With the arrival of Claire our fabulous hygienist I felt it was only fitting to make my 5th blog on how to care for our teeth. I try to offer as much advice on looking after your teeth as I can in surgery but sometimes it can be information overload and having something to refer back to I hope will be of help.
Food and drink
- Try to limit the amount of sugary and acidic foods and drinks you consume. Sugary drinks and snacks between meals will harm teeth and lead to holes.
- If you must eat between meals try tooth friendly snacks like cheese, fruit and vegetable sticks (e.g carrot, cucumber), breadsticks, marmite or butter on toast, rice cakes, or a bowl of non-sugary cereal with milk (don’t add sugar or honey).
- Limit dried fruit between meals as it is high in sugar and can stick to your teeth.
- Never have sugary foods or drinks just before bed, and only drink water at night.
- Keep sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks and other ‘treats’ for pudding or as part of a meal.
Brushing your teeth
- To keep your teeth happy and healthy follow this brushing code:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. Always last thing at night and then at one other time during the day (lots of people choose first thing in the morning – this should be before breakfast).
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is the superhero ingredient in toothpaste. You only need to use a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a pea.
- Adults and children over three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of 1350ppm to 1500ppm (parts per million). This will be printed in tiny numbers on both the box and the tube so have a look and see how much is in yours.
- Use a toothbrush with a small head. This will help you to clean the back teeth and in all the tiny spaces.
- Spit, don’t rinse. Don’t wash all the superhero fluoride off your teeth.
- Brush teeth in a special order so you don’t miss any: and make sure you get all five surfaces of each tooth (biting/chewing surface, front, back, inside and outside)
- Be gentle. Use circular movements and don’t scrub gums away.
- Brush the gums where they meet the teeth gently using the same circular movement.
- A disclosing tablet may help to show any areas you might have missed. These are available from us or the chemist and contain a vegetable dye which will show up any plaque you have missed when brushing.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly. A three-month old toothbrush is 30 per cent less effective at removing plaque than a new one.
- If using a powered toothbrush make sure it is charged or change the batteries regularly so the brush remains effective. (I personally use an electric Oral – B toothbrush because I feel it removes more plaque and I tend to press too hard with a manual).
- For children make brushing fun. Sing songs with your child whilst you brush or download their favourite song to brush their teeth to – there is a brilliant and proven app called Brush DJ that does just this.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
- Use an interdental brush at least once a day. This is where Claire starts to come into her own. Claire can help you with getting to grips with your technique and also getting the right sizes.
- Regular hygienist visits can help ensure calculus, (which is like kettle scale that can build up on our teeth) is removed, preventing irritation to our gums.
- With the air polisher our mouth feels super clean and I always feel I take extra special care of something when it is clean as opposed to dirty.
- Untreated gum disease will lead to wobbly teeth and gum abscesses. If you notice bleeding when brushing this could be the 1st signs and we would advise you to make an appointment to discuss this with us.
Hope these tips have been of help and don’t ever be too shy to ask myself or Claire any questions when you are in surgery because knowledge is power and all we want to do is share as much information as possible.
Have a fabulous May, enjoy the sunshine and remember ‘keeeep brushing!’, prevention is better than cure 🙂