It’s often assumed that dentists, especially with my TV role as the Embarrassing Bodies Dentist, are most interested in large, complex treatments. Actually, preventing problems and keeping your mouth healthy is what general dentistry is all about and a large role in this is played by YOU!
Here some top tips on how to look after your teeth!
Brushing sounds easy, but too many of us do it wrong. Teeth should be brushed with a small, circular action. Try and brush in an ordered sequence and it’s best to start with the inside of the teeth. Take one tooth at a time and angle the head of the toothbrush 45 degrees to make sure that you don’t miss anywhere. Make sure that you brush right up to where your teeth meet your gums, as this is where a lot of plaque builds up.
Electric toothbrushes are a great way of making your job easier, as they do the some of these actions for you, meaning that you can concentrate on covering each and every tooth.
Make sure you brush for 2 minutes. Divide your mouth into quarters and spend 30 seconds in each quarter.
Flossing can help to prevent the beginnings of decay and gingivitis by removing debris from the mouth. You need to use about 30cm of floss, winding the excess around your middle fingers to ensure it stays taut. You can place it over your first fingers when reaching your back teeth, and your first finger and thumb when doing the front.
Ease the floss between your teeth and gently “scrape” the floss up and down along each tooth. Make sure that you “curve” the floss around each tooth and go below the gum line to reach all trapped debris. Ideally, floss every day.
3. Watch your diet!
Sugary snacks or drinks are the main cause of dental decay.
Each time you eat sugar, you are feeding the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria’s waste products contain an acid and it’s this acid that attacks your tooth enamel, causing dental decay.
I’m not suggesting that you cut out all nice things BUT you should try to eat sugary treats at mealtimes rather than constant “grazing” during the day. This way you reduce the amount of time your teeth are under attack.
Chewing sugar-free gum after your meal or after any sugary foods does help. This is because chewing produces saliva which helps to neutralise the acid produced by the bacteria.
4. Visit the dentist!
Make sure you register with a dentist and go for regular check-ups. This helps us to catch any problems early, when treatment is likely to be more simple.
How often you should attend for check-ups varies from person to person. It depends on a range of factors such as age, medical conditions, diet and current / historical health of your teeth and gums. For adults, this can range between three months and two years.
I hope this helps!