Start brush­ing right

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ORAL HEALTH -

REG­U­LAR brush­ing is one of the cor­ner­stones of good oral health and it is a com­bi­na­tion of qual­ity and quan­tity con­trol mea­sures.

It is ad­vised that we brush teeth af­ter ev­ery meal or at least af­ter wak­ing up and right be­fore go­ing to bed, us­ing proper tech­niques to en­sure thor­ough clean­ing of the teeth, gums and tongue.

There is also a lesser known fac­tor that comes into play when dis­cussing ef­fec­tive brush­ing – pick­ing the right tooth­brush.

Be­yond merely choos­ing your favourite colour, it is im­por­tant to pick tooth­brushes with the right bris­tles, size and shape for op­ti­mal func­tion.

“A tooth­brush with soft bris­tles is gen­tler on the gums and cleans bet­ter be­cause the bris­tles are more flex­i­ble. Th­ese bris­tles should be soft enough to eas­ily get into gum pock­ets so as to ef­fec­tively and gen­tly clean along the necks of the teeth.

“Hard and even medium bris­tles may harm the enamel layer of teeth and gums, es­pe­cially when cou­pled with heavy- handed brush­ing,” says den­tist Dr Fauziah Mo­hamed Yunus.

Brush­ing once a day is in­suf­fi­cient to re­move bac­te­ria and plaque that build up in be­tween teeth and in hard- to- reach spots.

This is ex­ac­er­bated when one does not floss, lead­ing to bad breath and gin­givi­tis ( in­flam­ma­tion of the gums).

In re­al­ity, most peo­ple do not floss their teeth reg­u­larly or at all, and Dr Fauziah says this is when a good tooth­brush de­signed to get into the gum line and be­tween the teeth can help.

Plaque can har­den into cal­cu­lus, which poses a more se­ri­ous risk of pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease as it dam­ages tooth enamel as well as gum tis­sue and bones that sup­port the teeth.

Equipped with this knowl­edge, Lion Cor­po­ra­tion Ja­pan ( par­ent com­pany of South­ern Lion Sdn Bhd) be­gan ex­plor­ing bris­tle types that would be able to reach into gum pock­ets and in be­tween teeth for bet­ter clean­ing.

Its re­search cul­mi­nated in the in­tro­duc­tion of the tapered bris­tles back in 1993, used in the Sys­tema tooth­brush line.

Th­ese bris­tles are made of poly­buty­lene tereph­tha­late ( known as PBT) and ta­per down to 0.02mm, which is one- tenth the size of or­di­nary bris­tles.

This makes them highly durable and quick to dry be­sides pro­vid­ing bet­ter clean­ing abil­ity be­tween the teeth while be­ing gen­tler on the gums than typ­i­cal rounded ny­lon bris­tles.

Dr Fauziah says many peo­ple hold on to the mis­con­cep­tion that “harder is bet­ter” when it comes to brush­ing, when in fact, hard­bris­tled tooth­brushes han­dled with ex­ces­sive pres­sure cause more harm to the gums.

“Plaque is soft, so re­mov­ing it doesn’t re­quire much pres­sure,” she ex­plains.

Christina Yong, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of South­ern Lion Sdn Bhd, says that Lion Cor­po­ra­tion lab­o­ra­tory tests have shown how soft and tapered bris­tles of Sys­tema tooth­brushes clean nine times bet­ter along gum lines, re­duce brush­ing pres­sure by 66%, and give 40% bet­ter in­ter­den­tal clean­ing com­pared with nor­mal round- ended bris­tles.

As pi­o­neers of the tapered bris­tle tech­nol­ogy, Sys­tema of­fers tooth­brushes in three ranges of vary­ing pur­poses: es­sen­tial clean, en­hanced clean and spe­cial needs.

“While they all clean ef­fec­tively, th­ese tooth­brushes are each tied to a spe­cific func­tion to match in­di­vid­ual care needs and brush­ing habits,” says Yong.

Key tech­nique

DEN­TIST Dr Fauziah Mo­hamed Yunus shares her five- step ef­fec­tive brush­ing tech­nique:

Place your tooth­brush at a 45° an­gle to the gums so one row of bris­tle tips can slip slightly un­der the gums.

Gen­tly move the brush back and forth in short tooth­wide strokes. Brush gen­tly to avoid harm­ing the gums; re­mov­ing plaque does not re­quire much pres­sure.

Brush the outer sur­faces, the in­ner sur­faces and the chew­ing sur­faces of the teeth.

To clean the in­side sur­faces of the front teeth, tilt the brush ver­ti­cally and make sev­eral up- and- down strokes.

Brush your tongue to re­move bac­te­ria and keep your breath fresh.

She adds, “Brush­ing your teeth is only a part of a com­plete den­tal care rou­tine. You should also make sure to clean in be­tween teeth daily with floss to re­move plaque and food par­ti­cles.

“Clean­ing be­tween teeth with floss or an­other in­ter­den­tal cleaner at least once a day is es­sen­tial for good oral hygiene.” or­gan­is­ing the “Start Right, Brush Right. Healthy Teeth For Life” cam­paign, a six- day den­tal care event in con­junc­tion with World Oral Health Month.

“We looked at this sit­u­a­tion and wanted to do some­thing to pique the in­ter­est of the pub­lic and get them to start learn­ing and car­ing for their oral health.

“Sys­tema be­lieves good oral care starts from the ba­sics – get­ting the right tooth­brush and adopt­ing proper brush­ing habits. While not ev­ery­one may be able to af­ford qual­ity den­tal care, most can af­ford a tooth­brush, so this is where we start,” ex­plains Yong.

“Many Malaysians are still us­ing hard- bris­tled tooth­brushes and be­lieve that bleed­ing dur­ing brush­ing is nor­mal. Al­though peo­ple un­der­stand the im­por­tance of oral care, many are still ig­no­rant about the right prac­tices.”

Aim­ing to help change Malaysians’ per­spec­tives and ac­tions on den­tal hygiene and care, the cam­paign will be held at the Con­course of 1Utama Shop­ping Cen­tre from March 22 to 27, with in­trao­ral den­tal checks by den­tists us­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy so vis­i­tors are able to bet­ter un­der­stand the con­di­tion of their teeth and gums.

Sys­tema per­son­nel will teach the right brush­ing method and guide vis­i­tors on se­lect­ing tooth­brushes, while chil­dren can learn to brush through song and dance at the Kodomo sec­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact South­ern Lion Sdn Bhd.

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