Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Toothbrush as important as the toothpaste

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Choosing the right toothbrush is more important
than the toothpaste, particularly if one is suffering from diabetes,
hypertension, kidney problem and gum issues.

According to city dentists, many people do not go in for the right
toothbrush and this explains the high incidence of dental caries,
gingivitis and other oral health problems in the country. When it
comes to children, India has the highest incidence of dental caries in
the world. Choosing the right toothbrush will help in removal of food
debris and accumulated sucrose (sugar) and bacteria from the mouth.

"One toothbrush does not fit all. One should choose the toothbrush
depending on the systemic and local factors including haphazard or
crowded or gaps between the teeth. Health issues like renal problems,
diabetes and high blood pressure also warrant special toothbrushes.
People should not use commercial dental floss or mouthwash liquids.
People with specific oral health problems need specific mouthwash,"
said senior prosthodontist Dr M Sirajur Rahman of King Kothi
Government Area Hospital.

Though the Indian Dental Association does not have its own guidelines
on the types of toothbrush people should use, it follows the rules of
the American Dental Association. For people with gaps between the
teeth, dentists prescribe interdental brushes which is used without

"Toothbrushes are straight or zigzag, or hard, medium, soft or extra
(ultra) soft. An ideal toothbrush should contain at least two to four
rows of column, 10 to 15 rows of tuft and 80 to 85 bristles. Those
suffering from diabetes, renal issues and hypertension should use only
soft or ultra soft brush and hard brush may lead to bleeding in kidney
and high BP patients. In diabetics, a hard brush may cause cuts in the
teeth," said senior dentist Dr K Satyendra Kumar of Yashoda Hospitals.

Dentists suggest that those suffering from gum diseases including
pyorrhoea and peridontitis should use only soft or extra soft
toothbrush as in these patients the root surface does not have enamel.
There are special brushes for physically or mentally challenged
people. The come in with thick handles and ultra soft bristles.

A joint study in children by dentists Dr A Kumar, Dr R Hedge and Dr U
Dixit reveals that use of proper toothbrush helps in fast clearance of
sucrose from the oral cavity and keep the pH value of saliva under
check, thus preventing dental caries. Plaque slows down the sucrose
clearance time, thus leading to building up of the activity by

"The presence of plaque led to increased salivary sucrose
concentrations and increased the salivary sucrose clearance time.
Minimum salivary pH was acquired faster in the absence of plaque,
which was followed by a slow rise in salivary pH," they noted in their
research study.

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