Dentists really want you to have the healthiest teeth, happiest gums and strongest jaw possible. During a dental examination, they make lots of observations and record a lot of data. Obtaining this information helps to motivate you to improve your dental hygiene and find out which techniques and equipment help you the most.
Ask your dentist questions about your plaque score, tooth mobility and the other parameters covered in this post and use this information to turn stubborn dental issues into your personal success story.
Once you know your metrics, you can improve on them. I had been stuck in a rut for a long time with stubborn gum recession, high plaque scores and other not such great parameters, all of which are apparently average for an adult of my age. I had been using a mix of natural tooth hygiene measures, but I needed that something extra to turn the tide.
In this post, you will see how I have suddenly broken through to the other side – from disappointing, disheartening scores, more or less the same with each visit, to scores that make me feel like I am in the upper echelon of the super healthy league.
I went for my annual check up last week on 13.08.21. Before the examination begun, the dentist asked me how I thought my teeth were. I smiled, said I thought they felt and looked cleaner and showed him my new toothbrush, the Soladey Rhythm 2.
My dentist was very interested in my new toothbrush …
He took it out of my hand and turned it on finding both speeds at a press of the button – 18,000 oscillation per minute and 22,000 oscillations per minute. I showed him the three solar panels at the base and the titanium oxide rod – both the solar panels and the rod produce electrons which travel out through the bristles.
The blue Hotari lamp at the base was flashing to indicate that electrons were moving along the brush and out of the bristles. This microcharge is carried around the mouth by the saliva and changes the polarity of the teeth. This then breaks the strong electrical bond which holds the biofilm and plaque like glue to the teeth. Those many oscillations of the brush head then sweep it away.
I told him that I had tried other electric toothbrushes, but that I particularly like this Rhythm 2 toothbrush because it is quiet and the vibrations are gentle – I could use it while watching the local news at night without feeling that it was disturbing me or my husband. I could use it in the morning during my ‘quiet moment’ when I watch the birds at the bird feeder before coming to work. Not only was the toothbrush very pleasant to use, I felt it was doing a great job.
My dentist really was interested and asked where to get this brush – and he jumped on my website and opened the shop page. What a result!
Even at that point I could tell he really loved the technology of the latest Soladey brush, but I think he was even more impressed when he did the dental examination…
Back to the gathering of data, your dentist will perform a series of tests. Ask him for the results as he goes, or if he is short of time ask him or her to send you a chart at the end of the examination.
1. What is my tooth mobility score? Tooth mobility – vertical or horizontal movement, is checked by tapping each tooth with a blunt instrument and while holding another blunt instrument behind the tooth – this gives more accurate results on mobility than using the tip of the fingers. Normal mobility is 0.25mm. The teeth are held in place by ligaments, but if the teeth aren’t cleaned properly, and there is infection below the gum line, the ligaments weaken and the teeth will wobble.
Tooth mobility is scored like this:
Grade 0 – physiological mobility (0.25mm)
Grade 1 – when the teeth move more than 1 mm back and forth
Grade 2 – when the teeth move more than 1 mm back and forth but also from right to left
Grade 3 – when the teeth move in all 3 directions: forward-backward, right-left but from top to bottom
On another visit, the hygienist told me that usually when we start cleaning the teeth we are more focussed, so start by cleaning the teeth that need the most attention first. On this visit I had one slightly mobile tooth, but now I know which one it is, it will get priority cleaning!
Comparing my earlier and most recent dental chart, I can see that previously, several of my other teeth had been mobile, so I do believe that these mobility issues can be solved with thorough cleaning, especially cleaning at the gum line. Again, the only thing I have done differently between visits is to introduce the Soladey Rhythm 2 toothbrush. In my case by cleaning my teeth more thoroughly I have been able to tackle my first issue – excess mobility.
2. What is my plaque score index? The idea is to assess the bacterial load in the mouth at the gumline, the point where periodontal disease can be controlled. Periodontitis is an infectious disease that results in inflammation of the supporting tissues of the teeth and bone loss. It is associated with the presence of dental plaque and calculus. It is often preceded by gingivitis – inflammation of the gums which again invariably comes down to poor cleaning, especially at the gumline.
How does the dentist calculate the plaque score? First the dentist will count your number of teeth and multiply that number by four to account for the tooth surfaces at the gum line (cheek side, tongue side, front and back). Then they will note the number of surfaces where plaque is visible.
The results can be expressed as a percentage so for example if you have 25 teeth x 4 surfaces, that is 100 surfaces and 5 surfaces had evidence of plaque, then your plaque score would be 5%. Anything below 10% is considered good. The average among adults is around 23%.
Another way, the Turesky plaque scoring index method, also records the degree of plaque on each tooth and uses a scale of 1 to 5 for each tooth surface showing the level of plaque.
Score Measure used to determine plaque score
1 No plaque.
2 A thin continuous band of plaque (up to one mm) at the cervical margin of the tooth.
3 A band of plaque wider than one mm but covering less than one-third of the crown of the tooth.
4 Plaque covering at least one-third but less than two-thirds of the crown of the tooth.
5 Plaque covering two-thirds or more of the crown of the tooth.
So with the Turesky scoring method, if you have 25 teeth, with 100 surfaces and 3 surfaces showed a score of 3, and the rest of the surfaces show no plaque with a score of 1 … You will add 3+3+(97) and divide by 100. The result is 0.97 which is excellent.
0.0 – 1.0 Excellent oral hygiene
1.0 – 1.5 Good oral hygiene
1.5 – 2.00 Fair oral hygiene
2.0 – upwards Poor oral hygiene.
Your plaque score is easy to remember between visits and it is one of the parameters I am always setting out to improve. I have managed improvement over the last 3 visits, but this last visit, since using the Soladey Rhythm 2 ‘sonic, ionic’ brush, my plaque score has shown the most dramatic improvement and has put me well into the healthiest bracket. My plaque score down to less than 10% from 17%.
Actually I had my last dental clean with the hygienist on 08.05.21 and started using the Rhythm 2 toothbrush on 09.07.21 and just had my last dental inspection on 13.08.21, so I have only been using the Rhythm 2 for just over one month.
What a huge difference it has made in all of my dental health scores! My next clean with the hygienist is on 27.08.21 and I will continue using this brush up to the next clean and beyond. Actually it will be my next set of scores probably in early 2022, that I am intensely looking forward to, because I will have carried on using the Rhythm 2 toothbrush from over six months by then and I will be able to finish evaluating how well it cleans the teeth and restores great dental health.
If I have made such a massive improvement over the course of 5 weeks of using this brush, then by carrying on with it straight after a clean – what will my next plaque score be? I am hoping for way less than 10%!
3. Next ask if there is any bleeding of the gums and for the percentage or score. Bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis. Your dentist or hygienist will check the gum health by probing at 4 locations around each tooth. The percentage is calculated by dividing the areas which bleed by those that do not.
1-5% Acceptable: But keep up the effort to maintain this level of health! It is very easy to relax plaque control methods and allow infection to develop
6-10% Nearly there: More control methods are required to reduce risks
11-20% Medium risk of serious gum problems and tooth loss
20-30% A definite risk of serious gum problems and tooth loss. Periodontal treatment and hygiene advice necessary
30%+ Serious risk of gum problems and tooth loss. Periodontal treatment needed urgently
Some dentists use another gum bleeding scale of 1 to 4
1 indicates you have some bleeding from the edges of the gums
2 shows the addition of hardened plaque
3 is indicative of borderline gum disease
4 the presence of gum disease
4. The dentist will look under your tongue and around your mouth for signs of mouth cancer and feel your cheeks and your glands. However it can be difficult to detect areas of abnormal cells just by looking at your mouth, so it’s possible that a small cancer or precancerous lesion could go undetected. Some dentists use more advanced types of lighting that distinguish between healthy and unhealthy flesh.
5. The dentist will be honest with you. The most common cause of bad breath can be caused by bacteria on the tongue, more so at the back of the tongue. So do make a point of brushing over the tongue. I have found that with the fast and gentle vibrations of the Rhythm 2 toothbrush that tongue brush is faster and less ticklish that with other toothbrushes and I am more than happy to incorporate a tongue clean into my toothbrushing routine. I think that cleaning with a brush gives better results than scrapping the tongue.
6. Are there any signs of bruxism? Sometimes when we sleep we grind or clench our teeth without being aware of it. It can cause the teeth to wear down, cause pain or clicking in the jaw, cut the inside of the cheeks and even break teeth. If your dentist suspects this, ask if it could help for you to see your doctor.
7. Do you need to use interdental brushes and if so which sizes? You might need more than one size. These little brushes are essential for cleaning in between the teeth at the gum line. While floss is great for cleaning in between the teeth, it is not very effected at the junction where two teeth nestle at the gum line. I use interdental brushes a few times a day especially after eating. If you need to use interdental brushes, get your hygienist to help you select the most appropriate sizes and how to use them effectively.
8. The answer will probably be yes, as there is no other way to clean the sites in between the teeth. I use silk floss (Radius or Dental Lace) and flossing has certainly been easier since using Rhythm 2. Remember the brush generates a microcharge which is carried around the mouth by the saliva. The charge reverses the polarity of the teeth, ejecting plaque and biofilm. Saliva is present in between the teeth, so by using an ionic brush the teeth stay cleaner in between, and floss can slide more easily between the teeth without getting shredded on rough plaque or tartar.
9. Is there anything you can do to improve your teeth cleaning techniques? Bring your toothbrush to the dentist with you and show the hygienist how you use it. They might have some tips for using better angles – directed at 45 degrees to the gum line, or how to rock or roll the brush to reach difficult to access tooth surfaces. I try to spend 5 seconds on each tooth and go back again if they don’t feel perfectly smooth and clean. I focus on cleaning the gum line area.
10. Ask your dentist to email you or print off your dental chart. It will show a diagram of your teeth, the recession depth, mobility score and any other issues. Anything that needs improvement will be marked in red. Keep your charts, focus on your trouble spots and compare the charts from visit to visit.
I have always advocated using a variety of toothbrushing methods, to prevent boredom and because there is no single method that does everything. However for now, until I come back with a chart with no red markings, I will continue to prioritise the use of my very effective Soladey Rhythm 2. I will still be using interdental brushes, flossing and I still like to use the miswak and olive sticks for their remineralisation power.
It finally feels great to have not just reached an equilibrium, but actually made significant improvement in my dental health. By knowing my scores and how I have improved, I am more motivated than ever. Having healthy teeth improves overall health. By having healthy teeth, I have reduced my chances of getting of a cancer, heart disease, dementia, respiratory infections, Alzheimer’s and a stroke – Also I should be able to keep all my teeth, have a natural smile, and not have to pay a fortune for implants, dentures and other invasive treatments.
If you are struggling with dental issues, especially plaque and tartar build up, gingivitis and periodontitis – please do join my ranks. Start with a thorough clean from your hygienist and begin your break through as soon as you can with this state of the art toothbrush. i started using this toothbrush one month after my clean and still managed to turn my dental health around. So just get started!
I am fortunate to have a really great dentist and an amazingly thorough hygienist. I use a private dentist, but I would hope that a NHS dentist could do all these tests for you and be happy to provide you with the data. While my dentist and dental hygienists can do great work, ultimately my dental health is my responsibility – I hope in turn that I can motivate others and provide the most effective resources.
Get the dental scores you deserve – Visit our Soladey Rhythm 2 page to find out more about this toothbrush and choose your colour!