Polish up your oral care technique to save on dental bills and keep your pearly whites in top condition
Countless surveys show men don't take enough care of their mouths. It's a risky business because poor oral care.and the resulting bacterial growth, is linked to heart disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction (not to mention far fewer dates). MH has scoured the latest research and asked top dentists for their advice on how to keep your choppers chopping.
l) WORK THE RIGHT WAY
Dentists recommend the "modified Bass technique" -a thorough method named after the forefather of modern dentistry, Dr Charles Bass. Hold your brush at 45-degree angle to the gum line, and gently vibrate so the bristles barely move. Work your way around. Don't miss the lingual surface-the inner side of the tooth. This area is a breeding ground for plaque, a recent study in the American Journal of Dentistry found.
2) ... AND IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Brushing toward your gums will eventually push the tissue back, making your gum line recede, warns dentist Dr Bruce DeGinder. "On the upper teeth, you want to be brushing downwards, and on the lower teeth, brush upwards," he says.
3) KNOW YOUR BLIND SPOTS
"Right handers have more difficulty cleaning the right side, and left handers will have problems on the left," says Dr Matthew Messina, spokesperson for the American Dental Association. The awkward wrist turn makes it harder to reach some spots, so spend extra time on your weak side. Bonus: using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth encourages the production of neurotrophins in your brain, slowing the process of mental ageing.
4) LESS IS MORE FOR GUM CARE
"Many people use tremendous force when brushing their teeth, and I'll see them with gum tissue that's worn away and exposing the root surface," says Dr DeGinder. The fix: stop gripping your brush like a tennis racket. Instead, he suggests you try holding the brush like you would a pen, forcing a lighter stroke.
5) NUKE GERMS ON YOUR BRUSH
Yourtooth brush harbours more undesirables than a Made in Chelsea wrap party. Fortunately, you can eliminate these germs by microwaving them, Brazilian dentistry researchers found. They submerged brushes in a cup of clean water and then microwaved them for 60sec, after which the brushes emerged bugfree. Do this every week or two, Dr DeGinder suggests, If you use an electric toothbrush, it's best to detach thhe base first.
For less plaque and gingivitis, trade in your manual brush, says a recent UK study. Use one with a timer so you hit the optimum two minutes.
A little tool called an interdental brush is more effective than floss for removing plaque betwween your teeth, says anew study in Evidence-Based Dentistry.
A bioactive glass called NovaMin found in some toothpastes can repair the tubules in teeth that cause sensitivity, says the Journal of Clinical Dentistry.