What type of toothbrush do you need to keep your teeth healthy and white? How many toothbrushes are necessary? Do you need dental floss? Do you brush the same way with esthetic or metallic brackets or Invisalign aligners?
Continue Reading so we can remove all doubts:
a) Choosing the toothbrush: To be able to reach all the corners in your mouth and eliminate dental plaque, dentists recommend that you use a small head toothbrush (2 – 2.5 cm), with medium to light bristle stiffness.
If you have fixed orthodontics or braces, use a special orthodontic toothbrush that has bristles in a V cut design which means it has shorter bristles in the inner part and longer bristles on the outer part which allows it to clean above and below the brackets
Electric toothbrush with a round head can also be used and allows for good hygiene bearing in mind:
- The brush vibrates which means you have to leave it a few seconds on each tooth so it can take advantage of the rotary motion
- The bristles may get caught on the brackets and wire and so the toothbrush needs to be changed more frequently. You will notice from the inner surface of the tooth that with the electric toothbrush it leaves the teeth very smooth.
- We recommend that you use an electric toothbrush with timer to control the time you clean your teeth and pressure sensors are very useful and warns you if you are exerting too much pressure on the tooth and gums.
We do recommend the following toothbrushes:
Lacer Cabezal Pequeño
GUM 124 ORTHO
GUM THECHNIQUE PRO 528
b) The use of the toothbrush:
- Open your mouth to brush your upper and lower teeth because if you brush while you’re biting you will leave some teeth covered and unable to clean them.
- Mentally divide the mouth into 4 zones:
The external surface of the teeth: if you are right handed you can start with the upper molars on the right side of the cheek zone from back to front and continue to the left side following with the lower left molars in clockwise direction.
The inner surfaces: Continue with the inner surface of the teeth, when you reach the front part where the mouth is narrower; hold the toothbrush vertically to clean the teeth one by one making sure you reach the gums.
The biting surface of the molars: Using circular movements to assure you reach the deepest part of the teeth.
The tongue: A lot of people find brushing the tongue uncomfortable; the trick is to bring the tongue out as much as possible so as not to bring the toothbrush too far inside the mouth that may cause a gagging sensation.
When brushing, incline the toothbrush 45º towards the teeth and do gente and short circular motion. You can also use sweeping vertical movements from gums to teeth (PINK to WHITE). Do not use horizontal movements that may impact food in between teeth.
Pay special attention to the posterior zone of the last molars, the inside surface of the teeth (which come to contact with the tongue) and the union between the teeth and the gums. (both inner and outer areas). If you have implants or porcelain crown, you need to pay extra attention to the union of the prosthesis with the gums.
The toothbrush should be changed every 3 months, which means, once every season to easily remember (spring, summer, fall and winter)
If you have fixed orthodontics (both conventional brackets and bracket on the inner surface, i.e. Incognito lingual orthodontics), brushing is fundamental. Use the interproximal toothbrush to clean between teeth and the arch wire in a way that the union between teeth and teeth is left well cleaned.
This type of toothbrush is indispensable every time you brush your teeth. Yes, every time! Get used to using it because it doesn’t take long (a few seconds) and it will help you to have healthy gums and fresh breath.
If you have aligners, interproximal toothbrush is not needed unless you have missing teeth and your periodontist has advised you to use it. We prefer that you use “superfloss” which is a modified dental floss with a small sponge that helps clean the gums without pushing onto the gums because oftentimes the pressure we exert on the interdental space cause to produce an increase on the space between the teeth.
The size of the interproximal toothbrush is standard and the design of the handle varies from different manufacturers. There are straight ones and some has a bent 90º angle. My recommendation is to use the straight ones and the neck is easily bent with a little finger pressure.
These toothbrushes, used twice a day everyday should not last for more than a month, which means that they have to be change more frequent than your regular toothbrush.
3. Dental floss:
If you are using aligners, you can pass the dental floss in between teeth comfortably, in case that you have fixed orthodontics (conventional or lingual), we recommend you use “superfloss or proxy soft” which is floss that has 3 parts:
- At the tip of the floss there is a rigid part “Fisher line”: it allows you to pass the floss from outside (the cheek area) to the inside, the tooth surface which is toward the tongue.
- The middle part absorbs left overs and dental plaque like a sponge in between teeth and is the active part of the floss. First it is passed through the space of one tooth then after, the adjacent one using inside and outward movements like as if the way you would clean your back with a towel.
- The end part is a normal floss: with these parts you can enter gently under the gums and clean the pockets formed from inflammation. These pockets have been formed from accumulation of bacteria and dental plaque and its here where the focus of attention in cleaning with superfloss should be.
This floss is useful for access to hard to clean areas such as the fixed lingual retainer that is cemented at the end of orthodontic treatment to keep the gums healthy. It is also useful to clean interproximal triangles that you want to maintain clean without increasing its size.
Superfloss is distributed in the market in two brands Superfloss by ORAL B or ProxySoft by GUM which are available at your local pharmacy.
I wish this is useful to help you choose your dental toothbrush and knowing an easy and easy way of brushing your teeth while in orthodontic treatment (fixed or with Invisalign)
Would you like to know the toothpaste that you should use? With or without fluoride? Are those available at the supermarket any good? Do mouthwashes that contain alcohol clean better?
In the next article I shall remove all these doubts. See you soon!