Brushing Teeth

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Brushing one’s teeth is a habit all humans have. But not many people realize or even know of the correct technique of brushing or the many reasons why it is imperative and that brushing the right way, can prevent a heart attack.

Contents

Did You Know

  • Going to the dentist for regular check ups and cleanings is one of the most important factors in maintaining good oral health.
  • Gum disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults and has also been linked to heart disease and strokes.According to recent studies done by a team from Columbia University, people who had gum diseases were more likely to suffer atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of blood vessels.
  • About 85% of people with persistent bad breath have a dental condition that is to blame.
  • Controlling or eliminating the amount of beverages and foods that are high in sugar can greatly help to maintain good dental health
  • Dental problems do not get better without treatment
  • One should brush teeth twice a day. Brushing the right way cleans and polishes teeth, removes plaque and stains, prevents cavities and gum diseases, resists decay, promotes remineralization and freshens breath.

Right way to Brush

  • One of the most important and yet unknown fact about brushing is that proper brushing should take at least 2 minutes.
  • Care should be taken on cleaning each section of the teeth starting with the outer surface of the upper teeth and then the lower teeth
  • Then one should move to the inner parts of the upper teeth followed by the lower teeth
  • The brush must be held at a slight angle to the gums (around a 45 degree angle) and short, gentle strokes must be used.
  • The movement must be circular, across the surface of the teeth, covering 2-3 teeth at a time
  • Both the front of the teeth and the back must be covered.
  • One must remember to also brush the tongue, for fresh breath as bacteria can gather here.

Things to remember

  • Never store your toothbrush with other brushes or in the open. It is quite common for the brushes to get contaminated, either from each other or from the air. Bacteria that cause oral infections like gingivitis and other gum diseases can spread from one family member’s brush to the other. Even leaving brushes in the open in the bathroom can cause contamination from airborne bacteria such as E coli
  • Never share your toothbrush with anybody else. It could result in an exchange of fluids and possible infection.
  • Always rinse the toothbrush completely and store it in
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles appear worn. Children’s brushes may need to be replaced more often.
  • One should start cleaning an infant’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water after feedings even before the teeth erupt. Till the age of two, use just water and brush and then start using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Choose a toothbrush with soft and rounded bristles that will not scratch and hurt the teeth and the gums
  • Be careful when buying over-the-counter whitening products. Some bleaching agents can cause serious damage to the gums and mouth.
  • Consult a dentist on the whitening pastes available. Always follow the instructions on any whitening product you use.


Toothpaste Details

Toothpaste or the cleaning agent is made up of –

  • Humectant and water- 75%
  • Abrasive-20%
  • Foaming and flavoring agents -2%
  • PH buffers - 2%
  • Coloring agents, binders, and opacifiers-1.5%
  • Fluoride

Fluoride is considered the most crucial ingredient in toothpastes. All fluoride toothpastes work effectively to fight plaque and cavities and clean and polish tooth enamel. Though toothpaste manufacturers claim a number of extra features, dentists maintain that fluoride is the main active ingredient.

Importance of Flossing

Brushing the teeth is just one part of proper dental care. Flossing also plays an important role. It helps in removing plaque from between the teeth and at the gum line, which often is the root area of periodontal diseases. It is important to floss once a day.

Besides plaque, another major cause of dental problems is tartar, which is basically a hardened version of plaque. Every one person among ten has a tendency to accumulate tartar quickly. It helps if one can use a toothpaste that also has an anti tartar ingredient along with taking the care to brush around the salivary glands. These glands are located at the inside of the lower front teeth and the outside of the upper back teeth.


Tips on Flossing

  • Twist about 18” of floss thread around middle fingers of each hand. Pinching the floss between thumbs and index fingers, leave a 1”-2” length in between. Then use the thumbs to floss between the upper teeth.
  • Slowly move the floss between the teeth using a zig zag motion and remember never to use force or snap the floss between the teeth.
  • There could be a possibility of slight bleeding from the gums, if one is flossing for the first time. It is an indication of unhealthy gums and the need for regular flossing.

Dental care and nutrition

Sugar and related products have a major role in tooth decay. When we consume you foods and drinks that have sugar in them, we expose the enamel that protects our teeth to the acids present in the sugar. Some really harmful examples are hard candies and breath mints because they dissolve slowly in the mouth. Such foods if had with a meal are less damaging because of the saliva, which washes away the sugar and bacteria.

Some tips of after care include-

  • Brush your teeth after sugar consumption. - is this not well known to be incorrect? Bushing removes the enamel that has become weak from the sugar. the British Dental society recommends waiting an hour.
  • If brushing is not possible, make sure the mouth is rinsed with water or mouthwash
  • One can also opt for sugarless chewing gum
  • Avoid sugary foods between meals.

Make your own toothpaste

In case of an emergency need, one can brush using other options. This method can also help people who do not want to use toothpastes. Take ¼ cup of baking soda and 1/8 cup of water. Mix the two. Add an edible flavoring if so desired. Mix them all well and use.

Besides these, a natural alternative to toothpastes and brushes are the use of Neem twigs and Meswaks.

Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

References

  • Fat Free Kitchen
  • Importance of Brushing
  • Dental Hygeine
  • Tooth-brushing 'cuts heart risk'