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How to choose the right toothbrush

How to coose the right toothbrushWhere ever you shop, it’s safe to say the toothbrush isle is overwhelming and a little out of control. It might be tempting to go for the light up toothbrush, the superhero toothbrush, or 20 pack of tooth brushes (so that you don’t have to go down that isle for a while) but there is actually a lot more to the picking process. We spend over 1000 hours in our lifetime brushing our teeth, so it is important to know what to look out for when purchasing a brush. The most important factor is brushing twice a day and doing it throughly. Dr. Chauvin and his team want to make sure you have all the information to help make your smile bright and happy for years to come.

Types of toothbrush bristles

The most common types are Soft, Medium, and Hard. Most dentists recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes, and extra-soft bristled toothbrushes for anyone who has sensitive teeth or gums, or is recovering from a dental procedure. Some people simply prefer soft bristles. But many people who don’t have sensitive teeth or gums prefer firmer bristles because they believe them to be more effective for removing plaque and stains from the teeth, though that is not the case. Effective toothbrushing can be accomplished with soft and extra-soft bristles. 

A hard toothbrush bristles do not necessarily equal cleaner teeth, but they can instead scratch your enamel and irritate your gums. Over time, this can cause gums to recede prematurely. Often people assume with a hard bristles toothbrush they are brushing more of the grim off, when in fact a soft bristled toothbrush does the best job. 

 

Toothbrush sizes

A toothbrush with a small head is better than one with a larger head. No matter how big your mouth is a toothbrush with a small head can access narrow, inaccessible areas of your mouth. Most importantly, your molars.  Angular placement of bristles on the head means you can clean teeth from all directions. This can help in prevention of plaque, which can accumulate if not cleaned on time.

 

Electric or manual toothbrushes

This part of picking the right toothbrush does not come with a wrong answer. If you are brushing the right way, for the right amount of time, and have no complaints with a manual toothbrush – then stick with that. On the other hand, if you have a hard time committing to oral health, have arthritis, or do not trust that you are brushing correctly the electric toothbrush might be for you.

Electric Toothbrush: These come with a ton of technology and features, electric toothbrushes provide the many oral health benefits. Some can even enable you to improve your brushing habits. 

  • Modes specialized for sensitive teeth or gum-massaging action
  • Pressure sensors that let you know when you’re brushing too hard
  • Very easy to use, all you need to do is place the toothbrush at a 45° angle and let the toothbrush do all the work.
  • Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes do a better job of cleaning your mouth and removing plaque and gingivitis.
  • More fun to use for children
  • Built in timer that stops the toothbrush once two minutes are up
  • Reminders to replace your brush head
  • Rotating bristles 

Manual Toothbrush: While ordinary toothbrushes don’t nearly provide the benefits and features of electric toothbrushes, the technology featured in their brush heads, bristles and handle designs can be quite advanced, for example:

  • Crisscrossed, extra-long or multi-level bristles
  • Polished or rounded bristle tips
  • Textured bristles
  • Easy to travel with
  • No batteries or charging
  • Inexpensive and often free whenever you make a trip to your dentist
  • Cupped-bristle design for whitening benefits
  • Ergonomically designed handles with special grips
  • Tapered or angled brush head
  • Gum stimulators
  • Tongue cleaner pads

How often should you replace your toothbrush?

The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush or brush head about every three months. This is more because of the wear on the bristles rather than germs. 

Bristle wear is the main reasons for replacing your brush, but they also harbor bacteria. If not cleaned properly, microscopic bacteria can live on your toothbrush. After time and several uses, toothbrushes will lose their effectiveness. Once the bristles begin to wear down, they are not as efficient at cleaning plaque and removing food and other debris from your teeth. It is also suggested that you change your toothbrush after any type of illness, such as a cold, the flu or any type of mouth sores. 

You should always rinse your toothbrush after use and let it air dry in an upright position. If you are really worried about germs and bacteria, you can soak your toothbrush in alcohol, or mouthwash as it is also an antiseptic. Another option would be to dip your toothbrush in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds. Never put your toothbrush in the microwave or the dishwasher, as both these methods will damage your brush. 

When in doubt, talk to your dentist!

Your favorite Lafayette Louisiana dentist, Dr. Chauvin serves as a valuable resource for anything pertaining to your oral health. If you want to choose a toothbrush that targets your specific issues, you can ask your dentist for advice the next time you go in for a teeth cleaning.

How to get rid of bad breath

Understanding the causes can help you confidently get rid of bad breath. Generally, bad breath (also called halitosis) isn’t serious. In most cases it’s caused by poor dental hygiene but can also be caused by bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue or gum disease.

Reasons for Bad breath:

  •  Food and Drink – Strong smelling food such as garlic, onions, some milk-based products (cheese) and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion.
  • Not flossing – Small particles of food that get stuck between your teeth and around your gums. Hard to reach places that toothbrushes can’t reach. When food particles are left behind, they collect bacteria, which in turn causes bad breath and plaque.
  • Tongue Bacteria – Bacterial growth on the tongue accounts for 80-90 percent of all cases of mouth-related bad breath.
  • Smoking –  Smoking leaves particles in the throat and lungs. This  is typical of nearly any tobacco product that involves inhaling smoke or rolling it around in the mouth. The smell of a freshly smoked cigarette can linger in the lungs for hours, hence the stale scent associated with smoker’s breath

Getting Rid of Bad Breath

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • See you dentist twice a year  
  • Use Mouthwash 
  • Chew sugar-free gum
  • Brush your tongue
  • Floss 
  • Quit smoking 

If your bad breath persists after making such changes, see your dentist. If your dentist suspects a more serious condition is causing your bad breath.  They will likely smell both the breath from your mouth and the breath from your nose and rate the odor on a scale. Because the back of the tongue is most often the source of the smell, your dentist may also scrape it and rate its odor. If they find something more serious you will likely be prescribed a mouth wash to control the bacteria in the mouth.  If your dentist discovers that you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving deep pockets that accumulate odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes these bacteria can be removed by a professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

 

After trying a few of these and you see that bad breath gets worse or is no improving contact Dr. Chauvins office today.

 

How often do I need to get a teeth cleaning?

One of the best things a person can do for their health is take care of their mouth.  If you have good oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth, your dentist and dental hygienist will probably suggest professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.  For patients with gum disease it can be every three months.

Tartar and plaque form in the mouth at different rates and can lead to periodontal disease that can cause inflammation of the tissues or gums (gingivitis) or the bones (periodontitis) that surround and support the teeth. Once these conditions have developed, they can be challenging to treat. The best protection is prevention, with regular teeth cleanings, avoiding smoking and practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly at home.

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What Can I Expect During a Teeth Cleaning?

During a teeth cleaning, the dentist or hygienist will evaluate your overall health and oral hygiene.  They will check for any tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease.   Any stains or deposits on your teeth are removed with tools including a tooth polisher and a scaler. Tooth polishers buff teeth and eliminate tiny pieces of plaque. Scalers look a bit like metal hooks and are used to remove hard plaque, especially between teeth. 

 

What you can do to prevent bad news:

There several things you can do to improve your mouth’s health and decrease your chances of dental problems.

  • Regular teeth cleaning
  • Brushing 2-3 times a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Using mouthwash once a day
  • Not brushing too hard
  • Using the correct type of toothbrush

Every day, your mouth has to battle the forces of tooth decay. As you eat, food particles are smashed in-between your teeth, and are immediately food for any harmful bacteria hanging out in your mouth. Acidic drinks such as orange juice or sodas can wear away enamel over time. Brushing too much can damage your enamel, and brushing too little can allow plaque to build up. Every person’s mouth is different, so it’s important to see your dentist regularly. Need a teeth cleaning but don’t have a regular dentist? Give us a call, we’re taking new patients!

Why Flossing Is So Important

Raise your hand if you have been to the dentist and lied when he or she asked – “Have you been flossing regularly?”  Even though we feel the need to say ‘Yes,’ that still doesn’t give us the kick we need to go home and floss everyday as the American Dental Association recommends. [source: ADA]. While brushing your teeth twice a day will go a long way toward maintaining oral health, you’re not getting the optimal cleaning if you leave the floss unused in the back of your medicine cabinet.

While the toothbrush works by physically removing plaque with its bristles and the toothpaste enhances the effect of the toothbrush by reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth –  there is a big drawback: A toothbrush’s bristles can’t adequately clean between the teeth or under the gums [source: ADA].

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What does flossing do?

Flossing helps remove debris between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque.  Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar and can only be removed through a professional cleaning by a dental professional. When this happens, brushing and cleaning between teeth become more difficult, and gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, and if left unchecked, the bacteria-laden tartar and plaque can spread even deeper below the gum line, causing periodontitis.

  This expensive snowball effect can be avoided by flossing.

When is the best time to floss?

According to the American Dental Association, you can floss either before or after brushing.  However, if you use dental floss before you brush, the fluoride from the toothpaste has a better chance of reaching between teeth. Unlike brushing, you only need to floss once a day. Although you may choose to do it in the morning or afternoon, many prefer to floss at night to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. This could prevent the build-up of plaque too.

 

How to choose the right floss

When picking a floss it’s easy to get overwhelmed with how many varieties there are.  All floss types work well when used daily but it is important to know the differences in teeth and what works best for your type. There is waxed, unwaxed, tape, ultra floss and flossing picks – just to name a few. 

A few helpful tips when choosing:

  • Large gaps? Try dental tape 
  • Not much space between your teeth? Try waxed floss to slide into those tight spaces.
  • Want less mess? Look for disposable flossers 
  • Braces or bridges? A spongy floss is a good option

 

It is important to remember to floss everyday and if you need a reason there are plenty to choose from!  Maybe you want fresher breath or whiter teeth  – whatever your reason just START FLOSSING!