Hello, how are you? We trust you are keeping great and healthy during this lockdown time.
We are still unable to treat physically our patients due to the current restrictions in place and continue to offer emergency telephone consultations in the meantime. Check out our main webpage for more detailed information.
Following up from our last letter when we encouraged you to use this opportunity to look after your teeth and gums and as promised, here are some tips to turn the volume up on your toothbrushing routine!
Brushing teeth is an activity we do every day, twice a day. Can you imagine looking forward to brushing your teeth every day?
I look forward to brushing my teeth every day and this is not because I am a dentist and I love looking after my teeth and gums. It did not use to be this way for me, I did not look forward to brushing my teeth as a child and not even when I was at dental school. That was done as a pure chore.
The fun element is definitely a part of it and the one that makes the whole difference is how great it is to care for ourselves.
Are you ready to give it a go?
Well, this is not only super possible but also very real as I hear back from many patients how much they are now enjoying looking after their oral health and some say that it feels weird, but that they very much look forward to cleaning their teeth!
- ⏳ It takes 2 minutes to clean your teeth properly
- Brushing your teeth can be fun
One warning: chances are you will fall in love with yourself even more!
I find this is super worth talking this ‘risk’, don’t you?
My top tips for you to try it yourself
Open your arms!!!!!
You may be wondering if I got mad about talking about arms in relation to toothbrushing!
Stay with me.
I notice in a lot of people (myself included) that our arms can be tight next to our body when we are brushing our teeth, especially the one we are using to hold on the toothbrush. The result is that we not only make this activity harder, we also often miss some areas as we are unable to position the toothbrush in the correct angulation to brush the teeth and the gums. The simple act of opening our arms makes the whole difference and you will be able to reach out for these areas more easily.
What??!! Yes, just before you start to brush your teeth notice how your forearms feel. We can hold a lot of tension and pressure in this part of our body and by holding tight on our toothbrushes we transfer this tension and pressure to our teeth and gums. The result: receding gums, tooth wear, teeth sensitivity.
So, next time you brush your teeth, start by letting your arms go, move them around till you feel they are relaxed.
I love taking a seat to brush my teeth, have you tried it? You take your time to brush the teeth, concentrate in each region to be cleaned, let your body relax. It is just awesome!
P.S.: make sure you can do this looking at a mirror
Order of brushing
From time to time it is great to change the order in which we brush our teeth. For example, if you always start on the outside surfaces try starting on the inside ones. Or change the side where you start, left or right. Often when we do routine activities we can get into an ‘auto-pilot’ mode so this change in order makes us pay more attention to how we are brushing our teeth.
I love brushing my teeth with my husband and I often suggest patients to make toothbrushing a family activity – I find super fun to do this activity together. Try to talk whilst brushing – if you can!
Brush DJ - Music and dance
These are fun too!
For music lovers there is a brilliant free app that you can use to play your favourites songs from your smart phone whilst it times the 2-minute recommended brushing. It is called Brush DJ - https://www.brushdj.com
And dare to dance whilst you’re brushing your teeth!
It is great to have some different flavours of toothpaste to choose from. And why not create your own toothpaste flavour by mixing up different toothpastes?
Using disclosing plaque tablets can be a fun and useful tool to do at home to check how well you are cleaning your teeth and identifying areas that we are missing brushing – these areas will be coloured where plaque is present. Depending on the product you use you can even identify if the plaque is ‘new’ or ‘old’ and it reveals the specific areas we are missing when brushing our teeth. These can be bought at pharmacies and used monthly, for example. If you find any area that shows plaque is present, make sure you do not brush this area harder, but look into changing the angulation of the brush or sometimes adding interdental cleaning aids to your oral hygiene routine may help. Talk to your dental professional about these.
Some general simple technical tips:
- all teeth, top and bottom need cleaning
- on each tooth we have 3 surfaces that need cleaning when brushing – the inside, the outside and the top one, the surface we use to bite.
Brush at a 45°
Source: images adapted from Gently/Curaden
- The other 2 surfaces on the sides of our teeth, the area in between them are cleaned with interdental cleaning aids such as the dental floss, which we will cover in another letter. Again, simple and fun!
- Brush closer to the gum line. The brush position: half on the gums, half on the teeth
- Particularly the lower teeth, on the part closer to the tongue. I always tell people that our tongue is made of very strong muscles plus the floor of our mouth (yes, our mouth has a floor!!!!) is also made of muscles and, together with the tongue, these are all very active, particularly when we are brushing our teeth and they use to dislodge the toothbrush from the gum line position. I often see dental plaque in the area of the junction tooth-gum line on the inside part of the teeth, closer to the tongue. The best technique is the ‘Open your arms’ technique above – it makes it much easier to reach this area.
- Watch out the ‘jumping areas’ when changing the position of the toothbrush. This is a very common mistake we make when brushing. Because of the round shape of our dental arch we often move our toothbrush in different directions when brushing to reach out the back parts of our teeth. When we move the brush to a different direction it is very easy to ‘jump some areas’ that do not get brushed. Great to follow an order when brushing.
- Close your mouth to reach out the back of the upper teeth. This is the complete opposite of what we would imagine doing – usually we would open our mouths more to clean the back of our top teeth which actually makes it more difficult to reach these areas. By closing the mouth, we relax the muscles in the area and have more access to clean these teeth.
Enjoy brushing your teeth!
And when you finish, take a moment to enjoy the feeling of super clean teeth and how great it feels to look after them!
Til next time,
On a different subject, have a look at our freshest blog, a very good resource during this time of lockdown:
And have you checked our YouTube page, there are loads of interesting video content being regularly uploaded!
With warmest wishes,
Maida Smiles Team