Sunday, August 10, 2014

A toothy dilemma

There's not much required to brushing one's teeth. Take one toothbrush, add some dental cleaning agent on the surface and brush away. Right? It appears, though, the jury is out on the best means to remove stains and that nasty tartar, which accumulates between, under and around the gum line.

It seems, according to some researchers at the University College London, there is no agreement on the best brushing method, or the frequency required and the amount of time that should be spent on the brushing process due to - wait for it - the lack of good research.

Thinking further, given the number of ads on television promoting the various brands of toothpaste and the results obtained, one would assume that the toothpaste manufacturers have conducted extensive research to be able to substantiate their claims of effectiveness and which method of brushing works best. But I digress.

For their part, researchers examined advice offered by dental associations, toothbrush companies and dental text books and their conclusion was that no one method was better than another. The results of the study published in the British Dental Journal, analyzed sixty-six different sources to obtain this conclusion.

The recommended method is using a horizontal brush movement with some circular motions, however, after dentists and dental associations studied six various brushing techniques, no particular method was favorite. Some brushes were held at a 45 degree angle using vertical brush movements and/or scrubbing the teeth. Have to admit that when it comes to holding a toothbrush, I never considered the angle in which to hold it. I mean, one - me - takes the brush out of the toothbrush holder, holds in one's hand, adds toothpaste and brushes away. Thinking about this angle thing, perhaps - pure speculation on my part - and on occasion, the toothbrush could be held at a 45 degree angle and then moves to a 30 degree angle and then back again, depending on the desired area in which one is focusing one's efforts. Am I right? As an aside, at the end of a dental cleaning session, our dentist gives us a free toothbrush and throws in a few small tubes of toothpaste, in the way of saying thanks for our patronage. Free is free is... Back to the toothy situation.

In as far as the length of time that should be spent on the brushing process, twenty-six sources advised brushing for two minutes, twelve sources for two to three minutes and two sources for three minutes. Again and speaking strictly on my own experience, timing rarely plays a part in the length of time spent on this task, unless I'm late for a social or business appointment, in which case it's a fast brush-and-go situation. It would also depend on the amount of toothpaste that ends up on the mirror while examining my teeth being brushed and the amount of time required to clean said mirror.

Another aspect not mentioned is whether an electric toothbrush is more efficient as many dentists recommend, than a basic hand-held brush. For the record, my choice is the none-electric model. There is something that un-nerves me about inserting a wet brush that operates on electricity in my mouth.

After all that we've been told on the best way to brush our teeth, in the end there's no consensus among professional bodies. Now what about the best method and value of brushing one's tongue? Anybody know?

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