We are blessed to get lots of questions from folks like you on topics related to oral health.
And while we do get really diverse questions about all sorts of oral health issues, questions around how to correctly brush our teeth are among the most common we receive from our readers.
While we love to dive into interesting, important and sometimes obscure topics like how oil pulling helps heal leaky gut and how smiling contributes to greater immune expression, today let’s go back to basics and discuss one of the most frequently asked questions we get around how to brush our teeth.
How to remove plaque from the inside of the lower front teeth.
Q: “I find it really difficult to clean the inner side of my lower front teeth. How can I get plaque off of these teeth?”
This is perhaps the most common question we get on brushing.
First, it’s really, super common for plaque to accumulate on the inside surface of our lower front teeth. Let’s address why this happens before discussing how to remove the plaque.
Why plaque likes the lower front teeth…
The reason why plaque tends to get most established here is because these teeth are most washed by recently produced saliva from the salivary glands under our tongues.
You see, saliva is very mineral rich to help remineralize any surface decay on our teeth. Since the lower front teeth come into contact with this rich source of minerals first, some of the minerals are deposited there first.
To bring this discussion out of theory and into real time use, notice right now while you’re reading this that there is most likely a small pool of saliva under your tongue. This saliva is essentially waiting to be used to support your oral health.
It’s up to us to move the saliva around our mouths to remineralize all our teeth rather than give the microbes hanging around our lower teeth such easy pickings for the minerals to build their plaque condos. We made a video tutorial called ‘Mouth Probiotics’ that details how to use saliva to optimize our oral health.
The pH/plaque factor…
Second, the pH in our mouths plays a substantial role in how much of the available minerals are deposited on our teeth as plaque and how much of these minerals in saliva actually repair our teeth. Ideally, we want our saliva right around neutral, 6.8-7.0. This ideal range provides the best environment to balance our oral flora.
When saliva pH tends to be more acidic, in the 5.0-6.0 range, this environment supports different species of microbes that tend to be less friendly to our health.
Here’s an article devoted to pH and how to manage it titled ’Tracking your saliva pH – How to know you are heading in the right direction‘.
How to remove plaque from lower front teeth…
The simple answer is ‘however you can’, but you know us, we like to offer more support than just leaving you hanging to figure it out on your own…
Let’s discuss how to clean along the gum line as well as how to clean the rest of the tooth surface on this hard-to-reach area.
Getting the gum line clean on the inside of lower front teeth.
It can be pretty tricky to use Bass brushing on this surface. Unless you have a really wide dental arch (lucky you), it can be tough to get your toothbrush to lay at the correct angle to use the Bass technique as we’ve taught it.
However, you can Bass brush this surface if you use just the tip of your brush rather than try to fit the whole brush head laying on its side in your mouth. Using just the front tip of your Bass brush, wiggle the bristles into the gum line along these few front teeth where it’s difficult to get the whole brush head angled correctly.
Remember, Bass brushing is all about wiggling bristles to disrupt and disorganize not-particularly-friendly bacteria that like to colonize along and under the gum line. And while the purpose of this step isn’t specifically to remove plaque, because we are disrupting the bugs at the gum line, we will reduce plaque accumulation there as well.
Also, keep in mind that not all brushes will function well like this. Our Bass brushes are specifically designed to be used with the Bass brushing technique.
Like we discussed above, plaque (especially mature plaque) definitely can provide a fortress for the ‘bad bugs’ to increase their populations (bad news). A recent article titled, Understanding the root cause of tooth decay and gum disease, explains how the microbes in an environment are the heavy hitters that ‘control the playing field’. When plaque matures, the types of microbes shift from a healthy balance of microbes to an environment dominated and controlled by ‘bad bugs’.
So, we want to take actions that help us to be a good conductor and balance our oral flora.
Getting the inside of your lower front teeth clean
Now that we’ve gotten the plaque off of our gum line, let’s shift to cleaning the plaque off of the rest of this surface.
Again, this can be tricky, especially if you have any misaligned lower front teeth.
To help give you a visual of the position we want to use with our toothbrush, do you remember when you were a kid and your parent wanted to take your temperature?
When I was a kid, my mom would stick the end of the thermometer under my tongue and tell me to gently close my mouth. The image is having my lower jaw stuck forward a bit and a thermometer angled up and out of my mouth.
The game to successfully removing plaque from the inside of the lower front teeth is to put the tip of the brush angled down under your tongue and have the brush handle sticking up out of your mouth, just like my thermometer story.
Brush the length of the teeth up and down using small motions (exactly opposite of the normal Bass method where we go ‘back and forth’) until you don’t feel plaque on these teeth when you run your tongue along them. This up-and-down motion helps get the bristles along the vertical spaces between our teeth.
Speaking of your tongue, use it regularly to feel around and locate any plaque. Our tongues are great ‘plaque detectors’, and we can use them to find any spots we have missed or have not brushed effectively.
Remember, it’s not so much about getting your whole mouth clean in less than 2 minutes. Be willing to give the inside of the lower front teeth the attention necessary to keep this area clean. Doing so will help the whole mouth stay healthier.
Stay tuned for our thoughts around other common oral hygiene questions.
Was this helpful for you? What do you do to keep your lower front teeth clean? Please share with us in the comments below so we can all continue to improve our health together.
Helpful, Related Resources:
Can oil pulling help heal leaky gut? [article]
Smile your way to greater health and happiness [article]
Mouth Probiotics [free video tutorial]
Tracking your saliva pH [article]
Bass toothbrushes [product solution]
Understanding the root cause of tooth decay and gum disease [article]
How to balance your oral flora [article]
How long should I brush my teeth? [Q&A article]