Helpful Hints for Healthy Teeth
Don't believe everything you hear about what is good or bad for your pearly whites.
Don't Overbrush Your Teeth continued...
"Don't use a brush more than three months," Price adds. "That is the limit."
If you use an electric brush, Paskerian recommends a rotary head type that you take from tooth to tooth rather than cruising across the teeth with it.
Water picks, both dentists say, can drive bacteria back up into the gums, which can lead to it lodging in other parts of the body, such as the heart. "The picks do not remove plaque," Paskerian says.
Price recommends them only for a gentle lavage before or after brushing. "Do not turn it on like a fire hose," he instructs.
Similarly, prebrush rinses, Price says, are no substitute for brushing. These methods should be used together.
Toothpaste is an abrasive, with some therapeutic additions, namely fluoride, which strengthens enamel and can shore up little breaches in it before cavities develop.
Brushing itself should be gentle, with the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the teeth, Paskerian says. Swish gently with an oval motion rather than raking the brush side to side across the teeth.
What about the ever-popular floss? Paskerian recommends the easy-glide type -- daily, of course. Since the dentin between teeth is not fully mineralized with hard enamel, don't saw away like mad. Paskerian is also skeptical of the new "paste" floss -- that means an abrasive is being pulled over the dentin, he says.
Homemade drugs full of industrial chemicals, such as methamphetamine (meth), can ruin teeth in short order. There is even a term for the rottenness and missing teeth -- meth mouth. Muriatic acid, used to strip cement floors, is one ingredient. "These drugs also cause dry mouth, leaving the teeth open to plaque, Price says. "And the users tend to be tense and grind their teeth." (Not to mention not being too picky about brushing, flossing, and taking care of their teeth.)
But even some more respectable drugs, such as tetracycline and other full-spectrum antibotics, can cause discoloration in permanent teeth if kids take them before age 10 -- and now they are finding that adults can get color changes from some adult acne antibiotics, too, Price says.