Among plaque removal instruments, some instruments remove plaque more effectively than others, which leads to healthier gums. However, misuse of plaque removal tools can result in tooth damage and sensitivity. Regular and thorough brushing and flossing is what dental professionals suggest for effective plaque removal, besides regularly scheduled dental examinations.
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Plaque removal instruments such as electric toothbrushes are more effective in removing plaque -- in combination with certain brushing techniques -- than manual toothbrushes.
Air Polishing Devices
An air polishing device combines pressurised air, water and baking soda to remove plaque but can cause severe tooth root damage even over short periods of time, according to a 2003 "Journal of Clinical Periodontology." A better way to remove plaque with an air polishing device is to use a low abrasive powder such as an organic salt crystal, which is less damaging to the tooth, the study concluded.
Curettes, Sickles, Explorers
Dental instruments used for removing plaque require a trained hand to be an effective means in plaque removal. Sharp instruments and precise movements, such as rocking, rolling and pivoting, are needed. Although the instruments may be sold to a novice, improper home use can harm the tooth and cause hypersensitivity.
Sonic, Ultrasonic Instruments
During the 1970s, studies found ultrasound vibrations destroyed bacteria that lead to plaque build-up. These instruments are air-turbine, hand-held instruments that spin at high revolutions. Ultrasonic instruments are electrical and use vibrations to remove plaque.
Round table toothpicks and triangular toothpicks, which are found in the dental hygiene section of a store, are effective in removing plaque, according to a 2005 study published in the "Journal of Clinical Periodontology" by Axel Bergenholtz, Assar Bjorne, Per-Olof Glantz and Bert Vikström. The triangular toothpicks are more effective at keeping gums healthier because they are flatter and slide between the teeth easier to remove more plaque than round table toothpicks.
A comparison of three types of dental floss found that dental tape was the most preferred and removed the most plaque. Waxed dental floss was the next most effective followed by unwaxed floss and superfloss, which combines three types of floss thread in one.
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- AIDS and HIV Research: The Effectiveness of Three Types of Dental Floss for Interdental Plaque Removal
- Sage Journals Online; Advances in Dental Research: Clinical Evidence for the Efficacy and Safety of Powered Toothbrushes
- "Journal of Periodontology"; Subgingival Plaque Removal at Interdental Sites Using a Low Abrasive Air Polishing Powder; Gregor J. Petersilka, Jochen Tunkel, Katerina Barakos, Achim Heinecke, Ingo Häberlein, and Thomas F. Flemmig; March 2003.
- West Virginia University Scholar: Knowledge and Utilization of Ultrasonic/Sonic Scaling Instruments; Janet Lucille Bee, R.D.H., B.A.
- Wiley Online Library; "Journal of Clinical Periodontolology: Plaque Removal by Various Triangular Toothpicks"; Axel Bergenholtz, Assar Bjorne, Per-Olof Glantz, Bert Vikström; December 2005