-weight babies in mothers with oral health issues.
Most of us have been brought up understanding the need for proper brushing every day, but what do we really know about toothbrushes themselves?
Well, the need to get teeth clean with some sort of stick is actually not a new concept. Artifacts and historical records from dating back nearly 5000 years have shown the use of “chew sticks”, and brushes made out of bone, wood or ivory with bristles made of hog, boar or other animal hair.
Today’s design, with the use of nylon bristles was developed in 1938 and, even with a few modifications in shape and size, has stayed relatively the same.
Why Do I need to Brush?
The main purpose for brushing your teeth is to remove food and plaque from all the surfaces in your mouth.
The Trouble with Plaque
Plaque is a sticky bacterial film that can irritate the gums, and harden into tartar (calculus) within 24 hours. Once plaque hardens, it cannot be removed by brushing, but only with hygienist tools. Bacterial will continue to feed and grown in the plaque and tartar and eat away at your enamel and at the soft gum tissue. Gums may swell or bleed, which is one of the first signs of an early stage of periodontal disease called gingivitis.
What we Eat Affects our Teeth
Much of what’s in the average person’s daily diet includes sugary and starchy foods. These increase the acidity levels in your mouth, which cavity-causing bacteria love and creates the perfect breeding ground for cavities.
Is a powered toothbrush better than a manual?
There has been much debate over the last decade in particular about the effectiveness of a manual toothbrush versus an electric or powered toothbrush. When used properly both are extremely effective, though many studies show that electric toothbrushes with oscillating heads are more effective on average. This success may be due to the fact that some people don’t brush properly with a manual toothbrush. Either they’ve never been taught how, or they have mobility issues that make it difficult to grasp a toothbrush handle.
Choosing a Toothbrush for Children
Many children find brushing with a powered toothbrush with a picture of their favorite movie or TV character is fun. It may also encourage them to brush more regularly, which is always good. Kid-sized toothbrushes are also designed specifically for little mouths which make it easier for kids to clean.
Choosing a Toothbrush for those with Mobility Issues
People with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, autism and other conditions where dexterity may be compromised, may benefit highly from an electric toothbrush. Not only will it make brushing easier, but it may also help improve their overall oral hygiene, which will in turn improve the overall health.
Make sure that you use a soft-bristled brush, whoever you’re buying a toothbrush for.
When Should I Brush?
The American Dental Association recommends that adults and children brush at least twice a day, and floss or use an interdental cleaner once a day. The best time to brush is before bed to make sure your mouth is as clean as possible before going to bed, and in the morning when you wake up. Even though you brush your teeth before you go to bed, bacteria can still form overnight where the mouth doesn’t supply as much protective saliva as it does during the day.
When should I Replace my Toothbrush?
The American Dental Association recommends that toothbrushes be replaced at least every 3 to 4 months, immediately following a cold or virus, and sooner if the bristles start spreading apart or “splay.” If your bristles splay after just a few weeks of using a new toothbrush, this may be a sign that you’re brushing too hard. Children have a tendency to chew on their tooth brushes, and so they may need to be replaced more often.
Having a clean mouth by brushing daily means:
- Fewer cavities
- Lower risk of gum disease
- Controlled bad breath
- Better overall health as bad bacteria is eliminated before it can enter other areas of the body.
If you have any questions about your toothbrush, which one would be good for you, or about proper brushing techniques, it’s always good to talk to your family dentist.