We all know that it’s important to brush regularly and to visit the dentist every 6-12 months in order to maintain good oral health. However, it’s not just about brushing and dental visits, it’s crucial to keep good oral hygiene and in fact you can have good teeth but poor oral health which in turn can affect your teeth.
So how do we keep our oral health in check, as well as our teeth?
Flossing is sometimes avoided by patients because it can be laborious and slow but also painful for those with sore gums. However, interdental brushes are a good alternative with a slightly softer approach. Although they are only useful for those with gaps between teeth, whereas flossing can be used with extremely small narrow gaps between teeth, which brushes wouldn’t help with.
The choice of interdental brushes though is wide with many sizes available, as well as angled brushes for convenience and to reach those harder areas. Ultimately, flossing and brushing is the best way to remove debris that gets trapped between teeth.
We’re not suggesting you go on a diet but rather change your diet to include less sugar and more foods which are considered teeth friendly. Food such as cheese for example, is a great palette cleanser but also acts as a way to fight bacteria and neutralise the acid from other foods, by creating saliva.
Vegetables and nuts and fruits are of course good from a health standpoint anyway but it’s recommended to not just consider your diet because of your weight but also to include your dental health as part of that consideration. Red wine and full sugar sodas are still one of the key contributors to causing cavities simply because people tend not to think about it. But wine in particular contains a lot of sugar and can stain and strip enamel from your teeth. Pop of course, is even worse, with up to 40 teaspoons of sugar in each bottle.
Fluoride has been given a bad name in some countries, particularly in the US, but the fact is fluoride is important as a key component of effective toothpaste. We need fluoride in our toothpaste to help strengthen weak areas of our teeth and to prevent tooth decay. It does this by helping enamel stay strong and protect against acid produced by food and drink over time.
It’s recommended to avoid drinking water or rinsing your mouth too much after brushing at night, simply because it can wash away the toothpaste and fluoride too quickly before it has time to set on your teeth, resulting in you losing out on the protection it can give. There are also different toothpastes available with varying amounts of fluoride content, however most big brand toothpastes contain the adequate amount.
Although we said it’s not all about brushing, it is important to ensure you are brushing efficiently and the fact is that electric toothbrushes are 100% more effective than using standard brushes. The speed and effect of the electric brush enables you to clean and remove plaque in ways you just can’t manage with a standard toothbrush. They are also ideal for managing conditions such as gum disease, with variations on the heads for sensitive brushing and sore gums and different speed options to be more gentle and to reduce swelling.
As well as the effectiveness of electric brushing, there’s also the choice in terms of head sizes, speed options, sensitivity choice and time management when brushing, to ensure you are spending the appropriate amount of time in each quadrant of your mouth, as well as giving you feedback on whether you are brushing too hard or for not long enough. With these factors in place, there’s no doubt that oral hygiene is improved significantly when using an electric toothbrush.
Not everyone uses mouthwash but it is certainly an effective way to help with gum disease and to keep a healthy mouth. However, some mouthwashes on the market contain quite a large amount of sugar which can be confusing considering they are supposed to be good for your oral health. However, dentists generally approve of the main brands, including Corsodyl which don’t contain sugar, as an option for cleaning your mouth in the evening.
The biggest mistake people make is to use mouthwash after brushing, which of course results in rinsing the mouth of the fluoride from the toothpaste. It’s recommended to use mouthwash at least 20-30 minutes after brushing but of course when brushing before bed, many people don’t want to get up again. It’s tricky but worthwhile using it on an intermittent basis. In fact many dentists suggest using mouthwash for maybe a period of a month at the most, but then to stop using it. This is because mouthwash can in fact cause staining on the teeth with prolonged use. So it’s recommended generally to only use it for 2-3 weeks at a time and then pause for a couple of months, so as to avoid any staining problems. Make no mistake though, mouthwash is an excellent way to clear bacteria and to help fight gum disease, alongside effective brushing.