Are you using the right toothbrush? What about toothpaste? When it comes to dental care, how, how often, and how long you brush your teeth also matters. PHOTO| FILE
Are you using the right toothbrush? What about toothpaste? When it comes to dental care, how, how often, and how long you brush your teeth also matters.
When choosing a toothbrush, bristles are the main factor you should consider.
Choose a toothbrush with soft or medium-soft bristles, since they spread easily during brushing - stiff or hard bristles can cause abrasions in your gums.
The shape and size of the tooth brush should fit well in your mouth, to allow you to reach every corner of the mouth with ease.
It is also important to replace your tooth brush every six months. This is recommended because with time, the bristles bend, making them less effective at cleaning.
Additionally, a tooth brush gets dirty over time, since it is not being sterilised, and therefore needs to be changed frequently to avoid passing on infection.
When it comes to toothpaste, buy one that contains fluoride – fluoride gets rid of plaque. Besides, it also strengthens the tooth enamel and protects teeth from decay.
A dentist can recommend suitable toothpaste in case you have sensitive teeth.
Flossing is also important since it helps remove plaque and food particles stuck between the teeth and below the gum line, where a toothbrush cannot reach.
Dental floss is simply a thin, soft thread made of plastic or nylon material. It may come flavoured, unflavoured, waxed, unwaxed, wide or regular in size.
Whichever type you choose, the degree of cleanliness and effectiveness at removing the plaque is the same as long as you use it in the right way. If you have bigger spaces between your teeth, wider floss will work well for you.
However, for those with closely spaced teeth, narrow floss is easier to use. Also, waxed floss is best for closely packed teeth, since it glides in easily.
Mouth washes or rinses
Before you start using a mouthwash or mouth rinse, it is important that you understand what exactly it does.
Some mouth washes contain fluoride, which offers anti-cavity advantage; some have ingredients that kill germs, and therefore prevent formation of plaque; while some freshen breath.
However, according to Dr Johnson Wambugu, a dentist, mouth washes are not really necessary, and are just used as an aid.
If you brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and go for regular dental checkups, then you do not need mouth wash, which is often expensive.
A dentist may however recommend mouth wash in some cases; for example after surgery, to remove plaque, or if one has gum disease.
Care should be taken when using mouthwashes because some cause tooth discolouration if used for long. Some also contain alcohol.
Of course, this type of mouth wash may not be right for children if you are buying for family use. For those who want a mouthwash that prevents plaque formation, choose one that contains anti-plaque ingredients.