The Toothbrush

The toothbrush…We use it every day, sometimes a few times per day. Yet, have you ever stopped to think about what is hiding and growing inside on those bristles? Well, to give you an idea… Bacteria, fungus, viruses and plenty of side organisms that are infectious and not something you want back in your mouth. Studies have shown that the toothbrush harbors more bacteria than any other part of our house, including the bathroom itself. Have you wondered why that darn cold and cough just won’t go away? Maybe the answer was sitting in front of you all along. Change your toothbrush often, especially when you feel you are fending off a cold, sore throat or just make a plan to do so every month. It may well improve your life, silently! Just my recommendations. Better safe than sorry.  In addition, there are other ways to help yourself stay ahead of the flu and cold bug curse. For one thing, is your regular checkups. These routine, harmless procedures that don’t cost very much are huge regarding preemptively fending off the potential attacks from harmful decay and bacteria. When you stay on a regular frequency of checkups, you can then have the dental hygienist and dentist evaluate your tissues and teeth for any signs and take appropriate actions to elevate your situation with the goal being to keep your teeth forever.  Here is a picture showing a healthy smile and gums. Notice the soft pink look and no bleeding or dark bruised areas.

This is healthy and what you should strive for.

The periodontal disease problem is very discreet and painless. The bacteria that forms on and around your teeth is odorless, colorless and causes no sensation until the destruction of your tissues are far enough along that you realize you are in some sort of trouble. Everyday from the simplest things we do, this bacteria forms. It collects and sticks to your teeth and gums and allows other bacteria to join the party. This is where it all begins to take foothold of your condition. Unless we realize this and make a strong effort to eliminate the bacteria, we are assured of having gum disease, bad breath and loss of teeth if left unchecked or treated. Periodontal disease come sin many variations from the simplest being Gingivitis to the more advanced and bone losing form that leads to missing teeth, bad breath and more. Studies show that over 75% of the U.S. population has some form of this disease. Because it is painless and goes unnoticed in its early stages, most folks don’t ever realize they have it until they finally visit their dentist and question something. This “something” may ne bad breath, or a loose tooth or a dark space in between teeth that was not there before. These are symptoms and signs of a chronic, long standing effect of the disease. Most can be treated, and the teeth can be saved with proper treatment protocols and follow up both at home and at the dental office. But, all of them could have been prevented early on with the proper cleaning and dental visits.

We watch Tv and come across many advertisements for dental hygiene products. Some items are good, some very good but others are just worthless. Take for instance the battle being waged over electric versus manual toothbrushes. I laugh many times at this because I prefer to use an electric brush, but I don’t take it with me to work or on trips. So, I need to use a manual brush everyday regardless of the situation. To discredit the manual toothbrush is a huge disservice to something so wonderful and that has been and will be around us for our entire lifetime. Everyday, countless companies are marketing a new toothbrush or a new clever way of keeping your teeth clean. Nothing holds true if you don’t do it. You must make it a habit to brush and floss daily to protect this valuable, overused and never appreciated asset. Until of course, you no longer have them.

The treatments available are simple cleanings for the early Gingivitis stages to more in-depth cleaning using specialized instruments and Lasers for the elimination of the bacteria and the sterilization of the areas where the bacteria live and create havoc. The modalities of this treatment have come along and improved much over the last decade. Laser treatment is paving the way to secure and prolong the life of many teeth that just a few years ago would have been lost. Today, many of the teeth with advanced periodontal disease can be saved and maintained in the oral cavity for years with proper home and professional care. But you must visit your dentist regularly.

Dental hygienists are highly trained and really are the specialists to keep your gums and teeth sparkly clean and healthy. This person that takes on the role to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy forever should be someone you like and trust. They should have a soft yet forceful way of getting you to correct improper technique and improve your home care in such a way it becomes like a sports team reaching victory of a championship run. Of course, everything about life is a game of sorts. The object of every game is to win. The game of healthy teeth and gums should be no different. We practice, practice daily and hard. Devote attention to detail and technique. Have sessions with our coach (dental hygienist) and have the coach critique us to improve what and how we are doing it. You see this game? Can you tell the similarities? If this training is ongoing and improving as we move along, then the goal of winning is quite reachable. Ask yourself if you want to be a winner or not? Then decide, call your dentist’s office and schedule your coaching session today.

The author, Dr. Nilo Hernandez can be reached at (239) 564-3100 or by email at