When I was a dentist everybody had questions about something they did every day. Cleaning of teeth.
I can answer some of these questions by saying how I clean my teeth.
Dental plaque is a mixture of bacteria that live on teeth. Cleaning of teeth involves physically removing these bacteria. When I clean my teeth I never remove every single bacteria. As soon as I stop my cleaning they start to grow back and repopulate my teeth. When I clean my teeth regularly there are less bacteria living on my teeth.
When cleaning my teeth I am happy not to remove every single bacteria. My mouth is like my skin. It needs commensal bacteria. They help keep pathogenic bacteria away. I need them and they need me. Symbiosis. This reservoir of plaque will remain and repopulate the teeth. Good cleaning involves removing most of the plaque. Good cleaning also means my teeth will look and smell better.
Most native or pet animals don’t clean their teeth. This doesn’t mean cleaning of teeth is not necessary. Most animals if they live long enough and eat food similar to us will develop the same dental diseases. They will develop gum disease with pain, infection and loss of function-in wallabies it is called lumpy jaw. They will also get holes in my teeth. The amount of decay will depend on their diet.
I can clean my teeth with a manual toothbrush but I use an electric toothbrush. Using an electric toothbrush does the job better. Electric tooth brushes are not a mysterious marketing stunt. I can clean well without one but they do the job better. An electric toothbrush is especially useful for someone with hand, muscle or dental problems where routine cleaning is difficult.
Your dentist will be able to tell you if your cleaning is appropriate. If you want to check for yourself plaque disclosing tablets are a good guide. They will color the plaque and make it more visible and the occasional use is interesting and helpful.
I clean between my teeth with floss or inter-dental brushes once a day. Once a day because it takes 24 hours for the bacteria to return. I brush twice a day because they feel better, look better and every time I clean I miss different bits.
I brush my teeth after breakfast and after dinner. Not directly after drinking or eating something acidic. Acidic liquid will soften the tooth and brushing will remove the outer layer. To prevent this loss of enamel I swish with a spoonful of plain yoghurt.
If my tongue seem especially furry I will clean it at the same time. It will decrease the total number of bacteria in my mouth. It may decrease any halitosis or decrease the reservoir of bacteria which recolonise teeth.
When you visit a dentist there is one thing you can’t hide. How well you clean your teeth. You may get it right in every area every day. It is more likely you will under clean certain areas and over clean certain areas.
Excessive cleaning can led to loss of the outer layer of tooth and loss of gum. The resulting tooth often appears longer and is more sensitive.
Excessive cleaning (toothbrush abrasion) occurs when a toothbrush is used with toothpaste. It doesn’t occur with a toothbrush without toothpaste. To manage toothbrush abrasion clean without toothpaste. And then rinse your mouth with toothpaste or a mouth-rinse.
It is the toothbrush that cleans teeth. Not the toothpaste. I use toothpaste because I like the taste. I brush with a routine bought toothpaste. I no longer receive free samples. I don’t rinse the toothpaste off. I spit out the excess.
I use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a natural and organic element which decreases tooth decay. Toothpastes containing fluoride are good for your teeth when in contact with your teeth. The longer in contact with your teeth the better.
Studies have shown that brushing with a fluoride toothpaste followed by no rinsing leds to less decay. There are toothpastes contain a higher amount of fluoride. Indicated for people with a high rate of decay. A dentist will advise you and tell you if indicated.
There are other toothpastes which are good for very sensitive teeth or which bleach teeth. The longer the teeth and toothpaste are in contact the more the paste will work. Therefore don’t rinse after brushing.
And to answer your other question. I became a dentist because…