Tooth Brushing Mistakes You Make Every Day

  1. worn and new toothbrushesYou don’t clean at the right time of day
    If you were to only brush once a day when would be the best time? Night time of course! When you are sleeping is the longest period of the day when you are not eating, and therefore, feeding the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. As I speak to people every day, another mistake I encounter is that many people brush upon arising in the morning before breakfast. It’s OK to freshen your breath in the morning but remember to brush after you eat. After all, you wouldn’t take a shower before exercising at the gym and not after!
  2. You use the wrong brush
    Anything other than a soft brush has the potential to harm not only the teeth but the gums as well. Plaque is soft and can be removed easily. Remember, it’s not how hard you brush, it’s how thoroughly you brush. Always use a soft brush.
  3. You ignore the rest of your mouth
    Your tongue harbors food and bacteria in the tiny crevices between the “papillae” on the back of the tongue. Use a tongue scraper or your brush to get rid of these harmful bacteria. (It can improve your breath as well!)
  4. Not using proper technique
    Believe it or not, I was in dental practice for 2 years before I learned how to floss properly! Many people never really learned how to brush properly either and many dental professionals are guilty of paying “lip service” to proper oral hygiene without actually showing their patients how to do it properly. Always check with us if you have any doubts. Never “scrub” and don’t apply too much pressure.
  5. Not brushing long enough
    The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Two minutes is a long time if you’re watching the clock! That’s one reason why I’m a fan of electric toothbrushes is that they operate on a timer for 2 minutes so you don’t have to think about it.
  6. You don’t replace your brush
    You should probably replace your brush every 3-4 months, more frequently if the bristles become worn. Worn bristles won’t effectively remove plaque and bacteria. And don’t forget to replace your brush immediately if you’ve been sick! Bacteria and viruses from an illness can reside in the bristles and potentially re-infect you.

Happy Brushing!  As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about the proper way to brush. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

6 Tips to Help With Tooth Sensitivity

tooth sensitivityTooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints I encounter in the office, especially at this time of year when the weather gets frigid outdoors. Sensitivity results from exposure of the nerve endings that connect to the pulp tissue inside the tooth, commonly referred to as “the nerve”. This typically occurs when the protective tooth structure insulating the pulp is eroded or abraded away. So here are some tips that may help if you are experiencing this problem.

  1. Use a toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity.

There is only one FDA approved active ingredient to reduce sensitivity – 5% potassium nitrate! This is contained in Crest Sensitive, Sensodyne Pronamel and several other over the counter toothpastes. The effectiveness of these toothpastes depends on regular usage over an extended period of time. Always check the ingredient labels to make sure they contain 5% potassium nitrate!

  1. Use a soft tooth brush.

As mentioned, sensitivity occurs when the protective outer layers of the teeth are lost from abrasion or wear. Overzealous scrubbing with a hard tooth brush is one cause that is easily avoided by using a soft brush and gently moving it in a circular motion along the gum lines. You will remove the disease causing dental plaque without promoting sensitivity.

  1. Keep up your routine

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I give “homework” to our patients. Do it! Slacking off, i.e. around the holidays or while away at school, allows the bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids that further erode tooth structure. This promotes tooth decay, gum disease and of course, sensitivity.

  1. Make sure you are not grinding your teeth

Many of us grind our teeth when stressed, especially at night. Grinding (bruxism) creates premature and excessive wear on the teeth. This results in increased sensitivity and often sore jaw muscles. Check with your sleeping partner to make sure you’re not doing this at night. It’s more common than you think and is a major contributor to sensitivity.

  1. Avoid whitening toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes contain carbamide peroxide and frequently very abrasive compounds that wear away tooth structure. Carbamide peroxide becomes hydrogen peroxide in the mouth and promotes sensitivity. It should be avoided or at least done with professional supervision.

  1. Avoid acidic foods

Energy drinks, sodas and other acidic foods and beverages chemically erode tooth structure just like the bacterial plaque that live on our teeth. This promotes sensitivity. Occasionally when I indulge, as many of us do, I will rinse with water or chew some gum sweetened with xylitol to neutralize the acids immediately and then wait 30 minutes before brushing. Brushing too soon after consuming acidic foods can increase the amount of tooth wear!

I hope these few tips will help if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. As always, please check with us if you experiencing this issue as sensitivity can also be a symptom of other and more serious problems. If you’re not certain about your technique, please ask us the next time you are in the office Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667. We are only too happy to help. We look forward to seeing you soon!

7 Good Tooth Brushing Techniques for a Healthy 2017

Tips for Tooth BrushingStart the new year off right with these tips from the American Dental Association.

  1. Change your brush as soon as the bristles start fraying, about every 3 months, or sooner if needed. Also change your brush after recovering from an illness.
  2. Brush for 2 minutes at least twice a day. Most people only brush for about 45 seconds, which is why I like electric toothbrushes! Most of them have a timer and run for 2 minutes. That’s how much time it takes to do a thorough job of cleaning your teeth.
  3. Don’t brush too hard, another common mistake. It’s not how hard you brush that counts…it’s how thoroughly you brush. Disease causing plaque comes off easy enough with the right technique!
  4. Wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing, especially if you’ve been eating acidic foods like citrus or sodas. Rinse with water or chew xylitol sweetened gum if you must to prevent acid erosion from brushing too soon.
  5. Store your toothbrush upright and in the open air so that it can dry properly and not promote bacterial growth. Also, don’t store your brush adjacent to someone else’s, which could allow cross contamination.
  6. Don’t use a hard bristled brush, which can erode the outer surface of the teeth, especially along the gum line. Remember, it only takes soft bristles to remove the plaque.
  7. Always use proper technique when brushing. Brushing each surface of the tooth while holding the brush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum will ensure that you remove all of the plaque without causing damage to the teeth or gums.

If you’re not certain about your technique, please ask us the next time you are in the office Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667. We are only too happy to help.

Best wishes for a happy and dentally healthy New Year!