Care and Cleaning Tips for Your Electric Toothbrush

Consistent Performance with Consistent Care

Since your mouth is a repository of various types and amounts of germs, bacteria, and food debris, it is vital that the instrument you use to clean it must be clean and safe to use as well. Hence, caring for and cleaning your electric toothbrush ensure you are mouth-healthy. Here are some tips to benefit most from your powerhouse toothbrush.

Clean your toothbrush every two days or so, but more importantly, clean regularly. This is to prevent build-up of residue and other unwanted debris left behind there after use. Though the brush is battery-charged and has several working parts, do not worry that its operation will be affected by water. These toothbrushes are made to be water-resistant.

No special cleaner is required for electric toothbrushes. Just wipe off with a towel or wash cloth any leftover toothpaste, foam or grime. Or you can deep-clean by submerging the brush head into a bowl mixture of water, white vinegar and baking soda for at least half an hour. Rinse well in warm water. Be sure you also rinse the handle in warm water.

A cool, dry place and an upright position is the best manner to store your toothbrush. Air drying is best for the toothbrush’s electronic parts.

Be sure to not expose any electronic part of the toothbrush to water even though the toothbrush is water-resistant. It can cause a shock to the system inside or break the appliance. Do not put your toothbrush into the dishwasher or the microwave oven.

Replace your toothbrush head every 3 months. An expired toothbrush head will not give a consistent performance. Bristles can break and fray after long use, may no longer align in the same direction, or are no longer of the same precise length. There are electric toothbrushes that signal you that it’s time to change your toothbrush head.

Remember that proper maintenance of your brush heads is vital to the health of your teeth and gums. Though there’s a maximum life span for the brush head, keeping your appliance always clean will prolong its usability.

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More Helpful Care Tips in Issaquah

When you’re looking for more helpful tips in oral health care, not limited to the tools you use for maintenance and hygiene, visit your Issaquah dentist at Meadow Creek Dental.

The Benefits of The Electric Toothbrush

Powerhouse Toothbrush

Have you ever shifted from using a manual toothbrush to an electric one and noticed the difference? Experts say that electric toothbrushes are better at plaque removal. With thousands of strokes per minute, they make quick work of plaque within a 2-minute brushing. So it can be said that electric toothbrushes afford better cleaning than their manual counterparts. That’s just one of the benefits of owning one.

Electric toothbrushes are “power” toothbrushes designed to do the work of cleaning your teeth for you. Once you get used to it, they actually are easy to operate. They come in different types and features so you have a wide option to choose which one is best suited for your needs.

Electric toothbrushes are easier to hold. They do not require a firm grip. They give the best and safest brushing results if you handle them with just your fingertips. As there is no tension in your hand, you tend to not scrub or apply too much brushing pressure.

These brushes are surprisingly gentler on your gums. Again, with a gentle hold on the handle, you merely let the head bristles slide and glide against your gum line. You can clean your gums and teeth at the same time. Like playing a violin, use soft and rhythmic motions as you go through the left, the front portion, and the right side of your arch, the upper or lower arch whichever you do first. You don’t scrub or apply pressure.

Electric toothbrushes are safe and easy for kids 3 years old and above to learn. Other types have their own age recommendations, as well as selections of designs kids will love, like Disney character handles and bright colors. People with certain degree of mobility issues, like arthritis, may find the use of electric toothbrushes a welcomed chore.

Some of these power toothbrushes have convenient features. Some brands can perform various technologies, like oscillating/pulsating/cupping/rotating or sonic. They come with different modes of brushing, like one for whitening, for sensitive teeth, or for gum massage, among others. They have timers, pacers, digital reminders, or Bluetooth connectivity. Truly, tooth brushing has come of age. Electric toothbrushes are all for the advancement of everyone’s good oral health.

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Advancing Everyone’s Oral Health in Issaquah

If you are interested in switching to an electric toothbrush, let our Issaquah dentist, Dr. Dipti, tell you more about which brand or feature best suits your needs.

Why Bad Brushing Techniques Need To Be Corrected

Brushing Misconceptions 

We always knew that to keep our mouths healthy, tooth brushing and flossing are key. Brushing our teeth keeps caries and cavities away, the main culprit in many potential issues that compromise our oral health. While we think we know everything about tooth brushing, we are unaware that there are bad and good brushing techniques. 

Did you know that brushing with too much pressure is not a good brushing technique?

You might think that applying hard pressure while brushing will remove all the grime and plaque on your teeth. Brush bristles are not meant to clean that way. Instead of bristles intending to reach in between your teeth, you are only mashing the bristles. 

What to do? Apply less pressure on your teeth while brushing. Make sure to hold your brush handle with just your fingertips and not by a full grasp. This will train you to not press too hard.  

Some people tend to scrub and not brush their teeth.

The scrubbing method may be your entire lifetime way of oral hygiene and it can be difficult to break. Vigorous scrubbing of your teeth can also cause gum irritation and soreness, and may lead to permanent damage. 

What to do? Do not scrub. Try to get accustomed to short, soft back and forth motion, covering the width of each tooth. Use also up and down strokes, especially the back areas of your teeth. This can enable your bristles to go in between the teeth spaces and remove wedged debris there. Let the bristles do their work.

Did you know that most people brush for only 45 to 70 minutes on the average?

It is too short a time to spend on brushing. You will not be able to cover each tooth in your mouth because you are in such a hurry. You will only leave certain areas still with debris and missing them will lead to more plaque build-up. 

What to do? Spend a full 2 minutes, at least, on brushing. This should ensure that you paid each tooth your best attention with the toothbrush. Use a timer, if necessary. You can also hum a favorite 2-minute tune. Important areas usually missed are the back teeth, so pay attention to them.

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Good Brushing Techniques in Issaquah

There are more great brushing techniques and habits you can learn from our team and dentist. Visit your Issaquah dentist at Meadow Creek Dental soon.

Replacing Your Toothbrush

Many people come to our Issaquah dentist with questions about how frequently they should be replacing their brushes. This is a valid concern, as many toothbrushes can become overrun by bacteria after a while. More importantly, the bristles of your brush are getting warped and worn out, robbing them of their ability to effectively clean your teeth. Those who are not mindful of a proper replacement schedule can sometimes do more harm than good.

Every Three Months

The simple answer is that you should replace your brush every three months. However, this number can be different from person to person. If you brush harder than most people, for example, you may see your bristles splaying every which way long before the three month mark. This is a clear sign that your brush should be retired. If you’re suffering from gum disease, you might want to change your brush as frequently as every few weeks. This helps you to get rid of the rampant bacteria that is developing in your tissues.

You can also keep your toothbrush cleaner for longer by adopting some simple sanitation habits. Remember that bacteria needs a damp environment to thrive, and so storing your brush upright to let it dry out between brushings is a good idea. For a little extra security, consider occasionally dunking the bristles in either hot water or an antibacterial mouthwash. Never microwave your toothbrush or put it in the dishwasher, as this can destroy the fragile plastic of the bristles.

If you have additional questions about your brush, contact Meadow Creek Dental.

Am I at Risk for Oral Cancer?

Oral Cancer

Part of our job at Meadow Creek Dental Issaquah is to protect you from oral cancer. This cancer makes up less than five percent of cancer cases in the country, but compared to many of the more common cancers it has a surprisingly high death rate.

Possible Risk Factors

You can take steps to avoid these cancers by living a healthy lifestyle, which starts by being mindful of these risk factors:

  • Men account for 70% of oral cancer cases, with men over fifty being at the highest risk.
  • Users of tobacco have a substantially higher risk factor for oral cancer. This includes tobacco smoked in a pipe, cigarette, or cigar, as well as smokeless chewing tobacco or snuffs.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption greatly increases your risk, particularly if you also smoke.
  • Sun exposure can lead to oral cancer developing on your lips.
  • An unbalanced diet, particularly one that is low in vitamin A, can increase your risk of oral cancer.
  • A family history of cancer can always be indicative of a higher cancer risk.

Oral Cancer Screening at Meadow Creek Dental Issaquah

The high death rate of oral cancer can be largely attributed to too many cases being discovered at a late stage. If you’re a high risk for oral cancer, talk to our dentist at Meadow Creek Dental and take care to get your regular screenings.

How Does Gum Disease Develop?

Gingivitis

When gum disease is in its early stages, it is called gingivitis. It is an inflammation of the gum tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth. It presents as reddish, swollen gums that tend to bleed easily. At this point, when treatment is sought, the condition is still reversible. With a professional cleaning at the dentist’s office and, of course, proper home oral hygiene can keep gingivitis at bay.

From Gingivitis to Periodontitis

What happens if you don’t treat gum disease?

When gingivitis advances without treatment, the disease can become chronic and develop into periodontitis. At this stage, gum pockets deepen and teeth begin to loosen or drift. Down the line, when there is no treatment intervention, progression can go slowly, or suddenly accelerates.

Due to the infection, bone weakens and becomes brittle and no longer able to hold the teeth in place. Teeth may be lost by either falling out or via the need of extraction. Loss of tissue and bone may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth. About 7.8% of those 47.2% adults have severe periodontitis. It is the number one cause of tooth loss.

Gum disease may not show you warning signs or you might even ignore those signs. That is why regular periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment options depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.

The best way to treat gum disease is prevention.

Proper oral hygiene at home and a healthy diet are a good start. Regular dental visits and professional cleaning cannot be ignored as very important, too. 

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Gum Health at Meadow Creek Dental

Every time you come for your regular cleaning at Meadow Creek Dental, we do not fail to check your gum health. The earlier the treatment, the better. That’s why you should visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.

How Do You Treat a Loose Tooth in Adults?

Loose Adult Tooth

When you have a loose tooth in your mouth, you must see your dentist promptly. When your dentist identifies the cause of this condition, your treatment will begin at once. 

Possible Causes of Loose Teeth

If the cause of a loose tooth or teeth is gum disease, you may need to undergo scaling and root planing. It is a special type of deep cleaning involving scaling/removal of built-up plaque and tartar from under the gums of the affected loose tooth or teeth, and planing or smoothing of the root surfaces. Antibiotics may be prescribed to eradicate any infection.  

If gum disease is extensive, any of the following surgical procedures may be employed. Flap surgery is one. Gum incisions are made to pull away the gums so that scaling and root planing can be done. Then gum tissue is reattached to hug the tooth snugly and prevent looseness and tooth loss.

Another surgical procedure, bone grafting, may be used if there is already bone deterioration. Fragments from your own bone (such as the back of your jaw bone) or a bone grafting material is used to repair the deteriorated bone. This helps to regenerate healthy bone to support the loose tooth. And there’s splinting. To save a tooth, your dentist uses a piece of metal to act as a bond between two adjacent teeth, to keep the loose tooth in place and prevent drifting.

Teeth Grinding

If a loose tooth is caused by teeth grinding, your dentist may do a bite adjustment. This involves reshaping the bite surface of the loose tooth by scraping off small amounts of its enamel. It removes pressure on the tooth, enabling it to heal. A mouth guard is another option for teeth grinding. The wearer uses it while sleeping; to act as a protective barrier and may allow the loose tooth to heal. 

What is the prognosis for a loose tooth in adults?

Treatment can improve the health of the affected teeth and gums and bone as well. Proper oral hygiene or use of a mouthguard can save the teeth. But if gum disease or teeth grinding is extensive, the affected teeth will have to be extracted and replaced by implants or a bridge. 

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Options for Loose Teeth in Issaquah

If you are experiencing loose teeth, see your Issaquah dentist right away. We have the available options and one of them may just be right for you. 

Adults and Loose Teeth

Read Part One

Other Possible Causes of Loose Tooth

There are other causes of a loose tooth in adults, not just the result of poor oral hygiene.

Teeth Grinding

One is teeth grinding. There are some people who unconsciously grind or clench their teeth. The condition is called bruxism and it causes erosion of the enamel surface. It can be so severe as to level off most of the teeth, in particular, the lower teeth, and expose the deeper layers. Bruxism can also cause teeth to shift in their positions. In both instances, teeth can become loose in their sockets. Facial pain, jaw pain, and headaches usually accompany bruxism. 

Another cause of a loose tooth is trauma or injury to the facial area or directly to the mouth. It may be an accidental fall, vehicular accident, a sports injury, or an assault. Any of these can loosen a tooth or two and even knock them off completely. 

Any of these conditions can lead to a loose tooth. However, such a tooth or teeth can still be saved if you bring them as soon as possible to your dentist’s attention.

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Saving Your Loose Teeth at Meadow Creek Dental

If you think you might have a loose tooth in your mouth, come pay your Issaquah dentist a visit right away. The soonest your concern is attended to, the better the chances a loosen tooth can be saved.

Loose Teeth in Adults

Conditions That Can Lead to A Loose Tooth 

Losing a tooth or teeth as an adult is not the same as when you were a child.

Adult teeth are permanent and can last a lifetime, and they just don’t become loose in their sockets without a reason. But when you start to develop symptoms leading to loose teeth, you need to see your dentist who can help you understand the cause and come up with the suitable treatment. 

Possible Symptoms of a Loose Tooth

In adults, a loose tooth presents some disturbing symptoms. You can feel the tooth moving or is wobbly in its socket. It is losing its support and slowly detaching from the gum and the bone. It bothers you while you are eating or chewing, brushing or flossing. You may be experiencing other symptoms like redness of gums, swelling and bleeding gums, including gum recession.   

So what causes loose teeth in adults?

The most common cause is advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis. Bacterial infection has permeated the gums, soft tissue and bone. Gums are inflamed, reddish, painful and they bleed. It is a consequence of poor oral hygiene allowing the buildup of plaque and tartar underneath the gums. If it goes unabated, it can lead to pocket formation, gum recession, bone destruction, and loosening of the tooth in its socket. 

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What To Do About Sensitive Teeth (Part 2)

For Sensitive Teeth

Treatment by applying bonding resin.

With local anesthesia, an exposed root surface can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces. 

Treatment via surgical gum graft.

A small amount of your own gum tissue is attached to the affected site that can protect an exposed root and reduce sensitivity. This is done If tooth root has lost gum tissue. 

Root canal treatment can work if other treatments fail.

This procedure removes the dental pulp with all its nerve endings. It’s considered the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.

Proper Brushing and Flossing

Proper brushing and flossing can prevent sensitive teeth from coming back. Brush teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush or electric toothbrush for 2 minutes, twice a day, using fluoride. Use gentle strokes, avoid vigorous brushing and harsh toothpaste.  

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Caring for Sensitive Teeth in Issaquah

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, see your Issaquah dentist and we’ll talk more about dentists’ recommendations and home tips.