COCHRANE— One of the most important and often underrated aspects of health care is proper oral hygiene.
The most common causes that bring patients of all ages to the dentist’s office are inflamed gums, sensitive teeth and cavities, said Dr. Adeel Tahir of Absolute Dental Care. The root of all these issues is often the result of poor oral care, especially with youth.
To combat these issues, and have nice clean teeth, Tahir recommends a couple of things, the first is using an electric toothbrush.
“They don't need to get one of those fancy $400 ones. If they get one of those $40 or $50 ones, it's still a little pricey, but they work very well. And with proper brushing technique, like gentle pressure and sweeping away from the gum, that is one good way of helping reduce inflammation and cavities.”
An electric toothbrush is recommended over a manual one for its ease of use and efficiency at cleaning.
“The problem when you use a manual [brush] is the technique. Brushing, as much as people don't think about it, can be technique sensitive.”
Tahir said the human psyche is that the harder we scrub or the more pressure we put on something, the cleaner it is.
This is not the case when it comes to teeth— Over time you may wear your enamel down and that can lead to gum recession over time.
"The electric toothbrush if used properly, you just allow it to brush your teeth on its own and it can get into some of the harder-to-reach places that are a little tricky to get with a manual toothbrush.”
Regular flossing should be done at least once a day and is key to maintaining a healthy mouth. Flossing combined with brushing, ideally after every meal, can help keep you on top of your oral hygiene.
“If you are after every meal, it will be fantastic, but a lot of times people don't carry around their toothbrush or floss. If you can at least do brushing once in the morning, once in the evening, ideally, that'd be great,” Tahir said.
For those whose gums are bothered by flossing or their teeth are too tight, Tahir suggests using a Waterpik.
“It's a little expensive, but we see great results with it. It's almost like a mini water gun,” Tahir said. “You just put the little tip between your teeth and you press the button and then can squirt water out. It's a little messy, but it's very effective in making sure that you keep not just food out but also bacteria.”
The reason why flossing is so important, Tahir said, is the bacteria cultivates quickly and flossing keeps the build-up of bacteria at bay.
With all the different brands and uniquely marketed oral care products on the shelves, buyers can relax a bit knowing all brands are equal and it comes down to a matter of preference and comfort according to Tahir.
“I've used several different types of brands. And for me, my personal preference was about the same to me, they all work. Some people prefer one brand over the other. It's a matter of comfort level ... I always tell patients, listen, if you want to get those heavy-duty brushes, those really good ones you can, if you want to get those cheap $5 or $10 ones you can but they don’t last as long. That's why we say it's a happy medium. And that usually works well,” he said.
Alongside routine brushing and flossing, making frequent visits to your dentist can keep your oral health on track.
Tahir suggests visiting the dentist at least twice a year as it is not just to get the teeth and the gums cleaned but also to be assessed for oral health in general.
“Some people, their mouth can change within months, you chipped a tooth or you suddenly feel sensitive somewhere or you suddenly have ulcers, it's not just coming to get your teeth clean.”
Even with the current pandemic, it is important to maintain good oral health in order to prevent other issues from arising in the future.
Along with other dentist offices province-wide, Absolute Dental Care in Cochrane is following strict COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of their doctors and patients.
Precautions such as the staff wearing personal protective equipment and taking patient's temperatures being taken are just some of the protocols in place to make your next dentist visit as safe as possible.
“The biggest thing is if anybody's sick, whether it's a dentist, a staff member, a patient, anybody feeling any type of sick or even remotely, then we suggest you stay home.”