Here are some quick-fire dental tips, aimed at helping you keep a healthy mouth. Some are obvious tips, but there is no harm in being reminded! Also, these are shortened snippets only.
For further, more in-depth advice, click on the links that will take you to the relevant articles on the site.
As always, if you have any problems or concerns, get to your dentist for advice!
- Brush! Of course this is obvious, but so many people don’t brush their teeth properly. Make sure you are! Always clean twice-daily using a fluoride toothpaste and ensuring you use a proper technique.
- Diet. What you eat and drink, and how frequently, has a huge bearing on your risk of tooth decay. Cut down on sugary foodstuffs. Reduce snacking to give your teeth chance to recover between meals.
- Floss, as brushing alone will leave up to 2/3 of the tooth surfaces untouched. You wouldn’t take a shower and only wash two thirds of your body! There are other ways to clean between the teeth, as well as traditional floss. Use a floss threader or consider an oral irrigator if you struggle with traditional floss.
- Mouthwash, although not as important as regular brushing and flossing, using mouthwash is a beneficial addition for dealing with many oral problems. Those with gum disease, an increased risk of decay or wearing braces are amongst those who can greatly benefit from using a mouthwash. There are different types so use whichever is best for your needs.
- Fluoride, if you are at high risk of dental decay, consider taking an extra source of fluoride (for example from a mouthwash) and make sure your toothpaste has a high concentration of fluoride.
- Sugar-free gum is a great decay-buster. Especially when used after eating, it will help reduce acid attack and therefore reduce the risk of tooth decay.
- Regular visits to your dentist- as only he or she can spot potential problems before they cause damage. Don’t ever assume that everything is alright, just because you have no pain in your mouth. Many common dental problems, like decay and gum disease, will often only become obvious when there is severe damage.
- Don’t delay any dental treatment if your dentist prescribes it. If you do need any treatment, delaying this will only make the matter worse. A tooth that needs a ‘routine’ filling, left for too long, may end up needing an extraction or root treatment.
- Diet drinks, although seemingly a healthier option, can cause tooth erosion. Don’t think they aren’t harmful for your teeth just because they don’t contain sugar.
- Electric toothbrushes, for some, can lead to a much better level of oral care. Note that a manual toothbrush is adequate for most,if used properly. But going electric does have certain advantages.
- Pay particular attention to any dental prosthetics, like implants, dentures and bridges. These need to be kept clean to prevent damage to adjacent teeth and gums. And also to ensure that these treatments last as long as possible.
- Orthodontic appliances can make cleaning the teeth more complicated. In order to prevent damage to the teeth when wearing braces, a tooth-kind diet and excellent oral hygiene are vital.
- Disclosing tablets are a great way to check how well you are keeping your teeth clean.
- Don’t rinse after brushing, as this will wash away the fluoride, which we want to linger around the teeth to help keep them strong. Spit, but don’t rinse
- Clean your tongue as part of your oral hygiene routine, as ‘bad’ bacteria can gather here. You may even get a gross black tongue, especially if you smoke. You don’t need to scrub it too hard though!
- Hold on! After eating or drinking something sweet or acidic, wait before you brush. It may seem counter-intuitive, but don’t brush your teeth for around 30 minutes. Instead, rinse your mouth with water, milk or a mouthwash, or chew sugar-free gum. Waiting for this time will allow the harmful acid levels to reduce, so you are less likely to damage the enamel by brushing.
- If you smoke, then try stopping. Smoking does so much harm to your mouth. It’s never to late to give up. There is lots of help out there for those willing to try.
- Go easy the alcohol. Lots of alcoholic drinks contain high levels of sugar and/or can be very acidic. Alcohol also dries out the mouth, leading to higher risk of damage.
- If you have dry mouth, do not put it down to ageing. Seek advice to help reduce the potential damage this can cause
- Dont ignore bleeding gums. Take it as a sign to get to your dentist!
- If you are considering teeth whitening, speak to your dentist first.
- If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a night-guard to protect your pearly whites.
- Parents, start cleaning junior’s teeth as soon as they start to poke through.
- Denture-wearers– keep your dentures clean and take them out at night.
- Even if you have no teeth.. Attend your dentist for yearly check-ups. The benefits include screening for any early signs of oral cancer.
- Think again if you’re considering oral piercings. They can do a lot of damage, including wearing tooth enamel and stripping gums away.
- Talk to your dentist if you have bad breath. This can be a sign of gum disease or cavities. Don’t be embarrassed as dentists deal with it every day.
If you have any tips you’d like to share, let us know!