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Dental Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential in preventing an array of dental problems including tooth decay, gum disease and dental erosion. Brushing your teeth both morning and night is helpful, but won’t have a profound effect on its own. Here are a few more things you can do to keep your teeth healthy and handsome.

Brushing Technique

It is crucial that you brush your teeth at least twice per day - after breakfast and before bed. Make sure to spend at least 2 minutes brushing your teeth, gently but thoroughly cleaning the inside, outside and biting surfaces of each tooth. Aim the bristles directly at the gum line, as this where plaque will form, rather than on the top of your teeth. Brushing in a circular motion cleans away as much plaque from the gums as possible.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

When you choose your toothbrush, ensure you get a brush with a small head to allow easy access to the back teeth. Soft bristles are also recommended as they are kinder on your gums.

Bristles on your toothbrush will become frayed and worn over time, so replace the toothbrush (or brush head if you use an electric toothbrush) every three months.

As for toothpaste, it’s best to choose a fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride hardens tooth enamel, reducing risk of tooth decay. For children under 6, choose a low-fluoride version and use only a tiny smear – about the size of a grain of rice – when they are under 3, gradually increasing to an amount about the size of a pea from 3-6.

Cleaning Between Teeth

Floss at least once a day after brushing to remove plaque between your teeth. Slowly and gently run a piece of floss (which resembles a cotton thread or string) between your teeth in a sawing motion.

Dental tape has become a popular option recently for beginners, as the tape (a wide, flat ribbon of nylon thinner than standard floss) fits easily between the teeth.

Will we do believe that flossing works well, we believe that intra-oral brushes work best for a more thorough clean

If you’re unsure how to clean between your teeth, come in and talk to us and we can help you decide!

Diet

Reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar you consume (whether it be sugary food like lollies or biscuits, or drinks like fruit juice or soft drinks), as sugar converts to acid inside your mouth and dissolves minerals in tooth enamel, causing decay and eventually cavities (holes) in your teeth. Acidic foods and drinks can have a similar effect, causing tooth erosion which in turn causes tooth sensitivity, discoloration and cracks over time.

To limit your intake of these things, eat a healthy, balanced diet. Wholegrain and sugar-free foods as well as fresh fruit and vegetables are recommended, while you should avoid soft drinks, sports drinks cordials, wine and fruit juices (whole fruit is much healthier, as fruit juice can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar!). Water, milk or tea (without sugar or honey) are healthy drinks you can have.

You can also help your body fight bacteria by eating sour or tart foods such as limes, lemons, cherries and cranberries, as they promote saliva production.

More Tips

Rinse your mouth after each meal to help kill germs, or even water to wash away food debris in your mouth.

Clean your tongue regularly as it removes plaque full of bacteria which can cause bad breath. Some chemists will sell special plastic tongue scrapers for precisely this purpose, but a regular toothbrush can equally effective.

Try to avoid cracking nuts, opening plastic packages or even removing a bottle top with your teeth, as each of these things carry a risk of chipping or breaking your teeth. Use your teeth only for chewing