At-Home Teeth Cleaning in the Modern World
The world is changing at a faster pace than ever before when it comes to technological innovation and cultural change resulting from information exchange from the internet and its platforms like social media, blogs, and news outlets. Keeping up with all of the changes and separating real change from marketing trying to influence change is difficult (or more likely impossible).
The world of dentistry is changing like the world of medicine. Advances in three-dimensional (3D) modeling, photography, and printing is making it possible to create artificial prosthetics to repair or replace teeth more easily. Digitalization of medical records is making it easier to store, reference, share, and ensure accuracy of patient records. Digital x-ray processing and storage is making it easier and less costly over to manage these records. Motorized tools are becoming more precise and sonic vibration tools are making it easier and less painful to remove plague during cleaning.
Some innovations, in their original form, have been available for decades. However, over time they have been perfected. Much like the smart phone went from a 2-inch screen with a pixelated view of emails to the modern miniature television and computer, evolution has taken place.
In the world of dentistry outside of the dentist’s office, innovations have occurred, but few have replaced classic remedies.
One of the most notable innovation in at-home oral hygiene is the electric toothbrush. This started with a spinning brush-head years ago and has evolved over time. Now, you can obtain spinning brush-heads that cater to the form of the teeth and mouth with sonic vibrations to aid in the removal of food and plague. On its own, a sonic toothbrush can remove far more plague on and between teeth than a manual toothbrush. In fact, it is highly recommended from to start using an electric toothbrush around age 8-10 years old and continue for the rest of your life for improved cleaning. As for the type of brush that is recommended, many are similar nowadays. The most well-known brands such as SonicCare, Oral-B, and Colgate produce quality models for cleaning.
Beyond brushing, there is flossing where fewer innovations have occurred. Yes, there are floss threaders to help those with braces. Floss-threaded-sticks where you can floss without wrapping it around your fingers (although these are considered less effective). The “good ole” waxed floss wrapped around your finger and maneuvered for individual teeth is still considered the best option.
Going further into between-the-teeth cleaning, there are [interdental] brushes that are considered a well addition to your regiment. Flossing does the best at getting the sides of the tooth from exposes to just under the gums and shouldn’t be replaced. The brush, used daily or a few times a week, adds a slightly more aggressive tool to cleaning between the teeth where cleaning is difficult.
The water pick can’t be left out of this discussion. It has been around for many decades and some people swear by it. It should be immediately said that the water pick is not a substitute for floss. Flossing always wins and should automatically be part of a cleaning regiment. If you want to add something to your cleaning process, after brushing and flossing, the next best would be using brushes or flossing sticks between the teeth. After this would come the water pick. A strong enough model can remove particles from the teeth and manage the surface areas of the gum near the teeth to remove bacteria, but should never substitute brushing or flossing. In many cases, strong swooshing and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash is better than using a water pick.