I am no fan of routine, and I am usually not very good at following one.
But if there is one routine I do my very best to stick to, it is brushing my teeth.
I figured this would keep me safe from dental woes.
This misplaced faith in my tooth-brushing skills was exposed when I recently suffered from a terrible case of toothache.
The pain was indescribable.
All I can say is, it was among the top three most painful experiences I have ever had.
When I went to my dentist, he told me that a cavity had been slowly developing in one of my teeth, and an infection was now gradually reaching the pulp.
I asked, “Why? What had I done to deserve this suffering? I brush my teeth religiously, don’t I?”
My dentist replied, “You have too much plaque build-up, and it might mean that you are not brushing your teeth properly.”
Upon reflection, I have to admit that most of the time, I simply brush the bristles of my toothbrush over my teeth without much care or concern.
As long as the foam forms and my mouth smells fresh, I consider it a job well done.
After getting rid of my tooth troubles, my dentist took me back to basics and taught me how to brush my teeth properly.
As toothaches are terrible and no one should have to go through them (ever), I am now sharing these pearls of wisdom to help others keep their pearly whites in the pink of health.
Why you should brush your teeth properly
To begin, if you do not know what plaque is, run your tongue over your teeth.
If you get this ‘fuzzy’ feeling on the surface of your teeth, that is it — plaque.
Plaque is a sticky, colourless biofilm formed out of bacteria and sugars that develop on your teeth.
Do not be alarmed, though. Having plaque in your mouth is normal.
However, the problem arises when the bacteria lingers in the mouth and continuously feeds on the sugars that come through as part of your diet.
As the bacteria feasts, they produce harmful chemicals which attack the enamel of your teeth.
The enamel is the hardy, outermost layer of your teeth that protects the more fragile layers within.
Over time, the chemicals produced by bacteria can wear down the enamel of your teeth.
If the plaque is not removed, the chemicals will continue to wear through the inner layers of your teeth.
This will lead to cavities, and leaves your teeth susceptible to more serious dental problems, such as infections that come with deathly toothaches.
Apart from cavities, plaque that is not removed will also cause gum problems and bad breath.
Preventing plaque build-up
To prevent all of these terrible dental disasters, here are some things you can do.
1. Brush your teeth the right way
As mentioned, there is actually a right way to brush your teeth.
Brushing your teeth regularly helps to get rid of plaque, preventing it from building up and causing all sorts of dental issues.
Here’s a short video that demonstrates the correct method:
2. Choose your toothpaste wisely
Another thing you can do to avoid plaque build-up is to pick the right kind of toothpaste.
While I am usually suspicious of the properties advertised about toothpastes, my dentist assured me that toothpastes do indeed help maintain dental health.
For one, the fluoride that is often found in toothpaste does indeed protect teeth enamel and prevent tooth decay, my dentist assured me.
Other helpful ingredients in toothpaste might include zinc, which inhibits bacteria metabolism and thus, slows down bacterial growth which can be harmful for your oral health.
The truth is, there are some areas that will be hard to reach with a toothbrush, such as the areas between your teeth.
This is why your dental care routine should involve more than just tooth brushing.
Flossing is a good way to clean your teeth more comprehensively.
While traditional string flossing works, those with sensitive gums might find that it will lead to discomfort.
In such cases, water flossing is a good alternative.
All you need to do is fill up the flossing device with water, place it in your mouth just above the gumline, and turn it on.
The device will emit a stream of water which will help get any particles out from hard-to-reach areas.
Right technique, right tools
When it comes to tooth problems, prevention is better than cure.
Take it from someone who has lived to tell the tale.
After you have mastered the right brushing technique, choosing the right tools for the job will be just as important.
When it comes to toothpaste, Colgate now has a new product on the shelves that you can add to your tool belt —the Colgate Total Plaque Release toothpaste.
While toothpaste typically contains fluoride, the Colgate Total Plaque Release contains zinc too.
Besides fluoride and zinc, the toothpaste also contains amino acid.
The amino acid is touted as being able to disrupt and break down the biofilm of plaque, which helps the zinc work its magic. It also helps to strengthen your gums.
Altogether, the Colgate Total Plaque Release promises to get rid of more plaque with continued use and offer you an improved oral antibacterial defence system.
All the technicalities aside, I tried the toothpaste myself and to be honest, it felt great.
The mint flavour left me with a breath of fresh air in the morning and evening.
The foam itself was also lighter and denser than other toothpaste I have used, which personally (for some inexplicable reason) felt really nice.
To find out more about the toothpaste, head over to Colgate’s website for more information.
So, there you have it — all you need to know to make simple changes to your routine to help you avoid a world of pain caused by dental plaque.
Believe me, it’s worth the time and effort.
This sponsored post made the writer appreciate a life without toothaches.
Top images via Canva