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If there’s one essential tool for protecting your dental health, it’s the humble toothbrush. The basic manual brush with a long, slender handle and short-bristled head is still effective when used skillfully. The market, though, is full of choices, all of them touting their brand as the best.
So how do you choose? You can cut through any marketing hype with a few simple guidelines.
First, understand what you’re trying to accomplish with brushing: removing dental plaque, that thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces that’s the main cause of dental disease. Brushing also stimulates gum tissue and helps reduce inflammation.
With that in mind, you’ll first want to consider the texture of a toothbrush’s bristles, whether they’re stiff (hard) or more pliable (soft). You might think the firmer the better for removing plaque, but actually a soft-bristled brush is just as effective in this regard. Stiffer bristles could also damage the gums over the long term.
Speaking of bristles, look for those that have rounded tips. In a 2016 study, less rounded tips increased gum recession in the study’s participants by 30%. You should also look for toothbrushes with different bristle heights: longer bristles at the end can be more effective cleaning back teeth.
As far as size and shape, choose a brush that seems right and comfortable for you when you hold it. For children or people with dexterity problems, a handle with a large grip area can make the toothbrush easier to hold and use.
And look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, something you may have seen on some toothpaste brands. It means the toothbrush in question has undergone independent testing and meets the ADA’s standards for effectiveness. That doesn’t mean a particular brush without the seal is sub-standard—when in doubt ask your dentist on their recommendation.
Even a quality toothbrush is only as effective as your skill in using it. Your dental provider can help, giving you tips and training for getting the most out of your brush. With practice, you and your toothbrush can effectively remove disease-causing plaque and help keep your smile beautiful and healthy.
If you would like more information on what to look for in a toothbrush, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sizing up Toothbrushes.”
Here's a tip that most dental insurance companies don't tell you: Your insurance benefits reset at the end of the calendar year, so you should take advantage of them before December 31st.
Most dental insurance plans offer standard annual benefits which are completely covered under your premium. Here are two common benefits you may want to take advantage of before the end of the year, since you're already paying for them:
- Bi-annual Cleanings. Most policies cover "preventive maintenance", or cleanings, twice a year to take care of the buildup of plaque, tartar and stains on the teeth. These appointments are also an opportunity for your dentist to ensure your oral health is overall looking good. Call us at 508-747-5400 to book a cleaning today.
- Meet your maximum. Find out what your maximum is, and if you've already hit your deductible, you can utilize the difference to pay for larger treatments you may have been putting off. For example, if your annual maximum is $1,800 and your deductible is $1,000, you have $800 that your insurance company can use to cover additional treatments before the end of the year. This amount resets, so you'll want to use it before you lose it on December 31st.
What larger treatments can you use your benefits towards? Most insurance companies will cover the following treatments:
- Oral Examinations
- Tooth cleanings
- Application of Fluoride
- Sealants (usually limited to children)
- Root Canals
- Treatments for gum disease
- Emergency relief of pain
Call us at 508-747-5400 to schedule an appointment today, or request an appointment online.
And remember, use them or lose them!
(Sources: National Association of Dental Plans)
Kerr Dental Associates, a family-owned dental practice in Plymouth, Massachusetts, is pleased to announce the addition of two accomplished doctors to their Pinehills location; Dr. Candace Wolkowicz, DMD and Dr. Jacinthe Giroux, DDS.
Dr. Candace Wolkowicz, DMD attended the University of Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. She completed her dental education at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.
Dr. Wolkowicz has a passion for cosmetic dentistry including gingival recontouring and smile makeovers. This passion follows through to providing the best overall dental health care in all areas of her patients' individual needs. Dr. Wolkowicz practiced in Raynham, MA before joining Kerr Dental Associates and now lives locally with her family.
Dr. Jacinthe Giroux, DDS attended the University of Montreal where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology before completing her Doctor of Dental Surgery at McGill University. Dr. Giroux completed a Multidisciplinary Residency Program at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and devoted many years practicing, directing and developing services in remote regions of Canada in both Nunavik and James Bay.
Upon her return to the United States, Dr. Giroux served as Director of Risk Management for EDIC, authoring articles and lecturing on topics related to standards of care and risk prevention, before returning to her love for practicing dentistry.
In addition to Kerr Dental Associates, Dr. Giroux also practices at Columbian Square Dental in Weymouth, MA.
About Kerr Dental Associates: Located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Kerr Dental Associates provides state-of-the-art dentistry for the whole family. This award-winning practice offers a wide range of services including implants and cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, and Botox/fillers. With a periodontist and an endodontist on staff, patients of Kerr Dental Associates enjoy the convenience of having all their dental needs met right in our Pinehills office.
Congratulations to the Studebaker family!
Congratulations to the winners of our first drawing for the iPad Mini!!! This family won by keeping their original appointments! Call or email us now to schedule your appointment to be entered into our next raffle!