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May 2012
Get Your BRUSH & STROKES Right!
Dr Pradeep Reddy
So, you brush your teeth regularly. That’s how you start your day and that is how you end it. That’s all well and good for you. But still, have you ever given any
One of the major causes of tooth destruction is wrong brushing technique. So much for brushing your teeth! So, how do you brush your teeth? The techniques are as follows.

Children Aged Nine And Below
  • The scrubbing technique is advised for very young children
  • They should always use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Toothbrush with hard bristles can cause gum recession.
  • The toothpaste should be flavoured and fluoridated.
Children Between 10-15 Years
  • The filaments of the brush should be pushed towards the roots of the teeth at 45-degree angle, pressed lightly and gently without bending the filaments of the brush.
  • Brush forward and backward in short vibratory movements attempting to press into gum margins.
  • It should be a soft toothbrush.
  • The toothpaste should be a fluoridated type.
  • Brush for at least 3 minutes.
  • Push the filaments of the brush towards the roots of the teeth at 45-degree angle, press lightly and gently.
  • Do it in circular movements, which should cover the gums and tooth surface.
  • The other technique for adults is to hold the brush as in the above technique and then roll downwards over tooth surface away from the gum margin.
When To Change Your Toothbrush?
In children, it needs regular monitoring and special care as they sometimes chew or bite on their toothbrush bristles. Bristles wear out quickly as they do not use the right techniques. In adults, it should be changed every two to three months. When bristles begin to show signs of wear

Why Change Toothbrush Regularly?
They wear out very soon. Once the bristles break down, they lose their effectiveness. Worn and fractured bristles are a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and fungus. Worn out toothbrushes damage the gums.

Brush Up On Your Choice
Manual: Manual toothbrushes are one of the most common and popular types in the market. They have a plastic handle with nylon bristles that range from soft to coarse. They also come in varieties that have a special angled head to reach the back teeth easily. The handles can have a non-slip grip on them and they can also be flexible. The heads are rectangular or tapered and the bristles are either flat, rippled, or aligned in the shape of a dome.

Sonic: Sonic care toothbrushes are rechargeable and they come with a number of features. Bacteria build-up on a manual toothbrush is a very common thing. Some forms of sonic care toothbrushes have a builtin sanitiser to prevent bacteria from building up once you are done brushing. The brush is placed in a sanitising unit where it is hit with a UV sanitiser that kills the bacteria. This is the same technology that hospitals use to clean instruments. The bristles in a sonic care toothbrush move at a high rate of speed in a vibrating motion. They mix with toothpaste, water and saliva to promote fast and efficient plaque removal and they have built-in timers that let you know when two minutes are up. The biggest drawback with this type of toothbrush is that they are expensive.

Electric toothbrushes are similar to sonic care brushes but they do not have as many features. They are rechargeable and they come in versions that move in side-toside, circular, counter and rotational directions. Basically, they mimic all the normal motions that are done with manual brushing. The older style electric toothbrushes have big, wide handles and make a buzzing sound when in use.

Chewable: When you do not have access to water or toothpaste, you can use a chewable toothbrush. These are small and they can sometimes be found in vending machines. They have the head of a manual toothbrush with bristles and they have gelatine and xylitol built into them. Xylitol is a type of sweetener that promotes healthy teeth. You chew on it just like gum for several minutes and then discard it when you are finished. bending the filaments of the brush. t
Dr Pradeep Reddy is In-charge, Apollo Dental Centre, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.

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