• Different Types of Toothbrushes

    Every time you meander down the dental care aisle, you might be overwhelmed by your options. There are so many types of toothbrushes – how do you decide what’s best? Learn more about your options and which ones we recommend here are Zen Dental Center.

    Manual Toothbrushes

    Hand-operated manual toothbrushes are the mainstays of the dental care world. Hundreds of varieties from dozens of manufacturers are available today. You’ll find toothbrushes with the following classifications:

    • Bristle hardness: Soft bristles are appropriate for most people, but medium- and hard-bristled toothbrushes are also available. The advantage of using a harder toothbrush is that it clears away more plaque, but it may irritate your gums and even wear away your enamel if you brush too hard.
    • Head shape: Conventionally shaped toothbrush heads are rounded or squared off. Diamond-shaped toothbrushes tend to be better at reaching the back and sides of your molars.
    • Bristle pattern: Several different bristle patterns are effective at cleaning teeth. Common varieties include wavy, crisscross, tapered and bristles with polishing cups. Your choice should depend on your dental needs and what feels the most comfortable.
    • Handle design: The four broad classes of toothbrush handles include straight, contra-angle, non-slip grip and flexible. The handle you choose should allow you to comfortably reach every tooth surface, including the very back of your mouth.

    Electric Toothbrushes

    Battery-operated toothbrushes take the effort out of brushing. Simply press the button, and the head starts oscillating, rotating or vibrating to clean your teeth effortlessly. Some even have built-in timers to make sure you brush evenly in all four quadrants of your mouth for two minutes of total brushing time.

    There are several types of electric toothbrushes:

    • Rotating brush heads spin all the way around.
    • Oscillating brush heads move from side to side.
    • Dual-head electric toothbrushes combine a rotating and oscillating brush head on a single handle.
    • Counter oscillating brush heads feature bristles that move from side to side in opposite directions.
    • Sonic and ultrasonic electric toothbrushes vibrate at incredibly high speeds with thousands or even millions of oscillations per minute.

    How to Choose a Toothbrush

    Here at Zen Dental Center, we recommend using an extra soft-bristled toothbrush with a diamond-shaped head to help clean those hard-to-reach places. Manual toothbrushes can be effective, but we may recommend an electric toothbrush if you have problems with dexterity or grip strength, or your teeth are prone to staining. Choose the other characteristics of your toothbrush based on personal preference or recommendations from your dentist. And remember to change your toothbrush (or your electric toothbrush head) every three months to significantly reduce plaque buildup.

    Your oral health is important to us! If you have any other questions about choosing a toothbrush, or if it’s time for your next dentist appointment, please contact our Seattle office at 206-324-1100.

  • Dental Issues Associated with Diabetes

    The American Diabetes Association explains that the relationship between diabetes and gum disease goes both ways. Not only are you more susceptible to gum disease if you have diabetes, but, like all infections, gum disease may cause your blood glucose levels to rise and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

    Fortunately, by learning which dental issues are associated with diabetes, you can take steps to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible despite your diagnosis.

    How Diabetes Affects Your Oral Health

    If you have sore or bleeding gums, get infections often, or have lingering bad breath, these are signs your diabetes is affecting your oral health. Some dental issues facing diabetes patients include:

    • Gum disease: Poorly controlled blood sugar puts you at risk of developing severe gum disease called periodontitis. At this advanced stage, your gums start to pull away from your teeth, leaving pockets where germs and pus accumulate. You may need gum surgery to save your teeth. If you do nothing, the infection will attack the bone, and your teeth may loosen or fall out.
    • Dry mouth: High blood sugar causes dry mouth in some patients, which worsens existing gum disease, promotes plaque buildup and leads to cavities. Untreated dry mouth can also cause soreness, ulcers and soft tissue infections.
    • Thrush: This is a yeast infection that can develop in the moist areas of the body, including the mouth. People with diabetes are more likely to develop thrush because high sugar levels lead to ideal growing conditions for yeast.

    Tips for Diabetes Patients to Decrease Dental Issues

    The trick to a healthy mouth for people with diabetes is two-fold – control your blood glucose levels and take good care of your teeth and gums. Here’s what you should do:

    • Follow suggestions from your general practitioner to keep your blood sugar under control. This step alone can relieve many of the dental issues associated with diabetes.
    • Brush your teeth morning and night.
    • Floss and rinse with antiseptic mouthwash once a day.
    • If you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily.
    • Visit the dentist for a cleaning and check-up every six months. Tell your dentist and hygienist that you have diabetes and alert them to any changes in your condition or the medications you’re taking.
    • If you smoke, quit.

    At Zen Dental Center, we care about your oral health! If you have any questions or concerns about the dental issues your diabetes might be causing, please contact Zen Dental Center at 206-324-1100 and schedule a check-up with our Seattle dentist right away.