Superiority of the Philips Sonicare Toothbrush

Dental Revelations Blog-4586

Philips Sonicare forever!

I used to be brainwashed by one of the biggest electric toothbrush manufacturers and thought that there is no better toothbrush than these round-headed ones. I was so stuck in this illusion that I didn’t even give another toothbrush a chance to be better.

But then I moved to another country where two of the biggest toothbrush brands were almost equally popular compared to my country of origin where this manufacturer with round-headed toothbrush was and is dominating the markets.

In my new country of residence I was offered a free trial of the Philips Sonicare. I was amused by the looks of it (it was the old model) and thought it wouldn’t be a very good toothbrush. I almost declined the free trial because I was so convinced about the superiority of this round-headed toothbrush.

But then I gave it a go. It was ticklish as hell at first but thankfully my colleague dentist had warned me about it. I carried on using it for the full two minutes. Once I was done I got my moment of awakening.  My teeth had never felt better. So smooth, so clean.

Patient Case

I was treating a lady – lets call her Sue – at her early twenties for severe gum disease. She had already had periodontist treatment and understood the severity of the situation considering her young age. Sue was very motivated to look after her teeth and did everything she was advised to do.

Sue had a surface retained glass fibre reinforced periodontal splints (everStick®PERIO) on her lower and upper teeth. She was using Tepe interdental brushes of various sizes twice a day and an electric toothbrush – the round head one. She changed the brush heads every month (even though she was informed it was necessary every 3 months). Her brushing technique was checked many times and it was perfect.

But every time I saw Sue for the 4-monthly scale and polish she had supragingival (visible) calculus on her lower front teeth. Lots of it. And she started to be very distressed about it because she was doing all the right things to prevent it. I tried to ease her worry and told that the supragingival calculus was not a problem gum wise as long as it was removed regularly. And in her case the gum didn’t even get inflamed by the presence of supragingival calculus. But it did not calm her mind. She didn’t like the looks of it as it was clearly visible for anyone when she smiled.

I had no idea what to advice more than I already had. She had all the right tools – interdental brushes and a latest model of an electric toothbrush. She used them often enough and with a correct technique.

Then I thought about Philips Sonicare I was using. I suggested to Sue that she could change her toothbrush. I expressed my frustration over the fact that she had spent quite a lot of money for the current toothbrush but this was all I could think of that might help her. I showed her the correct technique of the Sonicare just in case she followed my advice.20181104_152933.jpg

Next time Sue came in she had a wide smile on her face when she entered my surgery. She said the calculus had not built up at all! Sue had gone straight to the shop after the last visit and bought the Philips Sonicare toothbrush. She was very happy and thankful for the advice I had given.

This was even more of an eye opener for me than my own first experience with Philips Sonicare.

Why Is It Better?

The name says it all. It’s because of the sonic vibration. When used correctly the sonic vibration can reach beyond the bristles as the sonic vibration travels through the liquids in mouth.

People who think Sonicare is not a good toothbrush have not used it with a correct technique.

I have notice in the past 15 years of using the Sonicare that I and my patients who us it, get less stains. Hardly any even though I drink coffee and tea.

Conclusion

In my country where I live and work now the Philips Sonicare toothbrush is not very widely used or recommended by the dental professionals. I am considered as odd one out when I tell I use one. And even stranger it seems that I recommend it to some of my patients. Almost as if I didn’t know my business.

In the dental show case I didn’t even find a representative of Philips Sonicare from any stands. And I cannot find any contact details for a rep to invite her to my practice or to express my views over their marketing strategy. You see the marketing is very poor compared to their competitor who has given trial models to my practise with disposable brush heads so that the patient can be shown the correct technique etc. They give out free electric toothbrushes to the professionals (I have written about it on my previous post) and visit practices regularly to promote their products.

But thankfully the Philips Sonicare toothbrush is available in the shops. And I am doing a small-scale marketing for them. My hope is that they would take more aggressive approach to the almost non-existing marketing. I could even go to the next show case as their representative just to annoy the rep of their competitor who told me that the Philips Sonicare is as effective as manual toothbrush (you can read about it here).

It would definitely make my work easier when convincing the patients about the superiority of the Philips Sonicare toothbrush. And perhaps my colleagues will start to recommend it too.

Here are couple of models of Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush:

Basic model with 31000 brushstrokes per minute (don’t buy anything lower than 31000)

The flagship model with 31000 brushstrokes per minute

 

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Wild West of the Home Whitening

Dental Revelations Blog-0310

Oh dear, where to begin.

The reason I chose this topic for my next post is that I was reading a dental blog that gave homemade teeth whitening tips to people. I’m sure the intention was good when they listed all known household items than can whiten the teeth. You see people love to get self-help tips on their health – especially on their teeth to avoid seeing the dentist. But dental professionals should know better not to advice certain things as they can very quickly cause permanent damage to the teeth.

(This is a reminder for all of us not to believe everything you read from the net especially regarding your health)

Stains

There are two types of stains on your teeth. Surface stains and deep stains.

Surface stains build up from coffee, tea, red wine, smoking and certain spices, mouthwashes and vitamin supplements (iron in a liquid form).

Deep stains are those that will make the natural colour of your teeth (which you will see after scale and polish when the surface stains have been removed) yellower. The older you get the yellower the teeth will get (or have you seen elderly people with pearly white teeth? If you have they are false).

So what will damage your teeth? I will tell you. Starting from the worst. But at first for clarification

  • I will not give any instructions on how to use these substances
  • it won’t be a comprehensive list of the substances that is advised to use for teeth whitening purposes but a list of most common ones

Whitening Toothpaste

There are normally two types of whitening toothpastes. Toothpastes with increased abrasivity (normally all most common brands’ whitening toothpastes e.g. Crest, Golgate, Arm&Hammer) have high RDA level (higher than RDA 100) and if used regularly, it can lead to toothwear. This toothwear is permanent. I never advice anyone to use these toothpastes on regular basis.

Safer types of whitening toothpastes are the ones that do not have high RDA level but are based on papain enzyme which whitens the teeth. Examples of these toothpastes are brand Youtuel (RDA 40) and Glodent. When I used Youtuel for the first time somewhat 20 years ago, it was impressive how well it removed surface stains.

If you are interested to read a study about papain enzyme as whitening ingredient, click here.

Lemon

Would you love to get white teeth with practically no money spent at all (as you get the lemons anyway for cooking etc) plus super sensitive teeth and eroded enamel to go with the deal? Yes? Use lemon.

An advice to use lemon for teeth whitening isn’t under any circumstance acceptable by a dental professional. Lemon is highly acidic fruit and can erode the teeth when used regularly. Erosion will result in sensitive teeth. Imagine if you already have thinned enamel for any reason and you start to use lemon for whitening purposes. You will soon find out it wasn’t a wise move as your teeth will become so sensitive to the cold that even breathing through your mouth hurts. Also the thin enamel will make you more prone to decay.

In 2005 BBC had to apologise publicly for a lemon tooth whitening tip when one of its programmes recommended lemon as a money saver to families. I happened to watch this programme and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thank goodness British Dental Health Foundation soon found out about the programme as well and complained to the BBC.

I’m not convinced that the apology reached everyone who watched the programme.

Strawberry and Baking Soda

Now combination of these two used daily for longer period of time will damage your enamel. Baking soda works as abrasive and strawberry as an acid. A very bad combination.

Safe frequency of use is once a week.

Baking Soda

It is slightly abrasive to teeth and can damage the teeth especially if used with vigorous brushing technique.

Do not use baking soda if you have braces. It can soften the glue.

Salt

Salt crystals can scratch the enamel. Make sure to let the salt dissolve in the water before using it (kinda looses the point of using it, doesn’t it?).

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is the only known substance that removes deep stains. It doesn’t remove the surface stains so scaling and polishing is normally needed prior the whitening.

There are products over the counter (OTC) that contains hydrogen peroxide but these should be used under a supervision of a dentist as the excessive use of hydrogen peroxide will weaken the enamel permanently.

After Words

If you cause damage to your enamel by these abrasive or acidic home whitening products, it will be permanent. Thin enamel not only make the teeth sensitive to cold and prone to decay but it also makes the teeth look darker or yellower in colour. The dentin under the enamel is more yellow than the enamel and it will start to show through when the enamel gets thinner.

Important facts to remember

  • you can never ever change the natural colour of your tooth by lemon, baking soda, strawberry, whitening toothpastes etc. You may be able to remove the stains from the surface of the tooth but not the actual colour that is different with every individual
  • you should never replace fluoride toothpaste with any of the above means. Thinning of the enamel together with lack of fluoride will speed up sensitivity and decaying
  • all the means of whitening the teeth will result in damage of the enamel at certain level
  • any of the whitening products do not whiten fillings or crowns
  • the surface stains will carry on building up after the whitening if you carry on smoking and drinking coffee/tea/red wine. Also the new whitened natural colour of your teeth (whitened by hydrogen peroxide) will little by little get more yellow for the same lifestyle reasons

An impartial information about the risks of teeth whitening is almost impossible to find. The internet is full of practices advertising themselves and saying it’s all fine and dandy to do the whitening. So be cautious!

If you are interested in reading reliable article click here.