Brushing and Flossing Why There Is No Substitute for Oral Hygiene

Written by Prevent Tooth Decay on February 22, 2016. Posted in Dental care, Dental floss picks, Dental health

Dental hygiene

Proper oral hygiene starts with good habits established at an early age. It is recommended that children ought to have their teeth brushed as soon as they appear and that flossing ought to follow once two teeth start touching one another. Furthermore, parents should start their children off early by having a dental check-up within six months after their first tooth appears or by their first birthday to ensure that they start along a path towards proper oral hygiene.

The Effects of Poor Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene includes regular brushing and flossing — experts recommend doing so at least twice a day with some recommending to do so after each meal. In spite of dental recommendations and an effort to increase public awareness, 20% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 years have untreated tooth decay directly resulting from poor dental hygiene. In addition to tooth decay, up to 75% of the population are affected by gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can destroy the jawbone with serious cases requiring surgery to correct and treat damaged areas — this is particularly unfortunate as gum disease is easily avoidable with proper dental hygiene.

Night Grinding as a Detrimental Habit

In addition to poor dental hygiene, a second issue that Americans need to worry about is night grinding. The American Sleep Association suggests that as many as 10% of adults and 15% of children grind their teeth or tightly clench their teeth at night. A professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine found that clenching one’s teeth during sleep is nearly equivalent to putting 300 pounds of force on one’s teeth. Not only can severe cases of night grinding wear down teeth, but there is evidence that 80% of all headaches occur from muscle tension; this includes muscle tension resulting from dental stress and tooth grinding. Investing in a night guards could be an easy way to avoid irreversible grinding damage to teeth as well as potential headaches.

Interdental Cleaning Tools for a More Comprehensive Clean

Dental experts state that brushing alone only cleans approximately 70% of one’s teeth. Flossing gets in-between the teeth where food particles and plaque hides, taking care of the other 30%. Unfortunately, less than half of the population flosses regularly; this can be due to a variety of reasons including sensitive gums, difficulty flossing, or just a general lack of interest. To this end, many people have invested in interdental picks as an alternative to flossing. Dental picks come in a variety of styles and angles just like the picks used by professional dentists. In addition to traditional dental picks, there are water picks that use a controllable stream of water to blast food particles from in-between teeth much like a miniature pressure washer. Although water picks can be a helpful alternative to flossing, many experts recommend actually using a water pick in conjunction with regular dental floss to get the best possible clean. Many experts believe that there is no substitute for the tight motion of floss between teeth. So while there are a number of products able to help improve one’s oral hygiene there is no clear substitute for regular brushing and flossing as established through good habits.