When it comes to oral health, brushing and flossing (or otherwise cleaning between your teeth and at the gum line) are a must. Sometimes, though, it can be easy for a lot of us to rush or even neglect.
It’s a tendency that can start young, as a recent study reminds, listing some of the factors that can raise the risk of developing decay and gum disease during the teenage years:
lessening parental oversight of oral hygiene, frequent consumption of high sugar and acidic drinks and snacks, and increased social and academic demands and distractions that can affect motivation to perform regular, conscientious toothbrushing. Individually and collectively, these factors can contribute to greater levels of undisturbed dental plaque, which could promote caries [decay] formation and gingival [gum] disease in susceptible individuals via the production of acid-producing, cariogenic, and pathogenic microbiota in the plaque biofilms.
For this group, one thing that made a difference was using an interactive power toothbrush. It was found to remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
But other studies paint a different picture – most recently, a study in BMC Oral Health.
Here, 115 college students participated: 55 power brush users and 60 manual brush users. Plaque levels and gingival health were assessed before and after brushing to the best of their ability. Their brushing performance was analyzed, as well.
The type of brush, researchers found, didn’t seem to matter at all.
No advantage of daily powered toothbrushing as compared to daily manual toothbrushing was seen with respect to oral hygiene or clinical parameters. The capability to achieve oral cleanliness was low, irrespective of the type of toothbrush under consideration. Additional effort is thus needed to improve this capability.
What does matter is technique – how you brush your teeth. The general recommendation is to brush twice a day, morning and night, using a soft-bristled brush.
If it’s a power brush, just let the brush do the work for you. Move the head from tooth to tooth, outside and tongue-side alike, and then on the biting surfaces. Resist the temptation move the brush back and forth in a scrubbing motion. The rotating, vibrating brush head takes care of that for you.
And if you’re using a manual brush? Here’s how it’s done:
Finding a toothbrush you like is one thing. The other is developing a hygiene routine so that twice-daily cleaning becomes a habit, something you couldn’t think of starting your day without or falling into your comfy bed at night without doing.
Regularity, consistency, and technique are the three things that can help you keep that smile of yours naturally clean, bright, and attractive.