Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Brush Your Teeth

I went to the dentist for a regular cleaning and checkup the other day and learned something new. Maybe I'm just slow, but I never really understood about plaque and tartar. The hygienist said that my gums on one side a receded a bit, and she asked if I have been using a hard toothbrush. I told her that I used soft. She said that if you brush too hard, you can damage your gums. I always thought the opposite. I thought that flossing and brushing actually strengthened your gums. She said that plaque is very soft, and could actually be wiped off with a kleenex. If you brush softly, it will come off. But if you leave it on, it eventually hardens and becomes tartar. She said that tartar cannot be brushed off, no matter how hard you try. So there is no need to brush too hard.

My brother told me that he has worn some of the enamel off of his teeth from brushing too hard. That's a little scary, considering you can't get that back. I think it's far better to brush softly, more often, than to try to "scrub" your teeth hard once or twice a day.

The other thing the hygienist told me, that I already knew, but she said it in a new way, was that the soft plaque gets down in between your teeth, so you need to floss to get it out. When you think about leaving the plaque on the outer surfaces of your teeth, it may seem gross. But if you leave it in between your teeth, it's just as gross. That's kind of a new incentive to floss regularly.

So in a nutshell, brush regularly, and floss regularly, but don't be too agressive. A little bit will go a long way. Which goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Excuse me while I go floss my canines.


Rummuser said...

Nothing like being old enough to be fitted with dentures!

Ursula said...

Delirious, NOW you are telling me.

About three weeks ago whilst brushing my teeth with one of those best of German engineering torture instruments driven by batteries I got lost in time. Drifting away on my thoughts I did about five minutes of (vigorous) brushing instead of the prescribed two. I can't tell you. I never knew I had gums. Oh, do I have gums. Dentist told me by my not keeping an eye on the clock I had caused trauma to my gums. Trauma? Well, let's just call it pain. Two and half weeks I could barely swallow water. I - who never ever takes painkillers - practically lived on them. Had no choice. Now, oh the bliss, Delirious, I am back to normal. It is quite wonderful to be back to square one.

Never, ever again. I now set my alarm to wake me should I descend into reverie whilst brushing, losing track of time.


Delirious said...

Oh Ursula, I could almost feel the gum pain as I read. How miserable! I'm glad they are healed now. I never even thought about the problem with using an electric toothbrush too long!

Rocky Mountain Endodontics said...

This is really great advice! Better to listen to it that not. I think that electronic toothbrushes are better used by those with disabilities and limited mobility.