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That is why evening dental care is particularly important

Bring a brush, toothpaste on it - and you're good to go.

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That is why evening dental care is particularly important

Bring a brush, toothpaste on it - and you're good to go. These movements are almost automated for most people in the morning and in the evening. But that can take care. Two dentists explain what is really important when it comes to dental care – and why it is better to brush your teeth one and a half times in the evening.

"Most patients achieve far better results with an electric toothbrush," says Roland Frankenberger, who is a professor of conservative dentistry at the Philipps University of Marburg and at the University Hospital in Gießen and Marburg. If you brush well, you can get your teeth clean with a manual toothbrush, "but since most people brush too little or wrongly - and older people in particular are no longer as agile with their hands - I always recommend the electric version to my patients."

Because with an electric toothbrush, the brush head moves in addition to the hand. As a result, more plaque – i.e. bacterial plaque – is removed. But: "The electric toothbrush doesn't do the work for you," says Professor Stefan Fickl, dentist and author ("Auf den Zahn seen"). "Even with the electric toothbrush, the right technique should be used."

"Kai" is the abbreviation for "chewing surfaces, inner surfaces, outer surfaces". "This technique is intended to help you remember where you've already cleaned," says Frankenberger. But there is another approach: the Bass technique, named after the American doctor Charles C. Bass. And this is how it works: You place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle on the gum line and make about ten small shaking back and forth movements. Then you wipe in the direction of the chewing surfaces in circular movements. A lot of plaque can be removed with this method.

However: "For most people, the bass technique is rather difficult to carry out," says Fickl. "That's why you shouldn't pay so much attention to the technique, but rather try to reach all tooth surfaces during the cleaning time." Because many people brush too close to the chewing surfaces. However, cleaning should be done close to the gums, says Fickl. Diseases such as caries or periodontal disease have their origin at the transition between gums and teeth.

Two minutes twice a day is a good rule of thumb. “Most people only brush their teeth for a total of about 30 seconds a day,” says Frankenberger. That's decidedly too short. However, the cleaning time also depends on the bite situation. “Whoever has fewer teeth is through faster. Those who wear braces, bridges or implants usually need a little longer.”

By the way, with the right technique you can't brush for too long. "But what you should make sure of is that you don't press the toothbrush too hard, especially at the base of the gums," says Fickl. Because that can damage the gums in the long term. "That's why it's so important to use a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles."

"The most important thing is to brush your teeth thoroughly in the evening before going to bed," says Fickl. Because at night less saliva is produced, which protects the teeth from acid and bacteria. The fluoride contained in the toothpaste can fulfill this function overnight.

And what about the morning cleaning session? "Most people don't have that much time in the morning and brush to keep their mouth feeling fresh," says Frankenberger. "That's okay too. I tell my patients as a rule of thumb that they should brush half a time in the morning and 1.5 times in the evening.”

By the way: According to the dentist, studies show that it doesn't matter whether you brush your teeth before or after breakfast. And: "The fact that you should wait fifteen minutes to brush your teeth after eating acidic food has proven to be wrong," says Frankenberger. Even coffee does not harm your teeth. At most, it leaves discoloration on the teeth, which professional teeth cleaning can remove.

The toothpaste should contain enough fluoride. "A normal toothpaste with a fluoride content of 1,450 ppm is wonderful for maintaining oral health," says Frankenberger. Toothpastes, which according to advertising claims contain liquid tooth enamel, have yet to prove that they are an alternative to fluoride in the long term.

The expert takes a critical view of tooth whitening pastes. "If your teeth seem too yellow, you can have a dentist do a bleaching," he says. "Toothpaste won't be able to solve that in the long run." You should also keep your hands off coarser products. "They remove stains and plaque a little faster, but are otherwise too aggressive for the teeth." Fluoride jellies are not necessary if you brush your teeth with enough persistence and care. However, the jellies are a good supplement for patients at risk of tooth decay, including the elderly.

"Toothbrushes are by far the most effective way of preventing caries and periodontitis," says Roland Frankenberger. Mouthwashes can give a fresh feeling of breath or help against bad breath. However, they do not work against tooth decay. "Mouth rinsing solutions do no harm, but they cost a lot and are of little use," says Stefan Fickl.

However, interdental space hygiene is important. What sounds like cleaning on a foreign planet means keeping the spaces between your teeth clean. After all, they make up a third of the total tooth surface. According to experts, interdental brushes are suitable for this. "They are easier to use than dental floss and the cleaning performance is much better," says Frankenberger.

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