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The Toothbrush – Its Parts & How to Properly Use It
Brushing your teeth is basically the simplest and the best way to prevent dental almost every dental malady. The first toothbrush was introduced in 3000 B.C. (quite old, isn’t it?) by the Babylonians and guess what: it doesn’t look anything like the toothbrushes that we use today. In fact, the early toothbrush, or the “chewing sticks” were disposable because they can only be used only after meals to clean off the dirt that have been accumulated in hard-to-reach areas inside the mouth.
We’ll discuss in this article the different parts of toothbrush, how to use it, and how to properly brush your teeth.
The Parts of the Toothbrush The toothbrush, as simple as it may look, has undergone a lot of patent regulations before it become the reference of the ones we commercially use.
The Toothbrush Head The head of the toothbrush contains all the necessary parts for cleaning our teeth. Head sizes come in variety of sizes, depending on the age of the intended user. Smaller toothbrush heads are recommended for children or pre-adolescents who have not yet had their full set of permanent teeth. Medium-sized heads are intended for adolescents and adults, who have a larger set of teeth. There are also the bigger sized toothbrush heads that are used by people who prefer a general clean and also for people who are larger in scale.
The head of the toothbrush consists mainly of two important parts: the tongue scraper and the bristles.
The tongue scraper is a recent innovation in the commercial production of toothbrushes. Before, there were only the bristles that cleaned the teeth. But manufacturers of toothbrush soon received suggestions that there should also be a part of the toothbrush that was specifically designed to scrape of dirt for the tongue. A patent was then passed to attach a tongue scraper at the back of the head (since it isn’t being used anyway), to facilitate a whole mouth clean, since the bristles are really for tooth-cleaning purposes.
Almost every variety of toothbrushes have tongue scraper nowadays. The pricier a toothbrush gets, the more upgrades it has to match the effectiveness of the bristles. If you could notice, more expensive toothbrushes have a larger branding and commercial information that pertain to the effectiveness of the tongue scraper.
The bristles are the most important part of the toothbrush. Why? Because they do 90% of the cleaning (the other 10% is done by the tongue scraper). Bristles are made up of nylon, and hence the soft and sturdy feel. There are two types of bristles: soft bristles and hard bristles.
Soft bristles are commercially made for people who have sensitive teeth, people who wear dental appliances and also for people who have recently undergone oral surgery. Soft bristles make it easier to reach in-between the teeth and gum lines. These soft bristles are made up of very fine and small nylon material suited to make brushing easier and safer.
Toothbrushes with hard bristles are usually cheaper than soft bristles because, commercially speaking, the material is cheaper and people are usually attracted to cheaper prices, especially when it comes to dental care products. Hard bristles, though seemingly more effective than soft bristles, actually come second in performance, because they don’t reach the hard-to-reach areas of the teeth that soft bristles can penetrate into easily.
Electric toothbrushes only use soft bristles, because the degree of oscillation, when paired with hard bristles, can lead to devastating results for your teeth.
The bristles’ effectiveness in cleaning teeth usually last about three to six months of continuous use. Replacing your tooth brush after the three to six month period is imperative because worn-out bristles don’t do anything and may already be filled with invisible, foreign bacteria that could latch on to your teeth as you brush.
The Toothbrush Handle Unknowingly, the handle plays a very important role in brushing our teeth. Our grip depends on the handle of the toothbrush, meaning if the handle is of non-ergonomic shape, it might cause us to use a stronger grip, hence the potential damage on our teeth because of coercive brushing.
Dentists recommend toothbrushes with long, thick, rubbery and very flexible ergonomic handles. Oral-B and Colgate have phased out their old toothbrush models that have a thin and stiff handle.
Using a Toothbrush and How to Properly Brush Your Teeth Using a toothbrush is no rocket science, but the potential hazards of hard brushing should also be taken into consideration.
First of all, choose a dentist-recommended toothbrush and only buy one from a respected brand, like Colgate or Oral-B. Depending on your dentist’s suggestions or your personal preferences, you can use a manual or electric toothbrush. And make sure that you’re using one that has soft bristles.
Second, apply a rich, full, pasty lather of toothpaste onto the toothbrush. Don’t be too conservative on toothpaste. Make sure that all the bristles have been covered with toothpaste and try to make it a habit to gargle first before brushing your teeth, especially after meals.
Finally, brushing your teeth will take about two to three minutes. Don’t brush for only 15 seconds – you technically never brushed your teeth at all in that short duration. When brushing your teeth, start with short, gentle strokes on the outer surface of your upper and lower teeth in the first twenty seconds to facilitate a sort of warm-up exercise for the teeth and gums. You can now proceed by brushing the inside surface of both the upper and lower teeth. Repeat until you’ve hit two minute marker and don’t forget to use the tongue scraper when you’re finished brushing. Afterwards, gargle and look in the mirror if you did a good job on brushing your teeth.
We hope this article helps you start a great oral hygiene. Check out our other articles on dental health.
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