Healthy Living

Dental clinic :Best brushing practices

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Brush your teeth often to prevent oral diseases. Photo by Rachel Ajwang. 

By Richard Kabanda

Posted  Monday, March 24  2014 at  02:00
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Brushing of teeth is one of the key preventive and regular practices dentists recommend people to embark on daily, and indeed many people practice it. Unfortunately, many of us do it the wrong way. Because of this, many people end up complaining of increased cavities in their teeth irrespective of brushing daily. This is so because of poor or inadequate or unsatisfactorily oral hygiene practices.

What is the right way of brushing?
Proper brushing should actually take at least three minutes, but five minutes would actually be the best for you. Most of us, especially adults, do not come close to brushing for that long.

Also, one is supposed to brush atleast twice a day; after breakfast and supper. You can also brush or even rinse after lunch. Although you do not have to brush before breakfast if you did after supper, there is also no harm in brushing more than twice a day. Do not snack in between meals unless when you are able to brush or rinse your mouth after. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gum line, and the hard to reach back teeth. If you have fillings, crowns or other restorations, more attention is required in these areas.
The following can be a guide for your brushing:

•Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
•Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
•Clean the chewing surfaces
•Do not forget to brush your tongue as this will help you have a fresh breath.
•It is always better to tilt your tooth brush at an angle of 45 degrees against the gum line and sweep or roll the tooth brush away from the gum line.

Which kind of tooth brush should we use?
Most dental professionals agree and recommend that a soft bristled brush is best for removing plaque and food debris from your teeth. Small headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including reaching the back teeth. Always replace your toothbrush when it begins to wear out, or every three months, whichever comes first.

How important is the toothpaste when brushing?
It is important that you use a toothpaste that’s right for you. Today, there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, whitening of teeth and sensitivity of teeth among others. Ideally, the daily toothpaste we use should contain a recommended amount of fluoride, which fluoride is good for remineralisation of the enamel. Once the enamel is hard enough, development of cavities will be prevented or stopped. It is important to note that the type of toothpaste used by adults is different from what the children must use. The word “kids toothpaste” is always included on the label of the children’s tooth paste.
It better for you to consult your dentist on the proper toothpaste to use and the brushing techniques you should use.
The writer is a dentist
krdent@yahoo.com