Powerful Tools for Dental Care

Power toothbrush beats manual brushing, but flossing is here to stay.

Charles W Martin By Charles W Martin, DDS
Founder, DentistryForDiabetics.com

If you've ever watched some of the reality TV shows where people do a home fix up in a couple of days, you've probably noticed that one of the recurrent themes is excitement – particularly by the female participants – over using power tools.

And while it might be lots of fun to learn to use a drill or a router, there's one very small but powerful tool that you can use to improve your dental health and well being. It's the power toothbrush.

If you want cleaner teeth and a great looking smile then you've got to power up your home dental care and maintenance. And I recommend that you consider getting a power toothbrush. I believe a power toothbrush does a better job of cleaning your teeth. It makes the task much easier and the payback can be better check ups and less time in the hygienist's chair. When you go looking for a power toothbrush, you'll find several brands to choose from. You may want to ask your dentist which one he or she would recommend.

If you're thinking an investment in a power toothbrush isn't really necessary, well of course, that's up to you. Many people use manual toothbrushes very successfully, but most of the patients I see just don't spend enough time brushing with a manual toothbrush.

To get a good cleaning with a manual brush:

1.Be sure you choose a soft toothbrush. When you brush with a medium or hard brush, you won't get the same cleaning at the gum line as you will with a soft brush.
2.Be sure to brush for at least three minutes. Less than that doesn't get the job done. Most people underestimate how long three minutes of brushing is. Try using a timer to time your brushing.

Never give up on the basics
Okay, you've purchased a power brush and you're ready to use it. What changes? Well, not very much else really changes. The first step for making sure you have good oral hygiene is to pay attention to the basics of flossing and brushing. That's extremely important when you have diabetes because you need to be taking great care of your mouth to keep from developing gum diseases.

A rule of thumb I give my patients is to floss each day and brush two to three times a day. You probably hear that advice from your dentist every time you visit. Daily flossing and brushing removes plaque from your teeth and plaque is what causes cavities.

By now I know a few of you are thinking… so I've got this power brush… I can slack off a bit on the floss. Sorry, that's not an option. Yes, I know a lot of people hate to floss. But you can't stop flossing and try to substitute extra brushing. Why not? Well I've yet to find a toothbrush that will fit in between your teeth. The only way to get in there and remove plaque is with floss.

The payoff, though, is great. Brush and floss regularly and you'll be rewarded with cleaner teeth and a fresher mouth. Dental hygiene basics are your first defense against gum disease. This results in improvements in your overall health as well as a great looking smile.

For more information about dental care for people who have diabetes, visit http://www.dentistryfordiabetics.com and Dr. Martin's blog, http://www.dentistryfordiabetics.com/blog.

To learn more about the two-way connection between diabetes and gum disease, check out the other columns here on dLife or Dr. Martin's book, Don't Sugar Coat It.

Read Dr. Charles Martin's bio here.

Read more of Dr. Martin's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition. 

Last Modified Date: July 01, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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