On effective tooth care

Brushing should become a matter of daily routine right when our first teeth erupt at a few months of age. But do we actually brush well? Do we clean all required areas? Have we got the proper tooth care products?

In the present article we intend to shed light on the importance and techniques of oral care and help you decide whether you have been efficiently taking care of your teeth. If you read our article attentively, you can easily master techniques of efficient tooth care.

First off, all problems can be traced to the gum edge. This is a narrow depression aka as the gum edge (gingival groove, sulcus) at the junction of the natural tooth or the replacement tooth (crown, bridge) and a cardinal issue of oral care. This space is an excellent hiding place for bacteria where they can propagate and work their damage unnoticed. As a consequence, gingivitis develops giving rise to periodontal disease in the long run and often bringing on the loss of the teeth.

The section encircled in red is known as the gum edge, the cleaning of which is crucial (image credit: internet)

Experience shows that most people pay no attention to cleaning the gum edges (gingival sulci) being as they are unaware of its importance. Everybody is taught to brush, but more often than not, cleaning the gingival sulcus does not make it into our daily routine. Moreover, it is not indifferent just what kind of brush is used, as not all kinds of brushes are suited for cleaning this sensitive area. In order to clean the gingival sulcus thoroughly yet gently, we must use a high density soft bristle brush which causes no wounds in the gingival sulcus. If we were to try the same with a hard bristle brush, we would not get past the first one or two strokes as it would feel rather unpleasant, let alone the damage we would cause to the sulcus.

Most dental problems stem from neglecting the cleaning of the gum edge and interdental spaces. It is NOT ENOUGH TO BRUSH THE CROWNS OF THE TEETH FROM UP ABOVE, the tooth necks and the gaps between the teeth must also be cleaned (image credit: internet)

Interdental spaces account for roughly 30% of the dental surfaces to be cleaned, which includes the gum edge surrounding the teeth. Interdental spaces and interdental gum edges should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a day.

In some interdental spaces dental flosses have limited viability. This applies particularly to the hollow surfaces between molars where the dental floss tightens above the depression, which makes the cleaning of both the dental surface and the interdental gum edge inadequate. In such areas bacteria may easily accumulate and propagate leading to dental caries and gum inflammation (gingivitis). No wonder, most dental issues arise from neglected interdental spaces. These spaces can be cleaned effortlessly with an interdental brush.

Dental floss and an inappropriately sized interdental brush will come short of thoroughly cleaning the hollow surfaces between the molars. The dimensions of the interdental brush must be carefully chosen (image credit: internet)

If neglected or cleaned inadequately, gum edges develop plaque and later tartar around the cervical area causing gum inflammation. Gum inflammation (gingivitis) is seldom accompanied by pain and therefore goes mostly unnoticed, even though it occurs in one out of two people. Gingivitis is often associated with gum bleeding and gives rise to swollen, red gums when viewed in the mirror. Sadly, gingivitis can safely be said to gradually lead to periodontal disease, if neglected. Seek our dentist’s or dental hygienist’s advice on diagnosing gingivitis. As a preventive measure always thoroughly and effectively brush your teeth, paying attention to all “gaps”.

Teeth also feel well in a thoroughly clean environment. If the gum edge is not cleaned thoroughly, gingivitis develops that evolves into periodontal disease. Periodontal disease (periodontitis) brings on bone decay which may lead to the loss of healthy, sound teeth (image credit: internet)

If we brush thoroughly and effectively, we can prevent gingivitis and dental caries and the development of periodontal disease (periodontitis).

The correct use of the tooth brush:

  1. Place our high density soft bristle brush partly on the teeth and partly on the gum edge at an angle of 45°.
  2. Brush the teeth with light, circular strokes and sweeping motions and then clean the biting (occlusal) and inner surfaces.
  3. See that the brush is not pressed to hard against the tooth. Try to hold the brush as a pen, rather than clenching it, to allow for gentler cleaning.
  4. It is imperative that you avoid brushing the teeth and tooth necks horizontally and by applying force! Never move from the elbow when brushing your teeth, but brush with light, circular strokes from the wrist, in front of a mirror. This way, you can gently remove bacteria from the gingival sulci.

Steps of the simplest brushing technique: Place your toothbrush askew on the tooth and the gum edge at an angle of 45°. Clean the interdental spaces and the outer, occlusal and inner surfaces of the teeth with circular and sweeping motions (image credit: internet)

Use an interdental brush, and dental floss as required, to clean interdental spaces.

In picking the appropriately sized interdental brush and mastering the technique of thorough brushing we may also seek our dentist’s and dental hygienist’s help.

Remember to report for annual dental check-ups. The oral cavity does not only contain teeth but also a complex masticatory system involving the gums, oral mucosa, jawbones, masticatory muscles and the tongue. Unfortunately, not only our teeth may decay, but other diseases may develop in the oral cavity or symptoms of disorders affecting other organs may present in the mouth. Dental check-ups and radiography are crucial and simple measures of the prevention, screening and the timely diagnosis of severe ailments.

Annual professional tartar removal and dental check-up are indicated even in the event of:

  • sound teeth

  • wisdom teeth having been removed or never having erupted

  • no replacement teeth whatsoever

  • the amount of tartar being extremely low

  • all teeth having been removed and replaced by a full-arch overdenture

Biannual dental check-up and professional tartar removal are indicated in the event of:

  • existing, or suspected periodontal disease

  • post implant surgery

  • fixed or removable replacement teeth

  • crowded teeth

  • orthodontic devices

  • heavy smoking

  • heavy alcohol consumption

  • tumour patients

  • diabetic patients

  • cardiological disease

  • psychiatric patients (under medical treatment)

  • frequent gingival bleeding

  • chronic diseases

  • osteoporosis

Smokers are at higher risk for the formation of oral diseases, periodontal disease and tumours than non-smokers are. Smoking greatly contributes to vasoconstriction, adversely affecting the blood supply of the gums and hindering the delivery of appropriate nutrients and vitamins to the tissues of the oral cavity. With smoking, the long-term success of implants and bone grafts is highly compromised! The only viable solution is quitting, which is not only crucially important for your teeth but also for the whole body (lungs, heart, brain, veins, etc.). Be strong, and brace yourself to quit smoking even by joining a smoking cessation programme, if needs be. Regular professional tartar removal and dental check-ups are of marked importance for smokers!

If you have any questions regarding oral care products and their use, feel free to contact our colleagues who will be more than pleased to assist you in selecting the right device and will also explain their appropriate use.