Start brushing right
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.
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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