Professional tooth cleaning (PTC)
As the name indicates, this type of tooth cleaning is executed by a professional, i.e. a dentist or a dental hygienist. First he/she removes tartar and soft plaque from the surface of the teeth and between the teeth using ultrasound as well as hand instruments in some cases.
This is followed by the removal of the stains with a polishing unit (Air-Flow®). This also polishes the teeth at the same time reaching even the best hidden areas. Thus, bacteria cannot stick to the smooth tooth surfaces.
The PTC is a very effective, indispensable preventative measure to maintain the health of the teeth and their supporting structures. It should be carried out about twice a year depending on one’s oral status.
Personal oral hygiene
Regarding the health of the oral cavity, the regular personal oral hygiene is more useful and also more effective than anything else. And it only requires three things:
- Toothpaste The right toothpaste contains cleaning and polishing materials and often fluorides. The whole selection of products is vast but nearly every toothpaste fulfills its purpose.
- Toothbrush The right toothbrush is easy to use: it is comfortable to hold, has a small head with rounded bristles and is soft – or medium hard at most.
- Brushing technique Although there is no general right technique, the basic principle is the following: all areas of the teeth (outside, inside and chewing surfaces) have to be cleaned, possibly in the same order, with small circular motions applying light pressure, at least twice daily for 2-3 minutes after meals. Brushing longer or harder could do harm to the teeth and the surrounding tissues, the same with horizontal scrubbing motions.
The space between teeth is at a high risk for cavities which is why they require extra care. Places that are hard to reach with the tooth brush can be reach with floss. Interdental tooth brushes are good for teeth with wide gaps between them. To clean between close standing teeth, around crows or bridges the Superfloss® floss is best.
Another effective measure is chemical cleaning. Eventhough there are countless mouth rinses available, only the ones with chlorhexidin are antibacterial. They should be used if there is a high risk for cavities, soft tissue inflammation as well as after dental surgery.
Here are some other tools with differing usefulness.
- Electric brushes make brushing easier by doing most of the motions. When used correctly they are equivalent to regular manual toothbrushes.
- Oral irrigators remove only the more superficial deposits and leave a pleasant feeling in the mouth: but they don’t do much else.
- Toothpicks offer quick help if larger food particles get wedged between the teeth. But they in no way replace flossing.
- Chewing gum neutralizes acids in the mouth after meals and promote the flow of saliva which contributes to the self-cleaning of the mouth. A good temporary solution when brushing is not possible.