The secret to cleaning your teeth

Did you know that, each year, around 60,000 Australians end up in hospital because of dodgy teeth? Globally, preventable dental conditions cost around $420 billion each year.

So, it goes without saying that cleaning your teeth is of the utmost importance.

In fact, it could save your life.

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“The technique often recommended for both children and adults is the ‘modified Bass’,” Melbourne Dental School’s Professor David Manton told The New Daily.

“This involves holding the brush at 45 degrees to the side of the tooth and rolling away from the gum line. The eating surfaces of the teeth can be cleaned in a scrubbing motion – but this should be avoided on the sides of teeth,” said the academic, who is the Elsdon Storey Chair of Child Dental Health at the school.

“If the sides of the teeth are brushed with strong pressure (scrubbing), then gum recession can occur, and some individuals are more prone to this.

“This problem is moderated in some powered brushes that have a pressure sensor that stops the movement of the brush if too much pressure is used. Most hand brushes now are soft with a flexible neck, which decreases the pressure a little.”

Prof Manton also recommends an electric toothbrush, although he says that they’re not a quick fix-all – they still need to be used for two minutes and in conjunction with dental floss.

As far as how much toothpaste to use, he said adults need a little bit more than a pea-sized amount. Any more than that and you’re “just wasting paste”.

He says that fluoridated toothpaste is an essential part of brushing and that we shouldn’t rinse after brushing, because the little bit of fluoride left in our mouths can keep working after we’ve popped the brush back in the cabinet.

It’s advised that you should brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. One of those sessions would ideally include brushing, flossing and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash.

Are you cleaning your teeth the right way?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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