I distinctly remember the incident that led to getting my very first crown four years ago. I was drinking a margarita on the rocks with salt. An ice cube slipped over my right bottom molar. I happened to bite down and BAM! A corner of my molar broke off. I was very upset about breaking my tooth. It didn’t really hurt that much, but it felt very weird. Off I went to the dentist, who told me I needed a crown. Luckily, I didn’t have to get a root canal.
It took about eight weeks to get a permanent crown put on my broken tooth. First, I had to go through the process of grinding down the tooth and replacing the old filling. Then, I had to get the temporary crown while the permanent gold one was made for me. Then the permanent crown didn’t fit right, so another one had to be made. And then when I finally got my permanent crown, I thought everything was going to be alright again.
Several months after my permanent crown was set, I went to the dentist for a cleaning. The dental hygienist said everything looked great, except for the very red, inflamed area behind my crown. This particular spot was all the way at the back of my mouth, in a place where my regular toothbrush was not able to reach. Consequently, plaque was building up between my gumline and the crown, irritating my gums. The hygienist then recommended that I start using an end-tuft toothbrush to clean that hard to reach area.
What’s an end-tuft toothbrush?
Before that cleaning session, I had never heard of an end-tuft toothbrush. An end-tuft toothbrush is a simple tool that makes a big difference in maintain oral hygiene. It’s a small, tapered brush that is specifically designed to clean problem areas in the mouth. An end-tuft brush looks like a regular toothbrush, except instead of a several rows of long bristles, it’s got a small round “tuft” of plastic bristles that are shorter on the outside and longer on the inside. If you look at it from the side, the bristles sort of look like they form a hill.
An end-tuft brush is great for people who wear braces with orthodontic bands or have dental implants. It’s also a good tool for people who are missing molars or have spaces from receding gums. Naturally, it also works for people who have crowns, especially if they have them in hard to clean areas.
The hygienist gave me an end-tuft toothbrush to try out at home. I started using it and immediately noticed that after the first few sessions using the brush, that previously inflamed area became healthier and less painful. With regular use of the end-tuft brush, I stopped experiencing as much swelling and bleeding from the gums around my crown. The crown became a lot more comfortable.
Why your gums should be kept as clean as possible
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease can be caused by a number of factors including heredity, smoking, hormonal fluctuations, and poor nutrition. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, can start out uncomfortable and unsightly. People with gingivitis have swollen gums and may notice bleeding when they brush their teeth. They may also have noticeably bad breath. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious gum disease. Periodontitis can lead to bone loss and, from there, tooth loss.
If left untreated, advanced gum diseases such as periodontitis can lead to other systemic infections within the body and affect one’s overall health. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology reports that researchers have found a strong correlation between gum disease and heart disease. People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease, which can then lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Gingivitis often gets started due to inadequate dental hygiene. While many people brush their teeth every day, studies show that brushing alone isn’t sufficient to maintain healthy teeth and gums. To improve your dental hygiene, you must also floss daily and use a dental rinse. And if you have trouble spots in your mouth, it may pay dividends to use a special toothbrush such as the end-tuft to help keep your whole mouth clean.
That being said, I still get lazy sometimes…
I should probably use the end-tuft brush every time I brush my teeth, but I will admit that sometimes I forget. When I go too long without using it, I’ll start to feel that trouble spot getting hot and irritated again. Then I break out the end-tuft brush and scrub the area. After some bleeding and mild discomfort, the swelling goes down and gets healthy again. Unfortunately, even when I use the end-tuft brush regularly, that trouble spot remains sensitive and hard to keep clean.
Where to buy end-tuft brushes
I got my first end-tuft brush from a dental hygienist. After that, I purchased a bunch of them from drugstore.com because my husband and I were moving to Germany and I wanted to make sure I had plenty on hand. You may be able to find end-tuft brushes in your favorite drug store, though I haven’t seen them stocked in any of the ones I frequent. I’ve found Drugstore.com to be a reliable source for end-tuft brushes. At this writing, they’re selling for $3.29 each.
If you have trouble spots in your mouth…
I highly recommend using an end-tuft toothbrush to get those hard to reach areas in your mouth clean. An end-tuft brush may help you avoid gum disease and the painful and costly treatment that comes with it. Remember, avoiding gum disease is not just good for your teeth, it’s also good for your overall health.