Welcome to The Best Beauty Blog’s TGIF series – which stands for “Teeth, Gums – It’s Friday!” Cheesy, huh? Anyway, this series is meant to inform and educate you all on dental health. Please note that I am not trying to be patronising, but merely entertaining with my sarcastic humour in these posts. I mean, seriously, who wants to read a boring dental manual, so I had to add some wit into the writing, naturally. It’s so me, you know!
Like, duh? Of course I know how to brush my teeth…
Roll your eyes if you wish. You may be wondering why on earth do you need to learn how to brush your teeth properly. You’ve been doing it all your life… “Pfft, what does she know?! She doesn’t even work as a full-time dentist!” You’re right, I know nothing, really. I just studied 6 years in University, got a Dental degree with a medal at Graduation. And wait, I have worked 6-7 years full-time in well-known dental surgeries and treated VIPs (no, not A-list celebs like my colleagues, but VIPs in the presidency…and got offered a job with my own bulletproof car!)… “Oh for goodness sake, not another name-dropper!” Well, yeah, I had to show you that I have had experience in the big bad dental world…but you know what, that’s cool, please click away…but before you do, have you wondered why you have fillings even with your “awesome tooth-brushing routine”? Oh wait, you don’t have any fillings? But for some reason, your gums are receding faster than Prince William’s hairline. Ooh, maybe you should read this post then!
And ahem, apologies to the readers who do want to learn how to brush their teeth properly. But I had to be sarcastic and let it out of my system because funnily enough, when I’m at work as a dentist, I still get weird looks from patients who think I am talking absolutely rubbish when I give them oral hygiene instruction!! My own father even refuses to listen to me when I tell him he is brushing his teeth wrongly!!! Anyway, let’s get down and dirty – this technique is for a manual (i.e. non-electric) toothbrush and for adults.
Do not scrub your teeth up and down then left and right!!
The toothbrushing technique I recommend is the Modified Bass Technique which is effective at removing plaque and debris to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Place the bristles of the toothbrush onto your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush in small, circular motions. Every tooth needs some toothbrushing love, so take your time and don’t rush it. Also, make sure you brush gently around the gum line where your gums meet your teeth. Move along until you have covered all exposed teeth surfaces – which means front of teeth, back of teeth and biting surface of teeth. This should take you a minimum of 2 minutes – unless you have like, 3 teeth in your mouth as you lost all your other ones.
(Finish it off with brushing your tongue to avoid bad breath! A topic which we can explore later on in the TGIF series.)
Run your tongue around your teeth and there shouldn’t be a furry coating anymore. (This furry coating is known as dental plaque.)
That’s so simple…but why do people still get it wrong…?
1. You do not need a fancy gizmo gadget toothbrush nor do you need a toothbrush the size of your fist! You want a small to medium sized head, which can reach areas around your teeth easily. (Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes? I did a literature study on this at Uni and the answer is NO. However, I have purchased my first ever electric toothbrush to investigate these claims further so will present the results to you at a later date.)
2. Some people think the harder the toothbrush bristles, the better. Yes, the better to cause irreversible damage to your enamel!! You want a soft bristled brush. “But soft-bristled toothbrushes get dog-eared so easily!” What the F do you have on your teeth that you need to scrub it like you’re scrubbing a rusty and heavily skid-marked toilet bowl?? Sometimes, when I visit friends’ homes and see their toothbrushes, my teeth shriek in pain! (Yes, they can do that because my teeth are special, alright?!) Don’t be fooled by those TV adverts where they say short bristles and long bristles and whatever bristles will work wonders for your teeth. Remember, the key is to be gentle using a light pressure to brush your teeth with soft bristles.
3. When choosing a toothpaste, you’re looking for any brand of toothpaste with fluoride in it. Fluoride is magic. It helps your teeth from decaying. And the people who campaign against mass fluoridation in water have no idea how much they keep dentists in business! Thank you! Say what? You use bicarbonate of soda or soap or something other than toothpaste to clean your teeth…? Okay, don’t come running to me when something goes horribly wrong because I’ll just turn and say “I told you so!“
4. Okay, so this is usually when I get the “WTF?” look from patients…but when you brush your teeth, you should only spit out the excess toothpaste suds and not rinse. This is because you want to protect your teeth with the fluoride in the toothpaste. “Oh, but it tastes horrible! And I’ve been rinsing my mouth forever!” – pass me a gun so I can shoot myself already!!!
5. This also causes confusion because there is differing opinions amongst dental professionals – “Do you brush teeth before or after breakfast?” And this is a bit science-y so bear with me. Whenever you eat something, the pH in your mouth starts to drop which reaches acidic territories. Your teeth are at a weakened state from this acidic environment, but saliva acts as a buffering agent and will slowly neutralise the situation…but this takes time and can be up to an hour. Bearing that in mind, what will happen when you brush your teeth in an acidic environment? Toothwear springs to mind and you can only blame yourself for stripping away the precious enamel on your teeth. And have I heard patients whinge about, “Oh, but I like brushing my teeth after I eat breakfast so that my breath stays fresher.” And I always want to ask them, “What the F are you eating at breakfast which will cause your mouth to stink for the rest of your day?” If you must, rinse with mouthwash. And then there’s my Husband who says, “Oh, but food tastes weird if you’re supposed to brush and not rinse out the toothpaste.” Awwww, diddums! Suck it up princess! Hey wait, I’m supposed to be the princess in our marriage!!
6. “My gums bleed when I brush my teeth, so I stopped brushing altogether!” I will go into more depth on this at a later date, but there’s 2 things you need to know about bleeding gums. Gums will bleed if you scrub your teeth and gums like a crazy maniac. Toothbrushing needs to be atraumatic and gentle, as mentioned before. However, if you are gently brushing and there’s still bleeding, it is the first sign of gum disease. Don’t panic! See a dentist. It is also a cry for help from your gums so you need to brush more and not avoid brushing altogether! BUT, the converse of that is NOT true. Non-bleeding gums do NOT mean that you are gum disease-free. Don’t worry, I will cover this in detail later.
I may have bombarded you with too much dental information
and too much sarcastic humour today so I think I shall end here, but please do come back same time, same place, next week for more dental advice. I believe it’s going to be a flossing tutorial. Ah yes, flossing…the activity a lot of people never do (correctly), but wonder why they have gum disease and/or bad breath!! I will also be covering a variety of topics on dental health – teeth whitening, bad breath, veneers, cosmetic dentistry…until people tell me to shut up and move on back to beauty products. If you have any questions or suggestions for future topics, please let me know.
(Disclaimer : The information on this blog post is intended to be funny, yet educational. It is a general overview of a variety of topics associated with dental health. This does not in any way imply a doctor-patient relationship. The content is not intended to take the place of an examination or consultation with your dentist or other healthcare professionals. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents you read here. If in doubt, seek your own dentist for professional advice.)