We all know that for optimal oral health, we should brush at least twice daily, floss daily and visit the dentist every six months. If you do all this, good for you, you’re probably in the minority (especially the flossing part), but you still might be setting yourself up for tooth problems later in life?
At my recent cleaning, my dentist mentioned that my gums are receding more than they should be. The problem with receding gums is it leaves the more delicate parts of the tooth exposed to the elements which can lead to sensitivity and other, more serious problems. Braces could be partially to blame, but the biggest culprit is probably my toothbrush and a heavy hand.
My dentist, Gregory Herzberg, at Boulder Dental Center gave me two pieces of advice that rocked my previous dental knowledge:
1. Soft Bristle Toothbrushes are Preferred
Dr. H asked what stiffness my bristles were. I didn’t have a clue – probably medium or so, I responded. I knew they weren’t firm, but I never paid much attention. Come to find out, most people should be using soft bristle brushes.
2. Brushing is a Gentle Activity
I think I’ve always approached brushing my teeth like cleaning – you have to really scrub to get everything. Wrong. Dr. H (I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him that) instructed me to work on a light touch and gentle circles with the brush at a 45 degree angle so the bristles can gently get in, under and around the gums. No more heavy-handed scrubbing I guess!
Put this all together and what teeth and gums really need is some tender care, rather than aggressive scrubbing. Who knew?!
Stay tuned for Pt. 2: Why Does Dental Health Matter Anyway?