By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles
Most people would be surprised to find they are cleaning their molars more effectively than their front teeth. Most of us think we are getting our front teeth the cleanest and need more effort in the back. The truth is, the cheek muscles have little leverage against the tooth brush and so the brush gets the whole tooth easily. The lips, on the other hand, are great protectors of our gums around our front teeth. Their orientation allows them to interfere with the tooth brush and handle, preventing the brush from fully reaching the gum line. The end result can be devastating!
Many dental exams reveal more bacterial plaque, gingivitis, bleeding, and damaging tartar build-up at the lower front gum line than other areas of the mouth. This explains why many of you notice the dark unattractive look of lower front teeth during conversations (when the lips reveal the teeth and gums). It also explains why so many people lose their lower front teeth first from gum disease and infection. This is definitely not attractive in a smile.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Spend an extra 5 seconds on the lower front teeth, making sure your lip is getting out of the way and you are feeling the brush actually brushing the edge of the gums. For some of you this may cause some bleeding of the gums the first week you do this. Please persist! If the gums are kept clean for a week the bleeding will stop. Persistence over a long period of time will result in stains diminishing if you have some coffee/tea stains on your teeth.