Prevention: keeping teeth healthy

Prevention

 

There are many things we can do to prevent tooth decay, tooth loss or gum disease. Most of these things are simple adjustments we can make to our daily cleaning routine or our diet. We have listed below a guideline to what we recommend to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

 

Regular appointments

We recommend seeing the dentist every 6 months for a check up and the hygienist every 3 months for a routine scale and polish. By keeping your appointments regular we can notice things as they begin to change, catching decay, recession or gum disease early will give us a better chance at fixing the problem easily without having to do anything too complicated.

 

No smoking

Smoking can seriously increase your chances of gum disease, bone loss and cancers. Gum disease and smoking is also thought to be linked to heart disease. It will also stain your teeth considerably. Smoking cessation clinics are available locally to help you stop.

 

Diet

Even if you brush your teeth after each meal, the snacks you eat between meals could still cause decay. Good snacks to eat between meals include non-citrus fruits such as apples, pears and peaches, fibrous raw vegetables such as carrots and celery, unflavoured crisps, low fat cheese, water and milk and unsweetened yoghurts.

Bad snacks to eat between meals include sweets and other confectionery, biscuits and cakes, carbonated drinks and pure citrus fruit juices, tea and coffee with sugar, raw citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges and processed foods containing hidden sugars such as ketchup, flavoured crisps and tinned products. These snacks are best left to meal times. Also if drinking a carbonated drink or pure citrus fruit juice with a meal, we recommend drinking it through a straw. If you have sugar in your tea or coffee, try changing it to an artificial sweetener.

If you like to chew gum between meals you should make sure it is a sugar free gum.

 

Tooth brushing

Many of us may feel we are brushing correctly. However this is not the case. Many people do not remove all the plaque from their teeth effectively. We recommend brushing twice a day. However, you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating. This is because your teeth are much softer after eating and brushing and using abrasive toothpaste can damage your teeth.

If you prefer to use a manual toothbrush we recommend a small head with soft to medium bristles. A gentle rotary action is the best method of brushing as using a vigorous sawing action can result in abrasive cavities developing.

If you prefer to use an electric toothbrush we recommend the Philips Sonicare toothbrush. This type of toothbrush is the easiest to use. All you need to do is position the toothbrush head on the margin between the gum and tooth and let the brush do the rest of the work.

Toothbrushes should be replaced every couple of months as the bristles will become ineffective.

 

Interdental cleaning

Cleaning in between your teeth helps remove any plaque or food debris that is lodged there. We advise cleaning in between your teeth at least once a day, ideally on an evening. There are many interdental cleaners on the market such as tepes, tepe angles, floss, flossers, wooden sticks, kitty waterjet and most recently the Airfloss by Philips.

We recommend floss/flossers or the tepes. If using tepes we will advise you on the sizes you need to clean in between your teeth. However, if you find it difficult getting the floss or tepes in between your teeth the Airfloss by Philips is a great new design. You can add water or mouthwash to the reservoir then it will flush out the debris between your teeth.

 

Toothpaste

There are a wide variety of toothpastes available on the market.  We advise using toothpaste that contains fluoride as this will increase the tooth’s resistance to acid attacks. We recommend Colgate total or Oral B pro-expert as an every day tooth paste.

If you suffer from sensitivity changing to sensitive toothpaste such as Colgate pro-relief can help. If there is one tooth or area that is particularly worse then rubbing the sensitive toothpaste in to the area for around a minute can help reduce the pain and discomfort you are feeling.

When you have finished cleaning your teeth you should just spit out any excess toothpaste. Try not to rinse as this can remove the fluoride from your teeth.