Many patients don’t realize just how important it is to use the right toothbrush. They typically rely on the sample they get after their 6-month dental visit or pick up a cheap option at their local grocery store. To them, all toothbrushes are basically the same, and they don’t see a reason to invest in an electric version.
While using a manual brush is, of course, better than nothing, many dentists in British Columbia want their patients to make the switch to electric. These brushes help ensure patients get their mouths as clean as possible—reducing their cavity risk and the likelihood they’ll develop gingivitis.
Either kind of brush is fine, but you are more likely to spend the right amount of time brushing—two to three minutes—when youre using an electric toothbrush, says Dr. Maru, a dental surgeon at Surrey Dental Implants in Surrey, BC. (Manual brushers average less than one minute.)
Dentists all over BC agree that regular tooth brushing (no matter how high tech or low tech the gadget) and flossing can help prevent tooth decay.
As a general rule, dental clinics in British Columbia recommends that children up to age 7 have adult supervision while brushing. This is to make sure kids completely clean all surfaces of their teeth, even hard-to-reach places where plaque often accumulates, such as the back molars or the lower bottom teeth next to the tongue.
The CDA has more suggestions for parents to help their kids develop good dental habits:
Overzealous toothbrushing. Brushing too hard around the gum line, or just brushing with bristles that are too hard, can erode gums.
There are 2 main causes:
What to do? Depending on the cause and the severity of the problem, a dentist may recommend anything from a deep cleaning of the teeth and gums to a gum graft, a procedure in which tissue is taken from the top of the mouth and grafted onto the gums, where it takes hold over the course of four to six weeks.
At a minimum, purchase a toothpaste that carries the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) seal of acceptance, which means that it has been independently tested, lives up to any label claims, and contains fluoride, a mineral that keeps tooth enamel strong and prevents tooth decay.
If you have sensitive teeth, toothpaste labeled for this can help lessen pain. These products contain minerals, like strontium chloride and potassium nitrate, that block the tiny tubules in teeth that lead to the nerves. You generally need to use the toothpaste for several weeks to feel an improvement, as the mineral needs to accumulate over time.
If your dentist says you have excess tartar (which can lead to tooth decay), look for a tartar-control toothpaste containing pyrophosphate, which can help reduce the buildup. Some new formulas boast the antibacterial ingredient triclosan, which is often found in liquid hand washes and can help cut down on gingivitis, tartar buildup, and bad breath, according to the CDA.
If your teeth look dingy, toothpaste marketed as “whitening” can help brighten your smile. These paste usually contain tiny crystals or mild chemicals that loosen debris and remove minor stains. Those with baking soda work in the same way.