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How To Brush Your Teeth


After all of the holiday goodies and chocolates I had been consuming, I decided it was definitely high time to take a trip to the dentist for a cleaning. When you’re never in one place for a long time, getting all those little bits done – like seeing a dentist – become pushed to the end of the list until one day you realize its been… how long?!… since your last visit. Yeah, not good.

The school here provided me with a doctor’s name they like to work with, and who apparently has a dentist on his staff. After multiple phone calls to the doctor, and multiple responses about needing me to call back in a few days, I decided to go to a swanky place that I found online. It still cost me less than a dental cleaning back home and was probably the best cleaning I have ever had. Congrats, Ukraine, you got me again.

However, my one question about the whole appointment was when we discussed a proper toothbrushing technique. This has been a huge concern of mine for the past few years when I noticed increased sensitivity in my teeth, one or two in particular. I was then told by my American dentist that it was due to minor gum recession in those areas. Small circles they said. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I had heard many times when growing up that small circles was the proper technique, but I guess I didn’t quite understand that it was because an improper brushing technique could cause you to actually “brush away your gums”.

Who knew? I used to think that scrubbing the shnikeys out of them was the better way to go. After all, I always received rave reviews from my orthodontists and such about how great of a brushing job I did. Well, apparently I was wrong and have been administering the small, soft circles since.

Now, I get to Ukraine and am even more confused! They demonstrated yet another toothbrushing technique that didn’t involve any small circles whatsoever. They said to take the brush, start at the gums in one area, and stroke straight away from them maybe 5 or 6 times before moving to the next area. What?!

So, I immediately consulted the ADA website and found an animation on toothbrushing and of course it kind of showed more of the small circles technique. I’m so confused people. Any hygienists out there who can shed some light on this subject?!


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5 Responses to How To Brush Your Teeth

  1. Shawn January 21, 2009 at 7:00 am #

    Did you go to Porcelain? I had a filling done there and a cleaning. The filling was fine…as good as any I had in the States. I thought the cleaning was a nightmare though.

  2. Peetor January 21, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    But you have very nice pearly whites! dont even bother to brush! Ive tried this…circular technique…and let me tell you it is pretty hard to do! so I started to brush my teeth with a twig like the moroccans do and Im starting to develop a very pretty 3rd world smile!

  3. bethissadinsandiego January 22, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    you got me girl. I hate the dentist which is the main reason why I am so crazy about flossing. More flossing=less dentist. The one thing I do know, is only use a soft toothbrush, never the medium or hard kind, that will scrape away your enamel over time. This post reminds me that I desperately need to go to the dentist myself. blah.

  4. soultravelers3 January 23, 2009 at 4:18 am #

    Take it from someone who has been to dentists all over the world…go with the circle thing and don’t forget to floss daily, preferably before bed. I never had a cavity until I was 36, so I must admit I didn’t have the best habits when young. Now, in 20/20 hindsight, I know better & taking care of your gums and teeth is essential for good health. You can lose your teeth from gum disease just as much as decay, perhaps more.

    The main thing in finding dentists abroad is making sure you have lots or personal recommendations. Sadly, I have had to have 2 molars pulled while on our open ended tour, one by a woman dentist from Denmark & another from male dentist from Argentina. BOTH stemmed from problems caused in my 20s. Now I faithfully brush & get my teeth cleaned every 3 to 6 months no matter where we are on our world tour. So far it has been MUCH cheaper and better care than the US. 😉

  5. Brooke January 24, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    Haha, yes Shawn, I went to Porcelain. I really liked the cleaning… except for the part that took off a layer of my lips! haha – teeth felt great, though.

    Pete – maybe I’ll have to try out the twig method 😉

    Beth – I’m down with floss… we are best buds.

    soultravelers3 – Yeah, America has a way of making necessary things like going to the doctor and dentist, education, etc so expensive! Thanks for the tips for sure. I have a large amount of dental supplies I’m keen to carry with me everywhere – toothpaste, brush, floss, mouthwash, gum stimulator – always in my bag!

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