Receding gums, missing teeth and discolouration can all make you look older than you are. Just as our body ages, so does our mouth, often without us even noticing. As gums recede and pockets appear around teeth it becomes harder to keep plaque away. It’s essential to keep good oral hygiene as we get older as plaque and ultimately gum disease has been linked to narrowing of the arteries and stroke. It’s not known exactly how the sticky film that coats our teeth can have such a serious effect on our health, but scientist believe that bacteria enters the blood stream from the mouth resulting in arteries becoming inflamed.
I’ve always attended my annual dental check-ups and four monthly hygienist visits. Despite brushing twice a day, flossing every night and using small interdental brushes, my gums are receding. This is age related as well as being hereditary, and partly due to my zealous brushing in the past. Last year my gums or rather the lack of them, were measured by the periodontist and the advice given by him, and my hygienist, was to try a Sonicare toothbrush to help slow down the erosion. It was suggested that I switch from my usual Oral B electric tooth brush to a sonic brush as they have some advantages for people with receding gums and sensitive teeth.
The advantages are that a sonic brush works in two ways; one is the usual brushing movement that all electric brushes make, except that the sonic brush will make more brush strokes per minute than a conventional electric brush. The other advantage is that the sonic action creates energy to the fluids in the mouth, saliva, toothpaste and water become more effective at removing plaque from the teeth surfaces and below the gum line. The fact that this action can be achieved even without the brush actually touching the tooth surface, but being held close by, means there is less chance of wearing the gum tissue away with excessive brushing.
Philips kindly gave me their top of the range toothbrush to put to the test and compared to the Oral B brush it’s slimmer with more features and a completely different brush action. Where the Oral B rotates, the Sonicare vibrates and the difference is that the Oral B will make somewhere between 2,500-7,000 strokes per minute depending on the model and the Sonicare will make between 30,000-40,000 strokes! This means that the Sonicare brush is far more efficient in the same space of time.
The Philips Diamond Sonicare toothbrush has been designed for modern day living. It comes in hard case suitable for travelling which also acts as a multi-voltage charger, a USB cable means this can be directly charged from a computer or USB plug. There is also an additional charging unit which comprises of a metal charging base and a glass which the brush sits in for charging. The charge indicator works well and a full charge normally lasts about three weeks.
The unit is very comfortable to use, sits nicely in your hand and has one button to control all the options. You have the option of Clean, White, Polish, Gum Care and Sensitive and a Quadpacer to tell you when to move to each quadrant of the mouth. A 2 minute timer ensures that you brush for enough time to be effective.
Seeing changes in your mouth can be very difficult as they usually happen very gradually. I’ve used the Diamond Clean Sonicare brush for almost a year to really see if it has made a difference to my teeth and gums. During this time I have had three hygienist appointments and at each one my teeth have needed less scaling than before, and the gums are looking strong and healthy. The great news is that over the past year my gums haven’t receded any further and I now can’t imagine going back to a conventional electric toothbrush. Not only does it help in protecting your gums, it also leaves your teeth feeling as clean as when you leave the hygienist – every time you brush!
If you want to protect your oral health as well your heart health then it’s worth investing in the most effective toothbrush available. The initial outlay for a brush of this type is high and so are the replacement brush heads, but in comparison to dental treatment it’s inexpensive. Especially for a product that’s used twice a day and usually by more than one member of the family.
Remember that a sonic toothbrush should be used in addition to flossing to complete your oral hygiene routine.
Philips Diamond Sonicare Toothbrush £249.97 available from Amazon
If you have a dental related question ask our dental expert James Goolnik