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There are four brushing methods that dental professionals encourage their patients to use, each addressing different oral health concerns. They’re unlike the conventional ‘scrubbing’ method that most patients use which is damaging to their tooth and gum structure. Instead of harming, these professional brushing methods actually help to promote the health of the teeth and gums:
Indications for use: for patients with gingivitis; to remove plaque form above the gum line.
Method/Technique: the bristles are held at a 45° angle toward the gum line. Half of the bristles should be covering the gums, and the other half of the bristles should be on the tooth surface. By making short and light horizontal movements, the plaque is removed from above the gum line. These motions help to remove plaque and stimulate the gums. Only small groups of teeth can be done at a time. Once an area is complete, move onto the next set of teeth.
Indications for use: for patients with periodontitis; to remove plaque from below the gum line.
Method/Technique: like Stillman’s, the bristles are held at a 45° angle toward the gum line. Very slight pressure and vibratory motions are made so that the bristles go slightly beneath the gum line. Only small groups of teeth can be done at a time. Once an area is complete, move onto the next set of teeth.
Both Stillman’s and Bass brushing methods can be ‘modified’ by gently sweeping the bristles away from the gums after performing the instructed brushing method.
Indications for use: for patients with orthodontic braces.
Method/Technique: with the bristles positioned at a 45° angle, direct them so that they remove plaque from above the brackets and arch wire, then direct them so that the bristles remove plaque from below the brackets and arch wire. This will ensure that plaque is removed from all surfaces of the braces.
Indications: for young patients; patients with poor manual dexterity; in combination with any other brushing method; for healthy patients instead of “scrubbing” method.
Method/Technique: the bristles are held at a 45° angle toward the gum line. Make small and light circular shaped brush strokes overlapping each tooth surface until all surfaces are reached.
For all of these brushing methods, continue to brush the chewing surfaces, as well as the back of the bottom and front teeth, and the tongue by lightly scrubbing up and down, being careful not to damage any of the tissues. Also, remember to brush using a soft bristled toothbrush!
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