Back To School, Back To The Basics
With kids and teens starting school up this week, it is a good time to remember some of the basics we take for granted. Always tie your shoes tight before you leave the house, make sure your pencils are sharpened and be sure to remove all of the plaque from all of the surfaces of all of your teeth twice per day!
“Dr Weber, don’t you mean brush your teeth twice per day?” Brushing your teeth and removing all of the plaque are not the exact same thing. If we used p
erfect tooth brushing and flossing techniques, we would be removing all of the plaque, but the reality is that we are all creatures of habit. What is more habituated than the way we brush our teeth?
What I am suggesting is that even when we think we are “doing our homework” and brushing twice per day and flossing (at least) once per day, there is a good chance that we regularly miss the same parts of our mouth each time we brush.
So my homework for everyone is to ‘brush with intention’. What I mean is that I want everyone to really think about why and how they are brushing their teeth. Concentrate on what you are doing while you are doing it.
When a robot does something, it typically does a very thorough job. This is because we can program robots to follow a specific sequence of events in order to get the same outcome. We need to think like robots when we brush. Use a systematic approach:
Start with the same part of your mouth each time. My recommendation is to start with the upper right quadrant of your mouth.
Start by doing the part of your tooth which faces the cheek. Brush all of the ‘cheek surface’ of the upper right quadrant (farthest back molar to the very front tooth).
Next, move to the chewing surface of your upper right teeth.
Now move to the surface of your upper right quadrant which face the tongue. Brush all of this area before the next step.
After the cheek, chewing and tongue side of your teeth are cleaned, head over to the upper left quadrant.
Repeat steps 2-5 until the upper left side is fully cleaned.
The same is done for the lower left, followed by the lower right.
If you follow all of these steps you will have cleaned 60 percent of each tooth. Next we will talk about exactly how to clean the other 40% of each tooth, but this is the first week back to school and I want everyone to work on one piece of homework at a time!
Dr. Richard Weber
Love Your Smile Dental