Here are eight great tips for healthy teeth that will always help keep your smile in tip-top condition. Just eight pointers can help avoid a whole catalogue of dental woes, and they’re so simple it’s almost embarrassing blogging about them.
Surely everyone should know, shouldn’t they? Sadly, we must confess that many of the problems we see daily are because over the years these disciplines have been ignored or forgotten.
We’re not preaching – of course, we are all prone to be a little ‘naughty’ when it comes to our teeth. Even dentists eat too many sweets and with the famed Teddy Grays’ herbal sweet factory literally on our doorstep in North Street, Dudley, the temptation is just too much.
We were prompted to run this article after we stumbled on a piece by the Oral Health Foundation when we recently marked National Smile Week. We thought it summed up in simple steps what we try to instil into all our patients at North Street Dental.
1. Twice a day brushing
While the most obvious of our tips this is undoubtedly the most important. Nearly a quarter of adults in the UK don’t brush their teeth twice daily.
However, regular brushing stops the bacterial build-up of plaque. Studies have shown that even missing one brushing session can start the process of forming cavities. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes to keep your teeth plaque free.
2. Correct brushing technique
Brushing technique is just as important as brushing. One of the most common mistakes we make is missing areas of the mouth. When brushing you need to ensure that every tooth is cleaned and that we clean the total surface area of the tooth.
When you’re in a hurry, it can be easy to skim over areas, but this often leaves plaque on the teeth and along the gum line leading to cavities and gingivitis. Also, be careful not to brush your teeth too hard as you can damage your gums.
3. Use the right toothbrush
You need to make sure you are using the right tools for the job. Toothbrushes come with different thickness and strength bristles. Small-headed brushes are widely regarded as the best as they allow you to reach everywhere in your mouth more easily. In terms of bristles softer tend to be better – ideally with rounded heads to prevent aggravation of the gums. Both manual and electric toothbrushes will do the job.
4. Replace your toothbrush regularly
We’ve all used a toothbrush past its best. Once the bristles start to lose their strength and you have a spread occurring it is already past time to replace your brush. Our best tip is to buy multiple brushes/brush heads and always have one spare in the bathroom cabinet. Using a brush past its sell-by date makes it more likely that you will miss areas of your mouth while brushing and that plaque will not be removed efficiently.
5. Use floss
No matter how good your brushing is, you cannot reach every area between your teeth. Regular flossing helps remove plaque and food that builds up between your teeth. The build-up of plaque along the gum line is one of the leading causes of gum disease. Daily flossing helps remove plaque and prevent gum disease.
6. Quit smoking
According to research, smokers are four times more likely to suffer from gum diseases than non-smokers. One of the other effects of smoking is staining on the teeth due to the nicotine and tar in the tobacco.
Our diets are the leading cause of tooth decay. The big enemy here is fizzy drinks – as many of us now drink these all day. Drink sugary or fizzy drinks irregularly to avoid cavities. Your health and your mouth will thank you.
Try to avoid foods with high sugar content such as chocolate and sweets. The bacteria contained in the plaque feeds on sugar in foods. Acids are created in about 20 seconds and last for about 30 minutes, and it’s those acids that can destroy out tooth enamel over time.
Sugar-free gum is also a great help in creating saliva to help neutralise harmful acids after eating. You can read about the benefits of sugar-free gum in our blog post.
8. Visit the dentist regularly
Regular dental visits are important because they help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. During check-ups, dentists will assess your overall oral health for any trouble areas. Early intervention can head off heaps of dental trouble.
So there we have it. In reality, these tips for healthy teeth won’t address all of the dental issues in the world, but they would go a long way to solving some.
It’s unfair, isn’t it, that while one person who ignores their oral hygiene needs serious amounts of restoration and gum therapy, while another may escape with a good dental clean and a few fillings when they finally get around to seeing the dentist.
Often it’s our DNA that can chart the health and longevity of our native teeth, but there’s never any harm in doing all we can to keep them healthy.
If you want advice on your oral health or you are experiencing dental problems book in at our surgery. Arrange a hygienist consultation today.