True preventive care works best when you and your dentist are working together to maintain your oral health. Attending regular 6 monthly check-up and cleans will certainly improve your oral health, but this works far better when it’s complemented by a good at-home routine.
Everyone knows you should brush your teeth daily; in the morning and just prior to bed if possible. But did you know you should wait for half an hour after eating before you brush? Immediately after eating, the enamel on your teeth has been softened by acids in the foods. If you brush them immediately, you will effectively brush away the enamel, which is meant to protect your teeth. Instead, wait half an hour for your saliva to neutralise the acid in your food, allowing your enamel to reharden, and then brush. Also, try to brush smarter, not harder. Scrubbing at your teeth can cause irreversible damage to them. You’re best to do it in a circular motion, gently massaging the gumlines. When it comes to technique, gentler is better; slow down, concentrate on brushing all accessible surfaces of all your teeth and overlap onto the gums slightly to give them a gentle massage. Finally, spit out any excess toothpaste, but don’t rinse after brushing so the toothpaste has time to strengthen the surface of the tooth.
Many people ask us if they should use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. The honest answer is either will work well or poorly depending on whether it’s used well or poorly. We recommend a softer brush with a smaller head as it’s easier to navigate tight spaces in your mouth. If you’re unsure whether you have the right toothbrush and toothpaste, or you’re wondering whether your brushing technique is correct, ask us for some tips at your next appointment!
Is flossing really necessary? You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep, once a day! Now that we have that sorted, let’s talk technique. When flossing, your aim should not be to “saw” back and forth; instead, you should simply be trying to wipe the surfaces in between the two teeth. Of course, the sawing motion may be necessary to ease the floss into a tight space, but once that’s complete, revert to “wiping”.
Some people only floss their teeth to remove any food debris which they can feel stuck between their teeth. It goes far beyond this though. Flossing between all your teeth will help to disturb the plaque which has built up between them, and along the gumlines. Plaque leads to gum inflammation, and tooth decay, so by flossing regularly and correctly, you can help to keep these at bay. Gum inflammation can eventually lead to gum disease, which has been linked with poorer outcomes in a whole raft of other diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Some patients say they don’t like to floss as it makes their gums bleed. Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing are one of the first signs of gum disease or gingivitis. If you’re struggling with the old “string” floss, perhaps you might wish to consider using interdental brushes (eg Piksters) or a waterflosser.
If you’re unsure if your flossing technique is correct, or you’re wondering if a waterflosser could be the right choice for you, talk to your dentist at your next appointment.
For many people, mouthwash isn’t actually a necessary part of their at-home maintenance routine. Further to this, it’s definitely not an alternative to flossing. If you do use it as part of your routine, we recommend that you consider using it at a different time of day from when you brush your teeth. When you rinse with mouthwash immediately after brushing, you can rinse all of the toothpaste residue from your teeth, which cuts the effectiveness of its benefits to your teeth. You could consider brushing in the morning and evening, and using a mouthwash in the middle of the day.
If you’re unsure which mouthwash – if any – you should be using, talk to your dentist at your next appointment.
At Dental On Clarke, we are passionate about educating our patients on how they can achieve great oral and overall health. We work with each patient as a unique individual, and take the time to assess your situation properly so we can provide you with personalised advice and care. To request your consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable dentists, contact us today.