Dentist: what are the criteria by which we choose toothpaste and toothbrush

The dentist Mariana Cărămidă explains for “Weekend Adevărul” what are the criteria we must take into account when choosing toothpaste and toothbrush

The criteria by which we choose toothpaste and toothbrush Photo source Pixabay

How important is the doctor’s opinion in our choice

“Weekend Truth“: How to brush your teeth correctly? Does the brush get wet or not before applying the toothpaste? What are the cleaning moves?

Dr. Mariana Căramide: We have to consider the fact that we can brush with two types of brushes: manual and electric. The way we use them is different. When we clean our teeth with a normal toothbrush, it is recommended to moisten the toothbrush a little, not a large amount, so that it does not lose a lot of paste, it does not make foam through which it is diluted.

In adults and children over 6 years of age, the toothpaste must cover the entire surface of the toothbrush and the movement of the brush must always be made from the gum to the edge of the teeth. Many times we are in a hurry and the movement of the brush is done in a chaotic way, either in circles or horizontally. Unfortunately, this gesture can be traumatic for the teeth and gums.

It is also unfavorable, because in such a movement food debris will rather be pushed between the teeth instead of being completely removed from their surface. It is recommended that the manual brush be moved from the gum to the tooth, respectively from top to bottom for the upper teeth, from the bottom to the top for the bottom teeth and, of course, we must cover all the dental surfaces, not just the front and the outside which we see, but also on the whole part from the inside towards the tongue, towards the roof of the mouth up to the area of ​​the wisdom teeth, which are often neglected.

If we are talking about an electric brush, we must follow the recommendations of the manufacturers because we can have electric brushes of different conformations that have different movement principles and then we must look at the indications of each one.

There are many people who brush their teeth in the morning, then do another brushing after breakfast, before going to work. Is it beneficial?

Brushing should be done twice a day and not more than once, so as not to become aggressive. If we brush properly twice a day, it should be enough. There is currently no consensus on when to brush in the morning, before or after breakfast.

In principle, if a correct brushing is carried out in the evening, during the night we don’t have any accumulations that could put us in danger and then rather, from a health point of view, it is advisable to brush our teeth after breakfast. It is more important that after a breakfast of carbohydrate-based foods, sticky foods, coffee with sugar, we clean our teeth because otherwise these foods stagnate throughout the day until the evening and contribute to the development of problems without us necessarily realizing it.

Toothpaste, as recommended by the doctor

What are the most important criteria that a patient must have when buying toothpaste?

It should be chosen according to the recommendations of the dentist who knows the patient’s history and vulnerability to oral health problems. In people who do not have a vulnerability to a particular oral condition, a multi-benefit toothpaste can be used. In a toothpaste, it is essential to find fluoride, which is the basic mineral in the tooth structure.

This type of paste ensures a sufficiently high degree of enamel mineralization and protects us against caries. So this ingredient should be found in all pasta – it is also a recommendation that comes from the World Health Organization. In addition to this basic ingredient, you might find in a toothpaste substances with the role of reducing inflammation, such as chlorhexidine, which helps especially in conditions of gingivitis or periodontitis being treated.

In the latter case, I must specify that this toothpaste is not the equivalent of home treatment, contrary to many conceptions. It can maintain the result of periodontal treatment, but we can never treat ourselves. It may lessen the symptoms, but they are deceiving us: on the surface, the gum may stop bleeding, but in fact a problem persists. There are also toothpastes with a higher concentration of fluoride.

For example, for patients who have problems with the salivary gland, which does not secrete enough saliva and have a higher risk of caries, for patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, in which saliva is also in a reduced amount, it is recommended supplementation with a paste with a higher concentration of fluoride. So this toothpaste should always be chosen individually, depending on the needs of each person.

What about whitening toothpastes?

Whitening toothpastes should be used with caution, especially not long-term use. Such a toothpaste acts chemically through the substances they have and discolors the tooth, but of course at a much slower rate than what happens in the office during a professional whitening or whitens the teeth through the granules they contain. For this reason, they are not recommended for long periods because sensitivity may occur, gum retraction due to some granules that may be too large.

The hard brush, harmful in the long run

How do we choose a toothbrush?

The toothbrush must also be chosen according to the clinical situation, but under no circumstances is it recommended to use a hard toothbrush. Many people feel that if they use such a brush they brush better. Unfortunately, a long-term hard brush can scratch the enamel, can lead to gingival retraction, and then it is not recommended under any circumstances.

If we brush properly twice a day, a soft or below average brush is enough. There are indeed very soft brushes for people who are going through surgery and need to protect certain areas or for people with sensitivity who cannot stand the touch of a brush with a higher hardness.

At what interval is the toothbrush changed?

Maximum three months. We should not use a toothbrush for more than three months because, over time, the bristles degrade, change their position, become blunt and then it will no longer do an adequate cleaning. There are people who need to change this toothbrush more often because they use a soft one. In the case of brushes that are already crooked after a month, it is a sign that we are brushing too aggressively. It is good to avoid extremes, nor to neglect brushing, but neither to be overzealous, because all these things are against us.