What should your daily dental hygiene routine be?
Our advice is to follow a simple routine using toothbrushes, mouthwash, interdental brushes or tongue scrapers, which are all available from the practice.
As a result of improved oral hygiene and fluoride, more people are keeping their own teeth into old age but in order to continue to maintain healthy teeth and gums, a regime of brushing twice a day should be combined with interdental brushing – cleaning between the teeth, And using a tongue scraper.
Do Electric toothbrushes clean better?
Brush your mouth morning and night concentrating on all areas of your teeth and gums, using an electric toothbrush for maximum cleaning effect. Daily use of interdental brushes or floss helps remove plaque and tartar from in between your teeth. We recommend the use of a tongue scraper to remove any debris on your tongue.
We don't mind which brand you use as long as its rechargeable. If you don't yet use one we can guide you on which one would be best for you and ensure you are using it correctly.
Tests have shown that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque. Those with heads that rotate in both directions ('oscillating' heads) are the most effective. Anyone can use one. They are particularly useful for people with limited movement of the arm or hand, such as disabled or elderly people, who often find that using a normal toothbrush does not allow them to clean thoroughly.
Electric toothbrushes can also be better for children as they may be more likely to brush regularly because of the novelty of using one, although we follow minimum recommended age guidelines advised by our recommended brands.
With so many types readily available it can be confusing!
How do I brush my teeth?
Brushing removes plaque and bits of food from the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth.
Our dental hygienist team will explain and show you how best to clean your teeth, as individual mouths vary, but to give you an idea:
Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth, then tilt the bristle tips to a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of every tooth.
Brush the outer surface of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against your gumline.
Do this again, but on the inside surfaces of all your teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small, circular strokes with the front part of the brush.
Brush the biting surfaces of your teeth.
Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
How often should I brush my teeth?
Be sure to brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and at least one other time during the day.
If you regularly keep getting discomfort or bleeding after brushing you should seek advise.
How often should I change my Toothbrush?
Worn-out toothbrushes cannot clean your teeth properly and may damage your gums. It is important to change your toothbrush every two to three months, or sooner if the filaments become worn. When bristles become splayed, they do not clean effectively.
The importance of Interdental Cleaning
The major cause of tooth decay and gum disease is plaque. The formation of plaque is continuous and its growth cannot be stopped.
Whilst brushing controls plaque formation around the surfaces of your teeth, it does not reach between your teeth and that’s why interdental brushing once a day is so crucial.
Cleaning in between your teeth removes plaque and bits of food from between your teeth and under your gumline - areas a toothbrush can't reach. When flossing or using interdental brushes, keep to a regular pattern and remember not to miss any teeth. It helps to look in the mirror. Don't forget the backs of your last teeth. It is also very important to clean around the edges of any crowns, bridges or implants. You should clean between your teeth at least once a day. Your dental team can show you how to clean between your teeth properly.
As part of our dental hygienist visits, you will learn more about the right method of interdental brushing for you, and most importantly be shown how to do to ensure your home care routine is always as effective as possible.
Using Interdental brushes.
Interdental brushes come in various sizes. It may be helpful to ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct sizes for your mouth.
Hold the interdental brush between your thumb and forefinger. Gently place the brush through the gap between your teeth. Do not force the brush head through the gap. If the brush splays or bends then it is too big - you will need a smaller brush head for this space.
Are ‘oral irrigation’ devices useful?
Oral irrigators use a stream or jet of water to remove plaque and bits of food from around your teeth.
They can be particularly helpful if you wear an orthodontic appliance (‘brace') or a fixed bridge that is difficult to clean, or if you find it difficult to use interdental brushes or floss.
It’s all about the Toothpaste.
Toothpaste is only a means to an end. If you buy it and then are lazy about brushing your teeth, it won’t help!
Should I use a Fluoride toothpaste?
Yes, yes and yes. Fluoride helps to strengthen and protect teeth, which can reduce tooth decay in adults and children.
One of the basic decisions you’ll face in safeguarding your teeth is which toothpaste to use. Here’s a guide on what toothpaste you should use.
The science behind Toothpastes!
Whichever brand, it helps to understand the basic components of each product. Most major brands of toothpaste include abrasive agents. Don’t worry about that label, though. Abrasive agents are usually helpful.
Abrasive agents are the ingredients that cause the scratchy sensation when you brush your teeth. They’re silicates like hydrated silica, calcium carbonate, and hydrated alumina. Some of these materials are the same as sand, which sounds weird, but the ingredients have a purpose. In combination with the brushing movement of your wrist, they’ll scrub away the bacteria and plaque. Conversely, the brushing motion wouldn’t sanitize your teeth without the silicates. Their purpose is to act as a clean- ing agent.
The foam on your toothbrush comes from the detergent in the toothpaste. It works similarly to the products you use to clean your dishes and laundry. A detergent breaks down any un- desirable substances. With your teeth, it’s loosening materials that aren’t soluble. The liquid in your mouth will dissolve any that is soluble, but you need help with anything that doesn’t respond to liquids.
The importance of fluoride:
Any good toothpaste will include other components to make it more effective. Fluoride is the most important one. In fact, it’s the primary reason tooth decay and cavities have declined dramatically over the past 50 years. This naturally occurring mineral protects your teeth when you eat. Every food you consume leaves trace elements of sugar and starch on your teeth.
Fluoride counters this problem in two ways. It strengthens tooth enamel, the protective layer on the outside of your teeth, and that added strength makes your teeth less susceptible to chipping and cracking.
When you eat and drink sweet and acidic items, this can weaken the outer enamel. Fluoride counters this issue. Fluoride also fights off previous damage by reversing the process of early tooth decay. For these two reasons, when you shop for toothpaste, you should pick one with fluoride.
Many toothpastes will also include artificial sweeteners. The minty taste that you associate with toothpaste isn’t a natural flavor. Manufacturers add saccharin and other ingredients to make the taste of toothpaste better. Without it, the process of brushing your teeth wouldn’t feel as pleasant. If brushing your teeth left you with a bad taste in your mouth, it might reduce your desire to brush regularly.
Toothpaste also includes ingredients to keep the tube from drying out. Without the moisture retention of humectants, your mouth would dry too soon. These are the same ingredients that keep you from having dry skin. Finally, toothpaste uses thickeners to make sure that the actual substance maintains a gooey form.
So which one is best?
Now that you know the key components of toothpaste, you can pick the brand that’s right for you. If you’re a smoker or coffee drinker, you should choose a product with the highest amount of fluoride.
If you’re someone with yellow teeth, you’ll want a brand with a higher number of silicates. A product that includes whitening can help reduce staining and brighten yellow teeth. If cavities are a big issue, you want a product with special cavity-fighting power. If you have a plaque problem, you can prevent tartar buildup with toothpastes that are specifically formulated to fight tartar. Finally, if you have sensitive gums and/or teeth, the best product is one that treats the underlying problem of sensitivity.
As you can see, toothpaste includes a lot of components specifically designed to protect and improve your teeth. No matter the problem you worry about with your teeth, a product exists that can help you overcome the issue. Simply consider your needs and then mix and match from the options above. Our hygienist can help you choose the best one for you.
Break off about 45 centimetres (18 inches) of floss, and wind some around one finger of each hand.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, with about an inch of floss between them, leaving no slack. Use a gentle ‘rocking' motion to guide the floss between your teeth. Do not jerk the floss or snap the floss into the gums.
When the floss reaches your gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth until you feel resistance.
Hold the floss against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat on the other side of the gap, along the side of the next tooth.
Don't forget the back of your last tooth. When flossing, keep to a regular pattern. Start at the top and work from left to right, then move to the bottom and again work from the left to right. This way you're less likely to miss any teeth.