Keeping Up With Your Oral Care
Are you questioning if you're taking care of your mouth correctly or just want to get your teeth a little whiter? Well, before you take to Pinterest or google teeth whitening hacks why don't you ask your dental health professional? Don't want to make an appointment or too scared to pick up the phone? You're in luck, we asked a professional for you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask your mom to schedule your next cleaning; most likely you need one and she'll roll her eyes and do it for you anyways.
Most of us get stuck in monotonous routines and finish tasks without thinking twice about them. Picture this: you're getting ready for bed and like always you grab for your toothbrush, slap some tooth paste on, and brush your teeth quickly while you recap your day or stress about what you need to get done this week. Sound familiar? Do you even remember brushing your back molars? Your tongue? Oh, well. You'll brush again in the morning, it doesn't matter. Well, does S. mutans sound familiar? Nope, didn't think so. While you were trying to remember if you logged off your computer at work, the wonderful bacteria in your mouth (including S. mutans) were working on their next biofilm on your teeth, cheeks, and tongue trying to get cozy in there again. Keep missing that back molar and these little fellas will make your teeth cavity paradise.
Now that you're a little grossed out, let's move on.
Let's start easy: when and what to brush with.
We asked our lovely dental hygienist a list of questions and she was kind enough to answer them and help us all out.
When to brush?
Brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes after meals. If you eat or drink anything acidic rinse with water and wait 30 minutes before brushing. Acidic foods and drinks can weaken enamel and brushing too soon can damage the enamel in its weakened state, (also consider stomach acid after vomiting, our initial reaction is to brush immediately but the same rules apply).
Should I clean my brush or replace it?
Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if the bristles are frayed (if so you are brushing too aggressively). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against using your dishwasher or microwave to disinfect toothbrushes. The CDC even includes ultraviolet devices on the list of things that may damage the toothbrush. If someone in your family is sick or is at a higher risk of infection, taking some preventive steps may help guard against a problem. Replacing toothbrushes more often, buying disposable toothbrushes, and using antibacterial mouthwash to rinse and soak could offer some benefit.
What's the best kind of toothbrush?
The best toothbrush... definitely has to be an electric toothbrush. I have seen the before and afters for hundreds of patients who have made the switch and the amount of bleeding, plaque accumulation and risk of decay has gone down tremendously. Some don’t like the vibrations of most electric toothbrushes so I will recommend to try one for at least 3 weeks before making a decision.
There is a new sonic toothbrush on the market comparable to any other well known brand. It was designed to provide quality oral care for our patients without charging them an insane amount of money. The product was then sent to dental professionals for review and is now available for purchase through a Dental professional. This company is BURST and they have designed a brush with bristles that are embedded with binchotan charcoal nanoparticles, allowing us to maintain charcoal’s natural oral health benefits, while still preserving BURST’s soft and gentle bristles. These brushes have charcoal infused into every bristle which means that it naturally deodorizes your mouth as you brush and remove plaque. As an added bonus, activated charcoal is naturally antibacterial and works after you brush to kill bacteria left on your toothbrush so it’s like a brand new toothbrush every time you pick it up! Once you have purchased a toothbrush, you will automatically receive a new brush head every 3 months for only $6 with subscription. ** Binchotan infused bristles are not to be confused with Charcoal toothpaste with larger and more abrasive granules.
"She said you can only order this toothbrush through a Dental Professional, I really don't want to go to the dentist to try out a toothbrush." Well, once again, you're in luck. Click on the link below to check it out. BONUS: it's discounted through this link.
On to Whitening!
How in the world do I get my teeth whiter?
I avoid any whitening toothpaste, they are very aggressive/abrasive and act more like a sand paper stain remover. Your teeth may appear whiter because it has removed surface stains as well as your enamel. I’ve received the best results with the take home opalescence whitening system, but it did come with moderate sensitivity. I am in the process of evaluating a new whitening system recommended to me by use of other dental professionals, BURST whitening strips. These strips are delivered to your door once every 3 months with a 7 day supply and a wear time of only 5-10 minutes, (you can also check them out and order through the link above!) Fellow hygienist have reported less sensitivity and more noticeable results in a much quicker time frame vs the use of other whitening strips/gels.
What's with the charcoal toothpaste hype?
Beware of the charcoal toothpaste, despite its popular trend, there is scientific evidence that charcoal toothpaste/toothpowder is harmful to enamel due to the presence of larger and abrasive granules. The irrecoverable enamel induces sensitivity and leads to the formation of cavities.
Okay, any last tips or suggestions?
I cannot stress enough the importance of flossing, I know it’s a task that no one wants to commit to so I recommend tying to to another habit. If you watch tv every night after dinner, keep a tupperware container of either floss picks or string floss on a side table so that you can floss while watching tv. It’s less of a chore than walking all the way to the bathroom! If you prefer to floss while brushing I recommend to floss first so that it gets done if brushing at night isn’t something you will ignore but also so that you can remove any food debris or plaque before brushing; now your toothpaste is able to do its job. Keep the floss visible, out of sight out of mind!
Fresh breath tips: your tongue harbors millions of bacteria. Use a tongue scraper to clear toxins & bacteria from the tongue, remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath as well as eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue.
Special thanks to A. Moses, RDH for her thorough answers and generosity.
Any questions you have? Please comment below and we'll be sure to pass them on and answer as quickly as possible so you can get on with better oral hygeine.