Dental Care: Minimum Effort for Maximum Effect

matthias on 2014/11/22

Disclaimer: This a translation of material that Dr. Joachim Wagner, dentist in Leverkusen, published on his German web site Please note that you need to draw your own conclusions from this material because neither him nor me can assume any responsibility for your actions.


What are the most efficient methods to avoid caries and parodontitis? [Original article]

Both these diseases are caused by bacteria, but the effects and counter-measures are radically different. Approaches for the prevention of caries (softening of the teeth) usually do not help with loosening of the teeth (parodontitis). One of the two problems is usually more prevalent and the dentist can advise where efforts should be concentrated. [Addition MK: All methods together are still not a major effort. I would consider simply doing everything on the following list.]

Caries prophylaxis

  • 40% importance: Forgo fruit juice, even diluted variants of apple, orange juice etc. Same thing - albeit slightly less critical - for ice tea and lemonades.
  • 40% importance: Once a day, distribute tooth paste with 1000ppm fluoride (this is the usual concentration) between your teeth and let it operate there for 3-5 minutes.
  • 10% importance: If new caries appears in spite of these two measurements, perform a Chlorhexidine (CHX) regimen. [Addition MK: I have never done this and would certainly talk to my dentist before doing it]
  • 10% importance: All other measures such as brushing technique, special tooth brush and at the very last flossing. Flossing is almost useless against the highly potent effect of the contemporary fruit drinks.

Parodontitis prophylaxis

  • 60% importance: Clean the gaps between your teeth with a suitable tool (triangular tooth pick or brushes that are similar to a pipe cleaner [addition MK: I use Tepe Interdental Angle 0.4mm. I am not sure if these are approved but I have not found anything else that will fit between my teeth]). The biofilm between the teeth has to be destroyed every 3 days. Yes, once per 3 days is sufficient. But you have to reach the entire surface in the gaps. This is demonstrably not possible by flossing (pubmed-article).
  • 20% importance: Your toothbrush. There is some evidence that Philipp’s Sonicare is somewhat better than the rotation models from Braun. And it appears that electric tooth brushes have an advantage over manual devices. However, to repeat, a suitable device for cleaning embrasures is more important.
  • 20% all other methods, including disinfecting mouth washes, water flossers, professional teeth cleaning and (again last) flossing.