Polishing one’s teeth is imperative to a healthy smile. Yet as dental professionals, we see in our travels throughout Lawrence and really anywhere in Massachusetts and throughout New England people consuming products that reverse the work they do to keep their teeth bright and healthy. According to WebMD.com, tomato sauces, soft drinks, coffee, tea, wine, as well as fruits and berries create stains on our teeth that can be stubborn to remove, although too much of what can remove these stains can be harmful as well. The important information that follows will help address these issues.
How does a person who wants to eat the food they love but also wants a wonderful smile achieve the best of both worlds? New information is available to help our patients in the Merrimack Valley area understand the latest techniques and products available.
In an article written by the Indian Society of Periodontology titled, “Tooth polishing: The current status,” there is a concern that overzealous use of polishing procedures can, and often does, wear the surface tooth structure over time. Doing this correctly is very important.
First, though, it is important to identify the type of stain one has on their teeth, due to the fact that some stains simply cannot be addressed through polishing alone. Endogenous stains are those that are acquired during tooth development and are caused by factors that cannot be addressed by polishing alone. Exogenous stains, on the other hand, are those that are caused by our habits that discolor our teeth and can be addressed over time by way of conscious and deliberate polishing.
Make an appointment with Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi for help understanding this determination.
Choosing the right toothpaste: Prophylaxis paste
A prophylaxis paste is one that has a mild abrasive to help polish teeth. These polishers are effective at removing exogenous stains from teeth, but need to be considered carefully due to their abrasive nature and how that can change one’s teeth over time. In fact, according to the Society of Periodontology article, “excessive abrasion scratches the enamel, resulting in a less polished appearance and ultimately, contributing to an increased rate of exogenous stain reformation and bacterial plaque retention.”
Therefore, using such toothpaste should be done sparingly and with an understanding of the particle size used in the paste. Raabe Family Dentistry out of Denver, Colorado published an excellent index of the abrasiveness of common toothpastes which can help patients vary the products they use based upon need and effectiveness.
Choose the right polisher: Traditional toothbrushes and mechanical toothbrushes
Traditional toothbrushes are affordable and easy to use. There is no concern over batteries running out and they can be taken and used just about anywhere. As long as these brushes are replaced periodically, they are sufficient for general use, although they do have their drawbacks. In particular, one needs to be conscious of how they are brushing and make an effort to do it correctly. Generally speaking though, one should hold the brush at a 45 degree angle and brush for at least two minutes.
Mechanical toothbrushes definitely have their advantages. These toothbrushes are typically more effective at removing plaque and gingivitis than traditional toothbrushes. According to Healthline, electronic toothbrushes reduced plaque by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent when compared to a normal toothbrush. Over time, this could mean a world of difference in one’s oral health.
Patients should speak to Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi about their concerns regarding the effectiveness of their polishing efforts and choose the right product and tools to meet their needs. Contact us today for an appointment.