Ten Beneficial Things To Help Care For Your Teeth
Looking after your teeth well doesn’t have to be expensive says Chelmsford dentist, Dr Simon Stern
Modern dental care is an amazing thing. Many people now manage to keep, if not all, then the vast majority of their teeth right throughout their life. Some of this is down to better education about what causes harm to teeth and some is due to treatments that are now widely available.
At the Blue Sky Dental practice, we pride ourselves in offering a comprehensive and caring service that covers everything from preventive dentistry through to complex treatments like implants for those who have already lost their teeth.
Professional dental care is important, but patients can also do a lot to help. Diligent, routine daily care of our teeth and gums provides the best chance of avoiding the need for invasive treatments further down the line. With this in mind, let us take a look at some of the relatively simple things that you can do to give your oral health the best chance possible.
Use the right tools – Any tradesman, sportsman or musician will tell you that whilst skill is a major factor, things work better when you have the best equipment that you can afford. This also applies to your dental care. Trying to eke out the longevity of your toothbrush is a false economy as once the bristles become worn, your teeth and gums will no longer be cleaned properly. Always make sure that the bristles on your toothbrush are still healthy, and change your brush every three months or so. The same applies to the head of electric toothbrushes too.
Don’t smoke – We have said this before and we will never tire of saying it. Smoking is one of the worst things that you can do for your oral health. In addition to any staining of the tooth enamel it causes, it is a leading cause of both gum disease and oral cancer. Smoking is a dangerous and expensive habit and you should seek help to quit as soon as you can.
Use dental floss – Many of our Chelmsford patients tell us that they find using floss tricky. Thankfully, with a little perseverance, you will soon find that you can do this quickly and effectively. Floss is a cheap and effective way of removing bacteria and food debris from between the teeth. It is in these areas that a brush often can’t reach and that problems like gingivitis and tooth decay often start. Make sure to add the use of floss to your daily routine if you don’t already do so.
Reduce the sugar – It might be nearly impossible to do away with sugar entirely but even reducing your intake will help to keep your mouth healthy, as well as probably keeping a few inches off the waistline. Unfortunately, sugar is everywhere and simply cutting down sugar in your tea and coffee may not make much difference. Try to adopt a healthier diet, cutting out foods that contain high amounts of sugar and eat fresher, sugar free food where possible.
Sports and fizzy drinks – It is said that things go better with a certain fizzy beverage, but that is most certainly not true for your teeth. This applies not only to this well known brand but almost any carbonated drink as these often contain high levels of sugar. Not only that, but when we drink these, they pass directly over our teeth, and the combination of sugar and acids in the liquid are now known to be one of the main causes of tooth decay amongst many children and young adults especially.
Stay hydrated – If, instead of the aforementioned fizzy drinks, we drink plenty of water, we will be doing our mouths a big favour. Water is essential for all aspects of health and that includes your teeth and gums. Drinking water helps to dislodge food particles that have become trapped between your teeth and will also help to wash away any sugars from your teeth. In addition to this, it will help to prevent your mouth from becoming dry which is bad news for potentially harmful oral bacteria that thrive in a dry and warm environment such as a dehydrated mouth.
Brush your teeth last thing at night – Most of us will brush our teeth in the morning, if only to freshen up our mouth. Evening brushing can sometimes be neglected through tiredness or forgetfulness. This is bad news as it means that we will spend our eight hours or so of sleep with sugar coating our teeth. You should always make the effort to brush your teeth at night, however tired you are. Remember too, that after you have done this, don’t take drinks other than plain water.
Don’t risk your teeth – Sometimes, things that we do in the spur of the moment can have an impact on the rest of our lives. This applies in all areas of our life and this includes things that we do with our teeth. Our teeth are made for eating food. They are not made for opening bottles, biting off plastic tags such as those found on clothes, or even opening packets of crisps. All of these can cause damage to our teeth in the form of chips or even breakages. In the case of opening bottles with our teeth, there is also a real risk of facial lacerations. Don’t use your teeth for something they weren’t designed for!
Have your teeth professionally cleaned – Cleaning your teeth at home is extremely important and without that bedrock of oral care, there is every likelihood that you will require restorative dental treatments in the not too far off future. One way to improve your oral health further is to have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist. In addition to offering suggestions on how to improve your own care, they will provide you with a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums. This removes any hardened minerals and bacteria that stick to your teeth and gum line and provides additional protection against gingivitis and periodontitis. This should be done approximately every six months.
Keep your dental appointments – Even if you think that you look after your teeth really well, you still need to have a dental check up every 6 months. Even the best cared for teeth are likely to have weaker areas where it is really difficult to clean them. Even the tiniest bit of decay in this area can grow if not treated early. Making sure that you receive early treatment for any oral problems that do arise is key to avoiding more significant and invasive treatment later on. In addition to this, your dentist will also be able to monitor the oral cavity for any signs of mouth cancers and other serious problems.
How many of these do you do? Even if you only currently miss out on one or two of these, it shows that there are things that you can do to improve your oral health. Good home care, along with ongoing monitoring by our Blue Sky Dental team will mean that you can have healthy and attractive teeth for longer. To make an appointment at our Chelmsford dental practice, please call us on 01245 211070.
Dr Simon Stern is a specialist in periodontics – GDC number 154790