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new westminster electric toothbrush

Why Dentists Recommend Electric Toothbrush Over a Manual Toothbrush

Many patients don’t realize just how important it is to use the right toothbrush. They typically rely on the sample they get after their 6-month dental visit or pick up a cheap option at their local grocery store. To them, all toothbrushes are basically the same, and they don’t see a reason to invest in an electric version.

While using a manual brush is, of course, better than nothing, many dentists in New Westminster, BC want their patients to make the switch to electric. These brushes help ensure patients get their mouths as clean as possible—reducing their cavity risk and the likelihood they’ll develop gingivitis.

Either kind of brush is fine, but you are more likely to spend the right amount of time brushing—two to three minutes—when you’re using an electric toothbrush, says Dr. Sandeep Sachdeva, a dentist at Sapperton Dental in New Westmisnter, BC. (Manual brushers average less than one minute.)

The Key to a Lifelong, Healthy Smile

New Westminster Dentists agree that regular tooth brushing (no matter how high tech or low tech the gadget) and flossing can help prevent tooth decay.

As a general rule, our New Westminster dental clinic recommends that children up to age 7 have adult supervision while brushing. This is to make sure kids completely clean all surfaces of their teeth, even hard-to-reach places where plaque often accumulates, such as the back molars or the lower bottom teeth next to the tongue.

The CDA has more suggestions for parents to help their kids develop good dental habits:

  • Take your child to see the dentist regularly. Schedule a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the child’s first birthday.
  • Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday.
  • Start brushing the child’s teeth with water as soon as the first tooth appears. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste can be used after age 2, when the child can spit it out.
  • Watch how your child eats. It’s better to eat regular meals and fewer sugary snacks.
  • Make certain your child gets the right amount of fluoride needed for decay-resistant teeth. Ask your dentist how this can be done.
  • Ask your dentist about dental sealant, a thin protective barrier that shields the chewing surface of back teeth from tooth decay.

Whichever you use, choose one with soft bristles. Others may be too abrasive and could lead to receding gums. No matter what kind of brush you choose, be sure to floss daily.

What causes receding gums, and what can be done about them?

surrey dentist toothbrush

Overzealous toothbrushing. Brushing too hard around the gum line, or just brushing with bristles that are too hard, can erode gums.

There are 2 main causes:

  1. Teeth grinding (a.k.a. bruxism). Some people grind so hard that the pressure accelerates gum erosion. In many cases, your dentist can shave down a tooth that is causing your bite to hit against another tooth. In other cases, you may need to get a customized mouth guard to wear at night (when most grinding and clenching occurs) to prevent further damage.
  2. Gum disease. This is an infection of the gums that occurs when bacteria become lodged between the tooth and the gum. The bacteria eventually eat away at the bone and the supporting tissues at the base of the tooth. As the bone recedes, so does the surrounding gum tissue.

What to do? Depending on the cause and the severity of the problem, a dentist may recommend anything from a deep cleaning of the teeth and gums to a gum graft, a procedure in which tissue is taken from the top of the mouth and grafted onto the gums, where it takes hold over the course of four to six weeks.

What is the best kind of toothpaste to use?

types of toothpaste in surrey

At a minimum, purchase a toothpaste that carries the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) seal of acceptance, which means that it has been independently tested, lives up to any label claims, and contains fluoride, a mineral that keeps tooth enamel strong and prevents tooth decay.

If you have sensitive teeth, toothpaste labeled for this can help lessen pain. These products contain minerals, like strontium chloride and potassium nitrate, that block the tiny tubules in teeth that lead to the nerves. You generally need to use the toothpaste for several weeks to feel an improvement, as the mineral needs to accumulate over time.

If your dentist says you have excess tartar (which can lead to tooth decay), look for a tartar-control toothpaste containing pyrophosphate, which can help reduce the buildup. Some new formulas boast the antibacterial ingredient triclosan, which is often found in liquid hand washes and can help cut down on gingivitis, tartar buildup, and bad breath, according to the CDA.

If your teeth look dingy, toothpaste marketed as “whitening” can help brighten your smile. These paste usually contain tiny crystals or mild chemicals that loosen debris and remove minor stains. Those with baking soda work in the same way.

water irrigator

Taking Care of Our Teeth: Brushing, Flossing, and More

We all know about brushing and flossing… but what other tools can we use for a healthier, cleaner mouth? This is a great question and while not every dentist, or dental hygienist, may agree on what else is needed to get and keep your gums and teeth healthy I feel you should know about the other oral hygiene tools that are available. That way you can make up your own mind.

First, you must be aware that everyone is different in regard to the state of their oral health and even within one’s mouth there will exist different conditions, requiring different dental tools. Thus, in some parts of your mouth, a toothbrush may be all you will need to keep that part healthy. Yet in another area, you will need to floss regularly to keep it disease free. And in some areas, you will need to use the toothbrush, floss, water irrigator and other unique dental tools to maintain optimal oral health.

But before I get into the various ‘preventive dental tools’ that are available you will need to be aware of the fact that regardless of the tools that are available you must first know why you are using them, what they do, when to use them, how to use them, and be committed to being responsible for your own oral health. As I like to say, ‘it isn’t the brush, it’s the brusher’ and ‘it isn’t the floss, it’s the flosser’! While treatment is something that is done to you, prevention is something that is done by you! So when it comes to achieving and maintaining optimal oral health you, and you alone, will determine how successful you will be – not the tools you use.

How to Know What Tools to Use

If, when you were 6 years old, you learned everything you needed to know about taking care of your teeth and did what you needed to do – the only dental tool you would ever need would be the toothbrush. If you didn’t learn that lesson and later found that you had the early stages of gum disease and some decay, you could add dental floss to the toothbrush and if you knew when and how to use it, those two dental tools would be adequate to keep your gums and teeth healthy. But, if over time you didn’t know what you needed to do, or just got lazy and didn’t do it, and eventually progressed to moderate or advanced gum disease (which a high percentage of the population has) – those two dental tools would no longer be sufficient.

Anyone who has had bone loss and gum recession, or have periodontal (gum) pockets of 4mm or more, will need to add other tools to their dental arsenal – if they want to keep their teeth that is. The key to understanding this is to realize that every dental tool available does something that the others do not. Another way to put it is: the toothbrush doesn’t do what the floss does; floss won’t do what a toothbrush does; and the water irrigator can’t do what the floss and brush do. They all overlap to some degree but make no mistake about it; once your gums deteriorate to the state I mentioned above you will have to use all three of those tools and possibly more – to get and keep your gums healthy.

The Dental Tools

Aside from the toothbrush, floss and water irrigator, there are many preventive dental tools that weren’t available 20 years ago and all have some value in the right situation. I’ll list some of the more common ones.

There isn’t the space to go into each of the above supportive dental tools and if you are interested in them you can search the Internet and ask your dentist and hygienist to explain them to you.

Suffice to say that if you are motivated and have learned how, when and why to use the toothbrush, floss and water irrigator – most people will have no need for other tools.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t give additional support to your oral hygiene program. But the most important thing you can do is to consult with your dental hygienist and learn what preventive tools you’ll need for your own unique oral situation. But remember, if you don’t use them properly, and at the right time, it won’t matter if you have 100 of the best toothbrushes, or 5 superior water irrigators – because your gums won’t get and stay healthy by wishing them to be.

Regardless of the dental tools, you also need the support of your dental professionals, especially if you have, or had more serious gum disease. Your dentist can be of immense value to you in supporting and monitoring your oral hygiene program so don’t forget to enlist his/her support.

There two very important preventive dental tools that I haven’t mentioned and if you take advantage of them your oral hygiene program will have a much better chance of being successful. The first is a good, healthy, natural diet and one that eliminates or reduces refined sugar and refined food consumption. This is a separate topic but the more natural your diet is, the more raw fruits and vegetables it contains the easier it will be to keep your gums and teeth healthy. The second is to supplement your diet with adequate amounts of vitamins and natural supplements. These are big subjects and cannot be adequately dealt with here but supplementing your diet with good multiple vitamins, multiple minerals, and vitamin C is essential.