Tag Archive - brushing

5 myths about oral care that you may have taken seriously

You must have heard the joke about brushing meticulously just before going to the dentist.  It ain’t gonna help improve your oral hygiene nor your standing with the dentist. It is a daily process (yes, boring I know), and the earlier you incorporate it into your lifestyle, the better the results will be. Here are 5 myths about oral care and hygiene:

  1. Brushing using more force or for longer periods results in cleaner teeth. This is not true. It is the technique of brushing that is important. The right technique ensures removal of plaque without excessive abrasion of the enamel on your teeth. Brushes that get worn out in a month indicate you are applying too much pressure on your teeth while brushing.
  2. An expensive toothbrush does a better job at cleaning teeth. Continue Reading…

Why should you worry about your child’s teeth? And what you can do about it.


Is it okay to ignore your child’s primary teeth (or milk teeth) because they are going to get replaced with permanent teeth anyway? Or, is it okay for kids to not brush regularly or binge on sugary treats without bothering to clean their teeth later? Since milk teeth fall off, most parents believe that it is okay if kids are not very diligent about their daily brushing regimen. On the contrary, it is very important for children to be disciplined when it comes to brushing their teeth. Here’s why: Continue Reading…

Does more toothpaste mean cleaner teeth?

Most people think using a larger quantity of toothpaste ensures cleaner teeth. But in reality it is the right technique of brushing that gets better results. In fact, brushing improperly, using more paste can be injurious to the teeth. Imagine using something abrasive, like sandpaper for instance, on the same spot over and over again. Initially of course you get a nice, polished surface. But if you keep at it, you may even succeed at scraping away a few layers, that were meant to stay.

That is the same principle involved in brushing. You want to use just enough quantity of paste and pressure on the brush to get rid of the plaque adherent to your tooth, without abrading away precious tooth structure. A dab of toothpaste and gentle pressure on the tooth would be sufficient to ensure clean teeth (unlike the typical – toothpaste enough to cover the head of the toothbrush), especially when you brush twice daily. This is also the reason why dentists recommend soft brushes. But it really depends on the amount of pressure you apply while brushing, level of your gums and a couple of other factors. Your dentist can recommend the right brushing technique for you, based on these criteria.

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Is flossing really as important as brushing?

sAP asked, “Is flossing really as important as brushing?”

Flossing targets areas that cannot be reached while brushing. Brushing targets all the visible tooth surfaces – labial (facing the lips), buccal (facing the cheeks), palatal (near the palate) and lingual (near the tongue).  It also covers the biting (incisal) and chewing (occlusal) surfaces. But there are two more surfaces that go untouched by the tooth brush. The mesial and distal, the sides contacting the adjacent teeth. Flossing removes plaque from these surfaces. So yes, it is as important as brushing. Since it caters to surfaces we do not see, we tend to undermine their role in maintaining good oral hygiene.

Dental floss is available at most pharmacies and stores. For those who don’t know how to floss, break off a piece of floss and entwine it between the forefingers of both hands or hold it between the fingers. Pass it in gently between 2 teeth, until you are beyond the contact point between teeth, and near the gums. You can make use of a floss holder, if you find it difficult to floss using your fingers. Take care not to injure the gums in the process. If you are not sure how to floss, your dentist will be able to show you the technique or check out the video embedded below. The wax-coated dental floss is easier to slide in between teeth. Once you have slid the floss in between the teeth, gently slide it back out contacting the sides of the tooth all along the way. Repeat this for each tooth using a clean portion of the floss each time.

Those who have crowding or improperly aligned teeth should take flossing more seriously, since they have more area untouched by the brush due to overlapping of the teeth. Food tends to get lodged in these areas that can lead to plaque accumulation.

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Conspiracy theory: why we brush our teeth?

Our mouths are a natural home to millions of bacteria. These normally do not pose a problem, until one eats. What happens then is a long story.

First the bacteria start breaking down these food particles, sticking to our teeth. This leads to the formation of a thin film called Plaque (not visible to the naked eye). Plaque disclosing solutions are available in some pharmacies which will colour the plaque. This is help you know how efficient your brushing is.

Our saliva carries buffers, which maintains the pH in the oral cavity. Once plaque forms, saliva is unable to reach those areas of the tooth. As a result of the breakdown of food particles by bacteria, acids are formed, which will act on your teeth breaking down its structure. You end up with tooth cavities, which in turn, aid in lodging more food particles…and more break down by bacteria…..the process continues.

Tartar is what forms on your teeth over a period of time due to improper brushing. The plaque, when left overnight and then not removed by proper brushing, hardens and becomes calculus. Calculus by nature has a rough surface, and so indirectly it lodges more food (repeating the whole process over again). The resulting bacterial action in turn releases toxins causing the irritation & inflammation of the nearby gums (gingivitis)​. At this stage if you get a professional cleaning (scaling) done by a dentist or a dental hygienist, it should reduce the inflammation. But you would still need to maintain the health of your gums by proper brushing.