45 Degree Brushing – How To Think and Brush Like A Dentist
Having been a Dental Hygienist for 22 years, I can honestly say I spend most of my time teaching patients to brush properly and identify the signs and symptoms of gum disease. This usually involves the patient holding a mirror while I brush their teeth. I’ll then follow-up with a short exposé on how to brush and floss. I’m not teaching anything new or revolutionary, just 45 degree brushing and flossing below the gum line. Most patients aren’t familiar with these concepts, so I don’t expect them to be a master after one lesson. What I’m really after is changing the way they THINK about brushing and flossing. In basic terms, I want them to think like a dental professional, and see the teeth and gums with the mind’s eye as they brush.
Learning the Bass Method sounds simple, right? Well it’s not!
Some people step easily into the challenge, while others struggle. It’s like the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make em drink”. Dental patients are no different. I can show, explain, and demonstrate until I’m blue in the face, but in the end, it’s their choice, and their health will be determined by what they do at home. What I’ve learned over the years, is patients typically do well in the short term, but cycle back into their old habits after a few months, which is why 75% of the population has some form of the disease. What can I say, life gets in the way? They’re not looking down someone’s gullet for 8 hours every day like me, so my little dog and pony show rightly fades away. Consequently, six months later, we go through the process again. It’s my job and I’m happy to do it, but there must be a better way.
So I built a Toothbrush That Reinforces the BASS Method!
I built a toothbrush that reinforces everything I teach about brushing and ensures that when my patient’s pick it up, they will be reminded of the correct way to Think about brushing. Remember, I want them to think like a dentist when they brush. I want them to see the teeth with the mind’s eye. Now, I could go into the process of what it takes to make a toothbrush like this, but it would be a long boring read. So, for our purposes, just know that it’s very difficult, very slow, very expensive, and frowned upon by the competition. However, if you’re interested you can listen to the NPR story
The MD Brush
The first toothbrush designed to improve the psychology of brushing as it relates to the Bass Method. The brush has three features that are designed to help people Think and Brush like a dental professional.
The grip is over-sized compared to a standard manual toothbrush, but is designed to fit the average size human hand. I would argue that other brushes are too small and designed more for ease of manufacturing than functional ergonomics. Knowing what I now know about toothbrush manufacturing I can say this with some certainty. The MD Brush grip provides 4 flats for the thumb. When the thumb is placed on one of these flats, the brush head will be oriented at 45 degrees. This grip reminds the user, before they even pick it up, that they’re supposed to be brushing 45 degrees into the gum line, which is the first step in the Bass Method.
On the bottom of the brush are 4 lines. These lines are offset from the brush head by 45 degrees, therefore when viewed in the mirror these lines allow the patient to visually determine if they are brushing at 45 degrees. The lines should be arranged vertical and horizontal like looking through a rifle scope.
In a small study performed at the University of Texas School of Dentistry the MD Brush showed significant advantages when compared to a standard manual brush and was preferred by 80% of the hygienists who took part in the study. Additionally, the MD Brush holds a 5-star rating on Amazon, has been featured on NPR three times, and several dental publications. Amazon buyers state that although it took about two days to get used to the brush they will never go back to their old-style brush again. Some of these buyers have even replaced their sonic brushes in favor of the MD Brush.
Is the MD Brush a good fit for you? Only you will know for sure. But If you’re like me and you value understanding as well as health, then I think the MD Brush would be a good place to start. After all, once you understand what good brushing is, and what it feels like, it won’t matter what toothbrush you use, because you’ll be THINKING like a dental professional.
Watch this video to see how it works.