AJ Dental Group resident dentist, Dr Andrew Gough, offers his professional advice.
As experienced dentists, and with the range of treatments available to us at our Woking dental practice, we can now go a long way to restoring teeth that have become decayed or have broken. This is good news for anyone who has a dental problem, but many of these can often be avoided in the first case.
Although accidents can and do happen, and we can, to a large degree, reduce the number of problems that we have by being careful about what we eat and drink, a large part of preventative care still revolves around how our patients look after their teeth at home.
The truth is that keeping your teeth clean and healthy is not difficult and doesn’t take much time at all. Despite this, some people take less than ideal care when doing this. Below, we offer a brief and simple, yet important guide to looking after your teeth at home.
This is the very foundation of good home oral care. There really is no excuse not to brush your teeth twice a day, for a couple of minutes each time. Even if you do this though, there are a number of things that you should check that you are doing.
- Are you using a worn out toothbrush? If so, this will be less effective at removing bacteria and food. Make sure to change your brush every three months or even before if you notice the bristles becoming worn. The same applies to the head of an electric toothbrush.
- Angle the bristles towards the gums, both top and bottom. This helps them to reach into the gum pockets where bacteria and food can collect.
- Always use a fluoride toothpaste. Whilst most toothpastes contain this, some may not. Please check the label.
- Brush gently in a circular motion. There is no need to ’scrub’ your teeth hard and doing so is likely to lead to enamel wear and sensitive teeth.
- Check that you really are spending two minutes brushing. Set a timer and we suspect you may be surprised to find that you are actually falling short of this, even with the best of intentions.
- When you have finished, spit but don’t rinse with water. This enables the fluoride to have more effect.
- Never eat or drink anything but water after you have brushed your teeth at night.
Far too few people floss between their teeth. In fact, only around one in five of us in the UK do this, despite the fact that it is one of the simplest ways of helping to prevent gum disease. However well we brush our teeth (see above), there are still likely to be spaces that the bristles just won’t reach. Flossing is an effective way of keeping these spaces clean, and, although it may appear to be a little ‘fiddly’ at first, it is actually quite easy once you have got used to doing it. If you find it difficult, why not have a chat with our Woking dental hygienist who will be able to show you how to floss correctly.
Taking better care of your teeth at home will improve your oral health but this doesn’t mean that problems won’t arise. Not all of these may be corrected through better brushing and you will still need to be supervised by one of the dentists at the AJ Dental Group. A regular six monthly check up is essential so that any problems that do arise can be treated in their early stages. This is better for your teeth and less stressful, especially if you are nervous patient.
In addition to seeing your local dentist, we also strongly recommend that you see our hygienists on a similar basis. This is sometimes seen as an ‘add on’ by patients and avoided. Your hygienist visits will guide you towards better practises for a healthy mouth and they will also professionally clean your teeth and gum line for you, a procedure known as a ‘scale and polish’ which reduces the risk of gum disease. Children especially can benefit from these visits as it is a great opportunity for them to understand the importance of looking after their teeth and how best to do it.
All of the above is very simple advice, yet essential aspects of good oral health care at home. Working together, we can help you to keep your mouth in good health and your teeth as strong and long lasting as possible, hopefully well into your later years.
If you live in the Woking area and would like to find out more about our practice and the treatments that we offer, both general and cosmetic, you can arrange a consultation to see one of our dental team by calling the AJ Dental Group on 01483 766355.