Paying Attention to our Toothbrush

Getting the basics of oral health care right

Although primitive forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since around 3000 BC, the toothbrush as we know it now was not invented until 1938 but has, since, become a must have item in every household and certainly across the developed world.

This basic piece of plastic and bristles is an essential tool in making sure that we keep our oral health in good shape. Despite this though, many of us make a number of errors both in the way that we use them and look after them.

Method of Brushing

Most of us who brush our teeth regularly will most likely follow the pattern that we were taught by our parents. This is, of course, entirely natural. However, recommendations have changed over the years and rather than advise the correct method here, it is recommended that you discuss this with your dentist at 77 Harley Street who will be able to advise you of the best method to use and may even adapt this to help with any particular dental problems that you may have.

One point worth noting is that whereas most of us were taught to rinse and spit after cleaning our teeth, the general opinion now is that this should be avoided in order to allow the fluoride in the toothpaste to protect our teeth better.

Which Toothbrush?

There has been some debate whether a standard toothbrush or an electric one is the best. Whilst there is no definitive answer to this, the fact is that both should do their job if used correctly and for long enough. It is a good idea to use a timer too when cleaning your teeth. Set it for 2 minutes and brush continually for that time; you may be surprised at how long that feels.

It is also important to opt for a reasonably hard bristled brush; although one with soft bristles may feel more comfortable, it will be less effective at removing the bacteria which can eventually lead to gum disease and potentially even loss of teeth. However, brushing too hard can also cause problems – our hygienist will advise the correct technique and pressure to use.

Change Your Toothbrush

Like an old jumper, many of us seem to like hanging on to our toothbrush for as long as possible. Unfortunately, this leads to it becoming less effective as the bristles soften. It is generally recommended that you change your toothbrush at least every three months and, if you have had a cold or other virus, immediately after that has cleared, in order to prevent re-infection.

Toothbrush caps

Many toothbrushes now come with caps. Whilst this is done with the best intention, if you do not keep the cap clean, you are more likely to trap bacteria and cause their number to increase on the toothbrush. So, if you use a toothbrush cap, then make sure that you keep it clean and ensure that you clean your toothbrush well after each use.

Remember, cleaning your teeth with a toothbrush is a very basic part of your oral health care but a very important one too and, done correctly, one that will help you to keep your teeth in great shape and reduce the amount of invasive dental procedures that you may need in the future.

This entry was posted in Hygiene. Bookmark the permalink.