Louis R. Marion, DMD, MS, LLC - blog.archive - Philadelphia, PA
Louis R. Marion, DMD, MS, LLC - Prosthodontics • 1500 Locust St • Suite 1416 • Philadelphia PA
Back to Basics: Brushing One’s Teeth 
Summer, 2014

Learning how to brush one’s teeth correctly is something children learn at a young age – ideally. Unfortunately about 90% of people brush their teeth incorrectly. 

• Hold your toothbrush sideways against one of your teeth at a 45 degree angle and use short up and down motions.

• Hold your toothbrush vertically when brushing behind your front teeth and make sure the bristles are pointing straight down when brushing the tops of your teeth. Rinse your mouth out with water. 

•Don’t forget to brush your tongue!  It is not only beneficial for fresher breath, but also to remove bacteria from all the crevices of the tongue. 

 •Brush your teeth two to three times a day each time ideally for two to three minutes. 

•It is better to brush your teeth after breakfast, as opposed to right after you wake up.  
•Make sure you brush your teeth lightly.  If you think you are holding your brush too hard, trying holding your toothbrush as you would hold a pen. 
•Change your toothbrush every three months or sooner if you just recovered from an illness.

•Don’t forget to floss.  Flossing can actually remove more plaque than brushing alone. 

Dr. Marion and his hygienist Lauren strongly recommend investing in a Sonicare electric toothbrush.  All patients who have switched to them not only reduce their plaque levels, they actually have changed their cleaning schedules – they don’t have to come in as often – less plaque means less inflammation and and a smaller interval between cleaning.  

Following these steps and tips will improve your dental hygiene, thus saving you money that would otherwise be spent on repairing bad teeth.  These steps and tips help lead to a beautiful, healthy smile. 
*Daniel Marion 
Daniel Marion, nephew of Dr. Louis Marion, is working for his uncle during the summer.  A recent graduate of the William Penn Charter School and a member of the Cum Laude society, he will attend Tufts University in the fall.   

Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. "Brushing Your Teeth." 
      Simple Steps to Better Dental Health. Accessed July 14, 2014.      

Ninety Percent of People Aren't Preventing Tooth Decay When They Brush. ABC      
     Action News | Tampa Bay. Accessed July 15, 2014.      
     http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/health/ ninety-percent-of-people-

Carr, Alan, D.M.D. When and How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth. Mayo      
     Clinic.com. Accessed July 15, 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/      healthy-

Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, "Toothbrush," accessed 14 Jul 2014,      
The advantages of using custom made mouthguards
“Parents want to protect their children’s teeth . . . but they also want to conserve money.  There is a great tendency to purchase inexpensive mouth guards thinking these protective appliances are adequate.” - Gordon Christensen in The Clinicians Report

The most recent edition of The Clinicians Report cites Dr. Christensen a world- renowned prosthodontist talking not implants or veneers in which he is an expert, but mouthguards or sportsguards.  Why?  For one thing it’s summer and children and adults are outside more, participating in sports.  Athletic participation, no matter what season, is becoming more and more popular and athletes and league organizers are realizing the importance of protecting your teeth because of both the spiraling costs or fixing them after trauma as well as the their relation to other head and neck injuries.  Studies have shown that when athletes neglect to wear mouthguards or to protect their mouths during sporting events or workouts they are sixty times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth.  These mouthguards have also been shown in research to help prevent concussions. 

There are four kinds of mouthguards (MGs) to chose from: stock, cut-offs, boil-and-bite and custom made mouthguards.  While custom-made mouthguards are the most expensive kind, they are by far the safest option and over time, the most economical option.  Why? Because they save teeth from needing post-traumatic treatments like root canal therapies, implants, dentures, and/or bridges.  Such treatments usually need to be re-treated and /or changed in the lifetime of a patient for an average of 4 to 5 times.

Stock, cut-off, and boil-and-bite MGs are over-the-counter devices.  Their costs can range from $1 to $30.  While they provide minimal protection, they are no way nearly as effective as custom made MGs at preventing damage to the teeth and the head.  Stock mouthguards follow the formula “one size fits all”, but the truth is that one size does not fit all.  A MG that does not fit makes the user either consciously or unconsciously chew on the material.  This leads to both the deterioration of the thickness of the mouth guard and stresses the temporomandibular joints.  Cut-off MGs do not protect the back teeth.  Boil-and-bite MGs are better than stock and cut off MGs, but their external surface do not always fit fully around the teeth they cover and their biting surface does not match and therefore support the opposing teeth and the temporomandibular joints.

According to a recent Academy of General Dentistry study, the amount of players using OTC MGs suffering from trauma and concussions is over double than the those athletes wearing custom MGs.   One key factor researchers point to is the thickness of these MGs.  OTC MGs average in thickness is only 1.65mm whreas custom MGs average 3.50mm in thickness. Other studies have theorized that mouthguards can reduce concussion risk, because they help absorb shock, stabilize the head and neck, and limit movement caused by direct hits to the jaw. 

Dr. Louis Marion lectures at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on this subject and cites his experience with patients who traumatize their teeth.  “I always recommended custom MGs to my patients who are athletes.”  One of his patients did not wear one for soccer and ended up losing both his front teeth.  After bone grafts, implants, and crowns, he ended up spending over $10,000 and that did not include the time he lost at work.  Another patient lost four veneers and a front tooth due to a basketball injury.  Dr. Marion’s custom MGs cost about $185 to $325 depending on thickness and design.  “When you consider that cost verses the costs of a dental reconstruction which can easily go over $10,000 – not including the time lost at work or school, then I think it is, indeed, well worth the cost of a custom MG."