VISIT YOUR DENTAL HYGIENIST AND DENTIST REGULARLY
Your dentist and dental hygienist are experts you can trust. Regular visits will help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy. With regular visits, problem areas will be identified and treated before severe damage is done.
Work together with your dental hygienist and your dentist to keep your teeth strong and healthy for life and keep you looking good and feeling great!
Daily brushing, flossing, a sensible diet and regular dental and dental hygiene check-ups are all essential to maintain oral health. Bacteria in dental plaque (that ‘furry stuff’ that builds up on all our teeth) react with the food and drink we consume to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The acid softens tooth enamel and this lead to cavities. Plaque also produces toxins that can irritate the gums leading to gum disease.
There are some simple things that you can do to minimise the harmful effects of dental plaque:
Step 1: Flossing
Did you know that brushing only cleans just over half the tooth surfaces in your mouth? That is why you need to clean between your teeth with dental floss every day.
Take about 40-45cm of floss/tape and wind the floss around the middle finger of each hand (all on one finger and a little on the other finger) and grip floss firmly with index finger and thumb.
Guide the floss gently and carefully between teeth using a back and forth motion. (Avoid snapping the floss and cutting the gum).
Curve the floss around the tooth, like a “C” shape and gently guide floss up and down each side of tooth to remove plaque. Don’t forget to floss behind the very last tooth.
Start in one corner of your mouth and methodically work your way between all teeth. Then do the same with the other jaw. Floss a couple of teeth then move the floss along so you are using a new section of floss.
If your gums bleed or feel tender after flossing don’t be alarmed. Just be careful. Don’t rush it. You will soon get proficient and comfortable with the technique. The gums often take a little time to become accustomed to flossing.
If bleeding persists, after a week of daily flossing, it could be a sign of gum disease – gingivitis or periodontitis. You should see your dental hygienist or dentist.
What type of floss should I use?
Your dental hygienist or dentist may recommend a particular floss, tape, super floss or interdental brushes to clean between the teeth.
Step 2: Effective brushing
The three things to remember are:
- Use a system. Start in one corner, say the upper right last tooth. Work your way around the outside of all your top teeth to the last tooth on the upper left. Then go back to the last upper right tooth and start cleaning the inside (or palate side), working your way around the outside of all your top teeth to the last tooth on the upper left. Then repeat the process with your lower teeth. It does take time!
- Brush enough times. You should brush your teeth for at least 2-3 minutes, morning and night, even if you use a electric tooth brush.
- If you do this in front of the bathroom mirror, in good light, you will get better results.
If you are too busy or rushed, the most important time is last thing at night, before you go to bed.
The most effective technique:
Outer / Inner surfaces:
Place your toothbrush at a 45∞ to the gum line where the teeth and the gum meet. Brush gently and thoroughly by moving the brush back and forth in short strokes, then roll the brush away from the gumline.
Behind the front teeth:
Tilt the toothbrush (as pictured) and use the “toe” of the brush for behind these teeth.
Always brush your tongue after brushing your teeth.
When you have finished, spit out the toothpaste froth but do not rinse out your mouth.
What type of toothbrush should I use ?
Use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. Replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months or sooner if bristles are splayed out.
Electric toothbrushes are an excellent oral hygiene aid. We can supply you with a range of these at very reasonable prices. Please talk to our hygienist about which model is right for you.
Step 3: The right toothpaste
This is largely a matter of personal preference. We suggest that you
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste
- Use a desensitising toothpaste if you have sensitive teeth
- Reliable brands include Colgate, Aim, Oral B, MacLeans, Sensodyne
Step 4: Mouthwash
These products are generally unnecessary. However, if you are at high risk for dental decay or gum disease, you may benefit from daily fluoride or chlorhexidine mouthwashes. Please discuss with your dentist or hygienist to find out what is right for you.
Step 5: Diet and dental health
You can reduce the risk of decay by eating healthy foods. Plaque reacts with sugar present in some food and drinks to make acid. If left on the teeth, this acid attacks the tooth enamel and causes cavities.
We suggest avoiding sweet food an drinks (including fruit juice). Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and eat foods rich in fibre. If you do eat sweets, make them a very occasional treat.
Sugar frequency is the root of the problem. The more often you have a small sweet treat, the greater the risk to your dental health.