Dentist: Flossing more important than brushing

Posted at 02/25/2009 7:37 PM | Updated as of 02/26/2009 9:23 AM

As the country observes the fifth National Dental Health Month, the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) is promoting dental health care to family members in Manila and different parts of the region.

The annual celebration kicked off last January 25 and will end on March 5. Engaging activities that reach out to children, such as street dance competitions and kiddie pageants to inspire them to take care of their teeth, have been lined up.

The National Dental Health Month started in 2004 with a goal to provide community-based programs such as offering free consultations from dentists, supervising tooth brushing drills, and staging free dental check-ups in the communities.

ANC's Shoptalk recently gave special attention to dental care and invited dental experts to discuss the prevailing problems Filipinos face today.

Dr. Leo Gerald de Castro, President of the Philippine Dental Health Association (PDA) discussed proper tooth brushing techniques for children and adults alike to follow:

1. Your toothbrush must be angled about 45 degrees to your mouth.
2. Brushing should take about three minutes. Allot one and a half minutes for the right side and another to the left side of your mouth.
3. Brushing should be circular in motion, not up and down. To cover all areas of the mouth and teeth, brushing should be done in a counterclockwise method.
4. Make flossing your daily habit. Studies show that flossing is more important than brushing.

PDA also teaches pregnant women proper oral health care. Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women are susceptible to gingivitis. It is advisable to drink water, brush frequently and add fluoridated vitamins for their babies to have stronger teeth.

De Castro also discussed that plaque may lead to heart attack. Plaque irritates the gum to the point that it bleeds. As the blood flows through the veins, it passes the heart. He added that other than cardiovascular diseases, neglected oral hygiene may cause diabetes so he recommends regular visits to the doctor every four months.

Anne Guttierez owner of Bites and Smiles Dental Clinic talked about the common dental problems of Filipinos. According to her, gingivitis (bleeding of gums), tooth decay, sensitivity, halitosis (bad breath), and periodontitis (severe form of gingivitis) are the top five problems amongst children and adults alike.

Guttierez shared useful tips to avoid dental problems like eat foods that contain less sugar, after eating, gargle water to flush down the acid from your body and brush your teeth three times a day. -- by MIKI ESPE, abs-cbnNEWS.com