Two minutes. Twice a day. Lifetime implications.

[intro-text]Brushing your teeth – you do this every day. For two minutes. Twice a day.[/intro-text]

But are you using this time to your best advantage? Or are you simply going through the motions and think this won’t matter? What I’m talking about? Brushing your teeth of course! These two minutes are more important than you realise, an improvement in oral hygiene has caused many changes in dentistry.brushing your teeth

The biggest change in the world of teeth and dentistry in the last 20 years is not what you would expect. It’s not implants, not white fillings and most certainly not Hollywood smiles for everyone. It is in fact that people now EXPECT to keep most of their own teeth for life..and guess what? That can be getting close to 100 years in this day and age!

Today keeping your teeth for life is achievable and that is the biggest change. People are keeping their teeth healthier and for a lot longer, as proportion of their live and for a greater number of lifetime years. While most of today’s younger generation have grandparents with dentures, when that generation become grandparents themselves, those with dentures should be in the tiniest minority.

So what has changed?

In over thirty years in dentistry, what do I see different today?

  • Far more people 65 and over with their own teeth still in place, albeit, usually with a lot of ‘heavy dentistry’
  • More people up to their late thirties with minimal dentistry as it was simply not needed
  • Far more aesthetic smiles in general
  • More people using electric toothbrushes
  • And far better oral hygiene in general

There is no doubt that these changes have occurred from a change in attitude in that it is now regarded that caring for your teeth is of upmost importance and therefore a change in how teeth are looked after has happened, resulting in a vastly improved level of oral hygiene.  Education, motivation, fear (eg. of losing teeth) and better home care techniques produces more effective plaque removal which quite simply keeps teeth and gums healthier. The fact that this results in fresh breath, more attractive teeth and less need for advanced dentistry is a very nice side benefit!

What should your home hygiene involve? What could you do to make it better and improve your oral health?

Do electric toothbrushes make a difference? If so, are more expensive models better?

In my opinion, good electric toothbrushes DO make a difference. Why? Because, if used properly, they take less time and effort than using a manual toothbrush with the correct technique. Doubting young woman choosing between old and electric toothbrushIt is easier to the job properly with a decent electric toothbrush, than by meticulously and patiently rotate your wrist with a manual brush. The good ones are effective and at this time the market is really dominated by the ‘mechanical’ Braun Oral B or the ‘ultrasonic’ Philips Sonicare models. Within either make they all do the basic cleaning the same way. That means the more expensive models in a brand range have a large degree of pretty useless add ons, for which you pay a lot more. Like with most technology such as mobile phones and cars, the manufacturers keep upgrading their products, (with corresponding increases in prices) to give you functions you may not really need or even use!

So get a good, not an overly complicated or expensive, toothbrush and make sure you get your dentist or hygienist to actually show you in your own mouth HOW to use it properly and thereafter monitor your effectiveness at your six monthly dental check-up!

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