Very often we hear phrases like: – “My grandmother never brushed her teeth, but she is 89 years of age and all of her teeth are still intact”, or “Why should I brush my teeth? If I have a toothache, I will simply remove it and replace it with denture”. Of course, every person has the right to do as he/she wishes, when it comes to personal health and health of the teeth, but we shouldn’t forget, that caries besides harming teeth it can harm internal organs and dull immunity function.
From time immemorial men were concerned with oral cavity hygiene. For example, 1.8 mln years ago primitive men instead of toothpick used grass or tree sticks. Later they started using bronze and gold.
Majority of population limit dental care to 30 second light tooth brushing. Almost everybody does this twice a day. But after stomatologist visit, they are very surprised to learn that they have caries, plaque and other dental problems. Didn’t they do everything to avoid these problems?!
Anyway, why brushing your teeth is necessary? After every meal food particles remain on the teeth and plaque is developed. Every gram of plaque contains millions of microbes. They feed on carbohydrates and produce acid, which leads to caries. Therefore, every time we brush teeth, we reduce risk of caries development.
Nowadays, there is a very big choice of hygiene solutions available in the market. Most important of all was and is toothbrush. Modern toothbrush is a highly technological product, made of various synthetic materials.
Every toothbrush has anatomically shaped handle and bristles, which are situated so that cleaning is most effective. There are manual and electric toothbrushes. Circular and directed movements simplify cleaning process and quality of hygiene increases twofold.
One of electric toothbrushes types is ultrasound toothbrushes. Its cleaning ability is based on 150-1600000 Hz frequency vibrations of the toothbrush head. At 1600000Hz frequency bacteria chain in the plaque is broken. At 150Hz frequency weakly pegged plaque is whisked and washed away. Use of such toothbrushes is recommended for people, concerned with their lifted teeth, because they do not apply any mechanical pressure. Toothbrush is the mean of individual hygiene and should be chosen individually for particular person upon careful consideration of his/her individual peculiarities.
Toothbrush, manual or electric, should be replaced once in 2-3 months. In case of electric toothbrush only working tips may be replaced. All above-mentioned is related to microbe deposit on the bristles, which increases over time. That can produce undesired results.
Following means of hygiene are able to clean interproximal areas between teeth. No matter how good is our toothbrush, it cannot reach areas, which can be reached by dental floss and special interproximal bristles.
Dental floss is an additional mean of oral cavity care. We use toothbrush to brush teeth, but it only cleans 3 out of 5 surfaces. No matter how we brush our teeth, toothbrush simply cannot reach interproximal areas. Dental floss was invented especially for cleaning of those areas. With help of dental floss we can clean those hard to reach areas, where most of food particles and plaque are accumulated. It needs to be noted that in case of insufficient hygiene lateral surface of the teeth is the most likely area of caries development. Besides this breach of hygiene may cause irritation of gum nipple, gingivitis and all related to it complications.
All dental floss are different from one another. First of all they can be made of artificial or natural materials. Natural material is silk and artificial is, basically, nylon, fosta nylon or acetate.
Classification of dental floss
1. By shape
- Round (used for wide spaces)
- Flat (narrow spaces)
- Ribbonlike (diastems and trema)
2. By surface finish
- Waxen (finished with wax, which makes it easier for floss to get in between teeth)
- Non-waxen (for better cleaning)
3. By saturation
- Saturated – for hygienic and medicinal prevention measures (enamel enforcing by adding sodium fluoride). Menthol, for pleasant aroma.
4. By use
- Individual use
- Stomatologist use
There is a separate group of dental floss, so called “Super-floss”, which is used during parodentium diseases and cleaning of orthopaedic designs, such as: bridges and crowns. Flossing is recommended after every meal, but since it is almost impossible, we recommend it at least before sleep.
How to use floss?
- Pull out 30-40cm of floss and cut it off with the blade on the box.
- Substantial part of floss must be spooled on the left hand long finger
- Smaller part must be spooled on the right hand long finger so that you have 10cm of floss left between fingers.
- Stretch floss with thumbs and index fingers and carefully insert floss into interproximal areas between teeth.
- Cleaning is performed towards the tip of cutting teeth or molars from bottom to top or top to bottom, in case of upper jaw.
Before we start using floss, we need to know that wrong usage may be harmful for gums. To avoid trauma it is better to consult your stomatologist, who will explain and teach how to use dental floss.
Remember not to use worked up surface on other teeth. 40cm of floss can be distributed evenly amongst all your teeth.
An interproximal area bristles
Interproximal bristles are used for cleaning of wide spaces between teeth; non-removable dentures and implants; spaces between orthodontal designs. Interproximal bristles have small conoid or cylindrical shape. It, also, acts as gum massager.
During oral cavity care we should not forget about cleaning the tongue. Tongue has relief surface, which accumulates deposit. This may become the cause of unpleasant smell. There are special brushes for tongue cleaning – tongue brushes.
Tongue cleaning procedure is conducted after brushing teeth. Tongue cleaning is especially advisable for smokers, during tongue mucous tunic diseases (“hairy tongue”) and during deep cuts on the tongue surface.
An interproximal area stimulators
Interproximal stimulators are made of soft plastic or rubber and have conoid shape. These hygienic devices not only remove plaque from interproximal areas between teeth, but, also, massage gums. They are used during gum diseases (gingivitis, periodontitis) and in case of big interproximal areas between teeth.
It needs to be noted that we have to take care of our natural teeth as well as dentures. Attention should be drawn to the fact that dentures require more care, since oral cavity hygiene during use of prosthetics is disturbed. Orthodontal designs and bracket systems may be cleaned with all above-mentioned devices, special super flosses and, so called, irrigators.
Irrigator is another representative of hygienic devices. It combines features of oral cavity shower and hydro-massager. Irrigator creates water of medical liquid jet, which completely removes food remains from natural teeth and dentures, as well as bracket systems. Due to irrigator’s massage effect, it is desirable to use it as preventive tool and medical treatment of gum diseases.
No matter how magical your toothbrush is, you cannot brush your teeth without toothpaste. Before toothpaste was invented, humanity used different kinds of substances, such as: ashes, ground mollusk shells, chalk. These means of hygiene did more harm than good.
Finally, dentifrice was invented in 18th century and in 1850 first toothpaste appeared. It was created by American Dr. Washington Sheffield of Kentucky. It was a very primitive paste, but it revolutionized war on caries. Dr. Sheffield’s work was continued by Mr. Colgate, who in 1896 patented the toothpaste packaged in collapsible tubes. Since then toothpaste went through numerous positive changes and became principle mean of hygiene. Modern toothpaste consists of multitude of components, amongst which are abrasive, filler and active elements (fluorides, calcium compounds and so on).
There are following types of toothpaste: hygienic, medico-prophylactic and medicinal. Majority of toothpaste available in the market is hygienic.
During tooth brushing abrasive components of toothpaste remove dental deposits, while superficial substances produce foam, which absorbs brushed off deposits. By its properties toothpaste may be prophylactic and medicinal for teeth and gums. Selection of toothpaste depends on overall condition of the oral cavity. Your stomatologist will help you with the choice.
Mouthwash, used after tooth brushing, intensifies hygienic and prophylactic effect of the toothpaste. With help of mouthwash we remove dental plaque, unreachable for toothbrush. Active elements, contained in a mouthwash help us to maintain our teeth and gums in good health.
Individual hygiene of the oral cavity (cleaning teeth) is the most obtainable and effective method of caries prevention. Correct us of high quality toothpaste and toothbrush will help you in reduction of stomatologist visits.