imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

Dental experience

We tend to brush our teeth daily, right, fellas?

If you are a professional, one of your important daily routines is to brush your teeth before going out. If your workplace has a bathroom nearby, the chance is you also brush your teeth after eating your lunch. Another brushing would be done before retiring to bed.

Recently, I had my teeth problems fixed.

Three of my teeth had become sensitive to brushing and I was wondering why. I used to brush my teeth vigorously using a medium or hard-brushing toothbrush with the belief that the harder you brush, the cleaner will be your teeth. I had been brushing 3 times a day until one day, I started to feel the sensitivity. It turned out the base of my 3 teeth have eroded horizontally. Another 2 needed filling, too, so, I needed a dentist to fix these 5 teeth.

I asked my old dentist why my teeth erode. She said that there are harmful bacteria eroding them but the capability of my mouth to get rid of the bacteria was so powerful that the erosions did not turn out black (which is the usual color of cavities).

“So what should I do,” I asked.

“You need a pasta (filling),” she said. “But not his time because of the pandemic.”

That was October last year, fellas.

Last January, I went to her dental office for a schedule. It was scheduled February.

“But I no longer do pasta. My daughter is now the one doing that,” she said.

“How much do you charge now for one tooth to be filled with pasta cement, doc?”

“P1000.”

My jaw dropped.

“P1000 for a tooth, doc?” I asked in surprise.

“Yes, sir, — it’s the effect of this pandemic,” she said. “But don’t worry. As a loyal customer, you will have a good discount.

To cut the story short, I had my problem teeth serviced by her pretty daughter-dentist. But before I exited, I had this little interview:

Me: Doc, why did my teeth erode when in fact I do hard brushing almost 3 times a day?

Dentist: Because you have been brushing your teeth too hard.

Me: What? How is that, doc? Your mom said otherwise.

Dentist: Tell me, how do you brush your teeth?

Me: I use a toothbrush with hard bristles. I brush my teeth up and down for one minute and then brush them horizontally for another minute.

Dentist: Wrong, sir.

Me: Why, doc?

Dentist: First, you should use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Second, brush your teeth upwards and downwards and not horizontally. Third, brush your teeth gently so as not to erode them.

Me: And what toothpaste brand should I use, doc?

Dentist: Choose one that has 1500 ppm of fluoride. So, before you buy your toothpaste, read the ingredients first.

Me: What else, doc?

Dentist: Whenever you feel that your teeth have become sensitive, use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. There are lots of them in the market.

I paid P4,500 for 5 teeth filled that day, fellas.

I later learned that my teeth’s case is caused by “toothbrush abrasion.” Overbrushing can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums. Vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on the teeth as well as damage and push back the gums, exposing the sensitive root area.

Brushing regularly is considered vital for healthy teeth and gums, but dental experts warn that you can overdo a good thing. The people most at risk for tooth or gum damage from overbrushing are those who are particularly diligent about their oral care and those who use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes

Brushing vigorously isn’t necessary to remove plaque.

“Plaque is so soft that you could remove it with a rag if you could reach all the surfaces where it hides,” says Kevin Sheu, DDS, director of professional services for Delta Dental. “Thoroughness is what is required for plaque removal, not aggressive brushing. You’re not going to achieve any extra benefit by brushing hard.”

Dr. D. Dalesandro said that in brushing your teeth, is not how hard you scrub, but that you use the proper technique and that you do a thorough job.

He advised:

“Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for two to three minutes to get the most thorough cleaning. The following are some other tips for brushing your teeth correctly: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum damage and wear on the soft tooth dentin (the less mineralized layer of tooth found just under the enamel) and in the root area. If you are accustomed to a hard-bristled toothbrush, even using a toothbrush that is softer than you are accustomed to will help. Place the head of your toothbrush with the tips of the bristles at a 45-degree-angle to the gumline when brushing.

Move the toothbrush with short strokes and a scrubbing motion, several times in each spot – don’t saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush. Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you’re brushing too hard.”

But can brushing alone prevent tooth decay?

“No,” Dr. Dalesandro said. “Some of the most common causes include: not using the right toothpaste, not flossing, brushing too hard, and not brushing your teeth for a long enough time. Oral hygiene plays an integral role in balancing the health of your other body functions, whether you realize it or not.”

Here are the reasons why there are still cases of bad teeth even after brushing:

⦁ Substituting floss for mouth wash. While mouth wash is very effective at killing some of the most common bacteria that cause bad breath and more, it’s not a replacement for flossing. Flossing allows you to dig into the corners of your teeth to remove build-up whereas mouth wash doesn’t

⦁ Not enough time spent brushing- failing to brush your teeth for an adequate amount of time can also lead to ongoing decay. The recommended amount of time that you should brush your teeth is two minutes; you can use a timer on your phone or something similar to make sure you are brushing your teeth adequately.

⦁ Only brushing your teeth in the morning- many people only brush their teeth in the morning and fail to do so at night. This completely avoids the purpose of brushing your teeth as, throughout the day, various substances from the foods you eat will begin to collect on your teeth. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re brushing your teeth in the morning and nighttime.

⦁ Brushing your teeth too vigorously- brushing your teeth too aggressively can lead to gum recession and enamel erosion. Avoid brushing your teeth too hard, but make sure that it’s enough pressure for you to feel a scrubbing action.

⦁ Not flossing your teeth because of blood- a lot of people avoid flossing their teeth because they see blood when doing so. This isn’t an inherently bad sign as your body produces blood flow in those specific areas to help rid the infection or bacteria causing problems.

⦁ Only use floss picks- while floss picks are convenient, they don’t allow you to get deep in between the cracks of your teeth like regular dental floss does. For this very reason, using only floss picks can cause your mouth to continue decaying even if you brush your teeth regularly.

⦁ Brushing your teeth with non-ADA teeth whitening products. Brushing your teeth with whitening products not validated by the ADA can put you at risk for all sorts of oral conditions.

⦁ Using any toothpaste. Not all toothpastes are created equal, and some have additives like coloring or other compounds that may be adversely reacting with your biology. Consult with your dentist to get a personalized physical, so you can see what the best toothpaste for you is.

⦁ Only visiting your dentist when your teeth hurt- you need to visit your dentist at least once a year to get a routine cleaning. Only visiting your dentist when your teeth hurt can put you at risk for an entire host of problems.

Use all of these tips so that you can ensure that your mouth stays in pristine condition while brushing, Dr. Dalesandro said.

Happy brushing, fellas!