Prevention

Toothbrush Buying Guide

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When taking care of your oral hygiene, the most essential daily activity you can do is brush your teeth. When brushing your teeth it is important to purchase one that will effectively and properly get the job done. Look for the Canadian Dental Association’s seal of approval to ensure that an independent body of scientific experts has evaluated the product. Additional considerations come down to making sure the design of the brush is effective by making your experience comfortable, efficient and personalized.

Manual vs. Powered

An alternative to manual brushes is a rechargeable electric toothbrush that can help you maintain the health of your teeth and gums. The brushing action of these “power” brushes is very different from the manual variety. The electric brush provides the movement and you only need to guide it. It might take a while to get used to, but the trick is simply moving it properly over the surface area of your teeth.

Electric brushes aren’t necessarily better for your teeth but they can make it more convenient for your brushing routine. Additionally, young children might find brushing with an electric brush more fun than with a manual one. If you have difficulty brushing with a manual toothbrush it might be worthwhile to give it a try and see if you find it more comfortable or easier. Essentially this distinction is simply a matter of choice and preference so try both and see which one you prefer.

Size

An important decision when considering a purchase is the size of the toothbrush head. For best results and comfort, it is essential that this portion of the brush be properly sized for maneuverability and be capable of reaching every corner of your mouth. Make sure that you can properly reach to the sides and backs of your molars as well as having it fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. For ease of use, small-headed brushes are preferable over larger ones. When it comes to handle size, type and shape this is simply a matter of personal preference and you should pick the one that suits you best. Ask your dentist if you need a little more guidance on what size of toothbrush is best for you.

Bristle Variety

When visiting the drugstore you are presented with quite a few options when selecting bristles for your brush: soft, medium or hard nylon bristles. For most people the safest and preferred choice is soft bristles. When brushing too vigorously with medium or hard bristles you can compromise the strength of your teeth, damaging the gums as well as the root surface.

The shape of bristles can customize your tooth brushing routine even further. Available options include a cup shaped design to better accommodate the shape of your teeth, diagonal patterns to better clean the sides of your teeth or there might be slightly longer bristles intermixed that serve to get in between teeth while brushing. Look for brushes that features bristles with rounded tips for additional protection.

Toothbrush Care

Seeing as the primary use of a toothbrush is to eliminate bacteria from your mouth, you should take care that it is sanitary and bacteria-free. When going on a vacation or a trip you should cover it or keep it in a container to avoid the accumulation of dirt and harmful bacteria. When you are at home you should do the exact opposite and only store your toothbrush in vertically and in open air. This is to ensure that the moisture in the bristles can evaporate, which is important in the constantly humid environment of a bathroom.

You can explore using “toothbrush sanitizers” but there is no solid evidence that they work any better than rinsing with water and letting dry in open air. Do not attempt to sanitize your toothbrush with your oven or microwave; excessive heat will damage the brush. There is also no need to panic about a minimal amount of bacteria, which can be present on your toothbrush. The human body is constantly exposed to unfriendly microorganisms; the body is normally capable of defending itself through a variety of mechanisms inherent to how our body functions. With proper care by simply rinsing and air-drying, there is no adverse effect due to the bacteria on toothbrushes.

Each individual in your household shoÍuld have a personal toothbrush that shouldn’t be used with others. Sharing will cause an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms that might be harmful to everyone using the brush. With use, the bristles will become more worn and frayed which can lead to it being less effective in removing bacteria. To ensure good oral hygiene, replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months.

Brushing with Braces

Your routine when brushing remains the same while you have your braces. You continue to use the same brushes. You maintain a routine of brushing the fronts, sides, backs, chewing surfaces of your teeth. Continue to brush the tongue and roof of your mouth for a full two minutes. You can ask your dentist to prescribe you fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay even further. When your braces are nice and shiny with the brackets clear and clean, you’ve done a great job! If you need help, feel free to ask your Ottawa orthodontist for any recommendations.


Three Things to Avoid for White Teeth

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They say prevention is better than cure and we agree, especially when it comes to white teeth. While teeth naturally begin to yellow with age, there are several things you can do that will help to slow down the process. Specifically, we recommend you avoid these three things to keep your smile as bright as possible:

1. Darkly Coloured Drinks

Avoiding dark drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine and cola is probably one of the most well-known tips for keeping teeth white. When you sip one of these drinks from a cup, the liquid hits your front teeth before you swallow it which can leave behind stains. There are a few options for those who want to enjoy their favourite beverages without staining their teeth. The first step is to try and find a light coloured alternative. For example, if you normally drink black tea you could switch to an herbal variety, or if you often have a glass of red wine you could trade it for a glass of white. If you aren’t able to find another option or really can’t give up your favourite treat, drinking it through a straw should help to reduce the amount of liquid that hits those front teeth.

2. Smoking

Smoking is another infamous culprit when it comes to yellowing teeth. You have probably seen a package of cigarettes with an image of a smoker’s unattractive smile on the back. It is so important to avoid smoking for your overall health and your smile is just one more part of your body that is negatively affected by smoking cigarettes. Smoking products are made up of a variety of poisonous chemicals which leave behind a sticky residue on the teeth. Stains begin to form with even just one inhalation and continue to build the more often you smoke. The only way to effectively prevent these stains is by completely avoiding all smoking products including cigarettes, pipes and cigars.

3. Sticky/Sugary Foods

You’ve probably been told since you were a child that too much sugar leads to cavities, but did you know it can also discolour your teeth? The same properties of sweets and candy that cause tooth decay can also result in discolouration. When you eat super sweet foods, bacteria in your mouth produce acids in order to break down the simple sugars and these acids erode tooth enamel, making your teeth more yellow as the layer underneath the enamel begins to show through. Sticky or gummy candies only make the problem worse by clinging to your teeth and making it more difficult for saliva to wash them away. If you need a sweet treat, we suggest you stick to pieces of fruit or try chewing a piece of sugarless gum.

A few small changes in your daily habits can really make a difference when it comes to maintaining white teeth. It may be difficult at first, but avoiding the three items mentioned above is an investment in your smile that will definitely pay off!

 

Illustrations from: 
http://www.dpcdsb.org/FCTIP/Events/Candy+Drive+Nov.1-8.htm
http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Nutrition-Vitamins/2010/20100208-JustACouple.htm