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Dry Tooth Brushing – don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

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How often have you got to the end of the day and thought that whole ‘oral hygiene’ routine (advised by your dental team), is just way too much effort? It happens to us all at some point! 🙂

Life just gets in the way of our good intentions! The key is making it work for YOU! Everyone’s personal situation is different and your oral hygiene routine must fit into yours! It’s a matter of working out how all the flossing/brushing etc can fit into your life.

I am no different. At the end of a long day I have to admit that sometimes motivation can be a little lacking! Starting to floss, use interdental brushes then brush every surface of each tooth – and clean the orthodontic aligners I’m presently wearing last thing at night , makes it tempting to say to myself – ” I will do it properly tomorrow – it will be fine.”

Thorough oral hygiene is key to obtaining and maintaining oral health…. and it TAKES TIME! I often say if you are only going to spend one thing on your oral health – make it more time!

Cleaning teeth, gums and tongue as well as aligners has become a labour of love! I choose this orthodontic journey and it’s my responsibility to keep my mouth healthy! So I make the effort fit into my life. Yes, I always clean last thing at night and in the morning – before breakfast, spitting out excess toothpaste but not rinsing with water. But I go all out after I have eaten in the evening! I don’t mind making the effort when I have both time and motivation! That wouldn’t have worked for me when the children needed a taxi to whatever activity was on that evening! Think of how/when you can work it into your daily routine.

Dry tooth brushing! Toothbrushes are designed by computer and made by robots – they don’t need soaked under the tap before entering your warm, wet mouth! This makes it easy for me to sit and be really methodical about my oral hygiene. I often suggest this to parents who find they have a battle on their hands when brushing their children’s teeth before bed – let them watch the TV and you brush – BEFORE it becomes WW3! Less stress for all. Then when it comes to bedtime and it is a less than perfect brushing, you know it’s been done properly at least once in the day. Spit out but don’t rinse – leave a little toothpaste around the teeth so the fluoride works while they sleep.

So what do I do? When I’m going to eat I remove the aligners and pop them in a cleaning bath to soak with either Retainer brite or Piksters appliance cleaning tablet to loosen any debris. Then I get comfortable with my oral hygiene kit! I keep a little tub beside my favourite chair! I clean in between first – brushes (TePe extra soft atm) and floss (Gumchucks), followed with some quality brushing with the Curaprox single tuft and manual toothbrush! I listen to the news and dry brush.

The great thing about dry brushing is you really get to ‘feel’ where the toothbrush bristles are cleaning, and you don’t need a tap or wash hand basin! Try it. Clean a couple of teeth then run your tongue back and forth – you will be able to ‘feel’ the clean tooth surfaces. A tissue is good to have to hand or if you want to spit, a cup you keep for that purpose. I take the brushes and rinse them when I give my aligners a bit of tlc, then pop them back in my little tub ready for next time. Once you master the ‘feel’ of dry brushing, you won’t even need the mirror! 🙂

And yes, I do clean before bed! Tongue cleaned back to front (TePe tongue scraper), electric toothbrush (Philips sonicare with the small head) and high fluoride toothpaste (no rinsing after brushing, of course!). Aligners get attention from a TePe denture brush (great for those little nooks and crannies), then a smear of GC Tooth mousse (I keep it on my bedside table), before replacing aligners and sleep. Guilt free if Im a little slapdash, knowing I’ve done the ‘works’ earlier!
It may appear a bit ‘belt and braces’ but I’m not taking any chances! Prevention is better than cure! 🙂

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If you aren’t sure if dry brushing is for you – speak to your dental team or Growing Smiles coach.

image of toothbrush and a single tufted brush
After dinner I ‘dry brush’ using a soft manual toothbrush and a single tufted brush. Delightful to sit beside!
image of a mirror and glasses to show how good lightening etc is important when cleaning teeth
You need to be able to see to clean properly. For me that means glasses, mirror and good lighting!

While I eat, aligners get a bath!

image of a single tufted brush showing cleaning the wisdom tooth
Mind over matter – consciously relax your tongue to place the bristles right around the gum line next to your tongue.
image of a toothbrush angled to clean inside of teeth
Concentrate on cleaning the area around the gum line. Trying to reach the outside of the very back teeth can be difficult. Close your mouth slightly then you can move the brush right to the very back.
image showing where to clean inside of teeth
image showing a tufted brush cleaning crooked teeth
Thorough toothbrushing takes TIME – find it when you can every day!
image of a single tufted brush cleaning the back of the mouth
Don’t forget the inside of the top teeth – it tickles!
image of a appliance bath to clean dentures, mouth guards, aligners, retainers, ortho retainers
Aligners in bath to loosen debis. Followed by thorough brushing to clean before replacing in mouth.

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