Everyone knows that one of the most basic tenets of dental health is brushing your teeth regularly. However, is there a proven best method for this everyday routine of oral hygiene? On that point, experts have yet to come to an agreement.
A recent study released in the British Dental Journal finds that there is little actual consensus in professional dentistry literature on proper brushing technique. The researchers surveyed guidelines of dental associations across ten different countries as well as dental textbooks, academic journals, and information from toothbrush and toothpaste manufacturers. They recorded the instructions provided by the various sources for how to brush, including how long and how often.
The study found that no randomized trials have been performed on the subject to produce quantifiable data valuing one method over another. Prominent names in the industry each have their own recommendations for techniques developed by different experts in dental health, such as the Bass technique endorsed by the American Dental Association, or the Fones technique which employs larger, sweeping circles as opposed to short strokes.
The authors of the study from the University College London in England find their results to indicate that the standard for advice across the industry is “unacceptably inconsistent.” They say that this only emphasizes the need for organized research on proper methods of teeth cleaning. Public dental health would benefit from a coherent set of instructions backed by scientific trial. As it stands, the differing advice may be more likely to confuse than to instruct.
The most commonly recommended brushing methods have no evidence behind them that proves they are any more effective than a straightforward scrubbing, which the lead author of the study claims is a perfectly viable way to eliminate plaque and keep gums healthy. A simple back and forth motion with the brush held at 45 degree angle and a gentle grip is all it takes for clean teeth, he says.
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