Most common dental problems are caused by a mysterious substance called plaque. I call it mysterious because even though we have all heard about it, the truth is that it is very hard to remove. The reason it is so hard to remove is that it is invisible and has evolved to hide in plain sight. I believe that it is one of the main reasons people often feel that it is a bit like luck-of-the-draw when it comes to getting cavities or gum disease. However, the truth is that the problems caused by plaque are significantly under our control, if we can master control of the plaque. To do that, we need to beat plaque at its own game. First, we need to understand the bacteria a little better and arm ourselves a little bit differently. In short, we need to make the invisible become visible.
Dental professionals tend to have fewer dental problems even though we have the same susceptibility to decay and gum and bone disease as everyone else. What makes the biggest difference is that we know where plaque likes to hide and what kind of damage it is likely to do. We have the advantage of being able to see where most problems occur on a daily basis and learn to focus our efforts to remove plaque in these areas.
The good news: you don’t have to be a dentist, hygienist, assistant, take classes, buy expensive tools, or even spend hours in the bathroom to clean your teeth like a dentist. You just need to identify where the dreaded dental plaque evades your toothbrush by making it visible. The best tool that I know for becoming a black belt at brushing is disclosing solution, which comes in drops or tablets. It’s relatively tasteless and simple to use. It works by colouring the plaque a pink or purple colour so you can clearly identify where the plaque is.
If you would like to have less dental disease over time, I think a great way to start is to become an expert at meticulous plaque removal by using a disclosing solution. Sounds intimidating? Don’t worry, it’s easy. We are happy to offer this service at your appointment or you can try it at home first.
Braeside Dental Centre’s Recommended at home Disclosing Solution Technique:
Step One: Chew on a tablet (usually a quarter or a half a tablet is more than enough to do the job).
Step Two: Spit. (It’s a good idea to have the tap running or some water in the sink to keep it from staining around the drain)
Step three: Smile big and be curious. Look for all the places dental plaque likes to hide in your mouth. A dental mirror from the drugstore is great for those hard to see spaces. Some disclosing tablets even let you know how long the plaque has been trapped there.
Step four: Brush for 2 minutes. I’m sure almost everyone has heard this advice. Why? Because it’s good advice! It’s even better advice when you can actually visualize what you are working so diligently to remove. No pink: no plaque! Now that’s power!
After about a week of using this technique once a day, you will be very proficient at plaque removal. Once you feel confident that you are doing well, do a spot check once in a while. For a spot check, I recommend disclosing after you brush/clean between the teeth. Stay curious! Find out where the challenging spots for your brush to consistently find are. Please ask us anytime about any tricky areas you may have. It’s what are here for! Chances are that we have the perfect tool for the job waiting just you.
We are here to facilitate your journey to better health. We are happy to disclose your teeth with you at your next dental appointment. Disclosing also helps us to better advise you on where to focus your efforts and have the most bang for your particular situation. Being able to provide tailor made guidance on home care makes us very happy.
I hope this helps in your journey towards optimal oral health!
Dr Rob Jost
Braeside Dental Centre