Gum Disease, A Disease Of Behavior
Have you ever wondered why so many people have gum disease? Gum disease is the sixth most prevalent disease in the United States. Studies have linked gingivitis to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Why do so many adults (75 percent!) have gum disease when it is so preventable?
I have a theory!
As dental professionals, we spend most of our time educating our patients on the importance of oral hygiene. Patients respond well in the short term but 70 percent inevitably cycle back into their old habits.
Several years ago, I read a study that compared a Sonicare with a store-bought manual toothbrush. They found zero difference between the two brushes. The study was performed on 3rd-year dental students. Why is this important? Because the dental students, as well as all dental professionals, can see the teeth with the mind’s eye when they brush. They are thinking about angles, position, stroke, the sulcus, and the bass method because it’s how they are taught. In dental school, the bass method is established as the gold standard
The average joe
Most of us learned how to brush between first and third grade. We strictly were taught brushing to prevent cavities, not best practices for our adult life. For parents, cavity prevention holds a higher priority for their children than periodontal disease which is understood to be a disease of adults. As with all things performed over time, habits and behaviors are ingrained and for our purposes, muscle memory is established in the brushing arm. This muscle memory is then carried forward in time and becomes difficult to change as an adult. I would argue that gum disease exists in such high numbers because of these bad habits.
Additionally, think about every toothpaste or toothbrush commercial you’ve seen that shows someone brushing. A third-grader will have a much easier time understanding circle brushing than the more precise bass method. So, the rationale becomes that some brushing is better than not brushing at all.
Let’s face it, not everyone wants to shuck out the $100 needed for a Sonicare or similar product so I would like to introduce you to the MD Brush. It’s designed to force the user to consider angles and position as it relates to the Bass method to permanently break the muscle memory associated with poor brushing. In a nutshell, it helps them think and brush like a dental student. Everything about the brush from the grip, bristle design, and visual indicators was purpose-built to target the sulcus. Users say it takes several days to get the hang of, but consider it to be the best, most effective manual toothbrush made.
Written by Mike Davidson, BSDH, CEO MD Brush