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How can I possibly write about proper oral hygiene techniques and not discuss brushing?
There are a wide variety of brushing techniques that are recommended by dental professionals, and any of them is fine, but I prefer the following: Use a soft toothbrush and start by angling the brush at 45 degrees to the gum. Sweep the brush up on the bottom and down on top. You want to brush ‘up’ on the bottom and ‘down’ on top for a reason and this is to prevent recession of the gums.
If you brush down on top, you’re not going ‘against the grain’. This means that you’re not brushing in a direction that will push the gum away from the tooth, which will in turn cause recession, root exposure and root sensitivity (see Let’s get to the root of the problem – parts 1 and 3).
Try not to be too aggressive when brushing. Just be gentle, and as mentioned above, use a soft toothbrush and brush in the proper direction.
The damage that is caused by improper brushing (gum recession, root sensitivity and ‘worn’ root surfaces) is not something we notice so much from 1 year to the next. Rather, it is a slow and cumulative process that you tend to notice over the span of 5, 10, 15 years, and so on.
If a patient is 30 years old, I tell them that the damage that they’ll see on their teeth from improper brushing is not going to be evident when they’re 31, but more so when they’re 40 or 50 years old.
So, if you take anything away from this blog and the last one, it’s the importance of good oral hygiene which includes proper brushing and flossing. It’s not enough to rely on just having your teeth cleaned every 6 months at the dentist.
Aside from a soft toothbrush and dental floss, good oral hygiene need not require expensive or fancy gadgets. We advise our patients to stick to the basics in order to get the job done.
Still not sure if you’re doing it right? Come in for a visit. We’ll review your current technique and assist you if necessary in acquiring the skills to retain your teeth for a life time.
About Dr. Axelrad
Practicing dentistry for over 23 years, Dr. Robert Axelrad owns and manages his own dental practice in the heart of Brampton, Ontario. Affectionately known as ‘Brampton’s Gentle Dentist‘, patients include children, adults and seniors. Dr. Axelrad recently moved his practice to its current, state-of-the-art dental office at Bestgate Professional Center in Brampton, Ontario, Canada in 2002 to accommodate his growing list of happy patients.