One would think that in 2020, oral health has been perfected. Unfortunately, there are still many who do not take care of their teeth the way they should. Since it is national oral health month, Mopani Pharmacy had a chat with Dr Nadia Rust, from the Van der Walt dental practice in Nelspruit.
How to choose a toothbrush
When considering your toothbrush, you need to look at three key factors
“Children should use an age appropriate toothbrush to ensure that the head of the brush is the correct size. For adults, the head of the brush shouldn’t be too big. If it is too big, it is difficult to reach the back teeth”, said Dr Nadia.
“When looking at the bristles, we generally recommend a soft or medium brush. Some people prefer the hard bristles because they feel the harder the bristles, the harder they can brush and the cleaner their teeth will be. This is not the case. Hard bristles can be harmful to the gums and to the teeth”, she explained.
Manual or electric
“If a manual toothbrush is used correctly, it is not necessary to buy an electric toothbrush. A manual one can do the job just as good as an electric one. An electric toothbrush is recommended for people with manual dexterity challenges, as the brush can then do the job for the patient”, she said.
How should I brush my teeth?
“One must brush twice daily, for two minutes at a time. Brush in circular motions and brush all the surfaces of the teeth – the front, the back and there where you chew.”
How do I floss my molars?
- Take a 30cm piece of floss
- Wind the floss up between your fingers
- Glide the floss in between two teeth
- As you reach your gums, curve the floss towards the one tooth in a C shape
- Move the floss up and down, curve the floss towards the other tooth and repeat
- Remove the floss and move to the next two teeth
Are toothpicks harmful?
“Yes. It is not recommended to use toothpicks. Toothpicks are usually used to remove food between your teeth after a meal. Toothpicks can break off, which can cause gum infection. Sometimes they break off without you even knowing it”, Dr Nadia explained.
“If toothpicks are used often, it can cause the gums to recede and create an even bigger space in between your teeth. Toothpicks can chip off the enamel of your teeth and can even dislodge fillings. If you have food stuck in between your teeth, rather use floss than a toothpick”, she concluded.
What can you do to protect your gums?
“Use the correct tooth brushing technique. Make circular motions to brush your teeth instead of scrubbing from left to right. Also rinse your mouth with a mouthwash after brushing your teeth. Visit your dentist or oral hygienist for regular dental cleanings”.
Will a toothpaste for sensitive teeth repair the issue or merely numb you to the pain?
“Some brands do have ingredients that can actually build up a repairing layer over exposed dentin caused by incorrect tooth brushing, too much acid in the diet and so forth. If the sensitivity is caused by a cavity on the tooth then sensitive toothpaste can numb the pain, but the tooth will still need a filling”, Dr Nadia concluded.
If you would like to book a consultation with Dr Nadia, you can contact the Van der Walt dental practice on 013-744-3520, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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