Together Dental, in line with the latest guidance from NHS England, has the following advice.
1. Moderate your diet
You should increase the amount of vegetables which contain healthy fibre and reduce the frequency of consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks. Sugar is converted into acid in the mouth, which can then dissolve the enamel of your teeth. Acidic fruits, fruit teas and fizzy drinks can also erode tooth enamel so enjoy these things only in moderation.
2. Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth
Brushing before bed leaves your mouth clean overnight, when your mouth becomes drier, and bacteria begin to multiply. By removing the plaque that has accumulated throughout the day, you can reduce your risk of gum disease and dental decay. Plaque is a biofilm of bacteria that coats the surfaces of your teeth.
3. Brush-up on your brushing technique
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, when you get up and before you go to bed, for two minutes to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy. At night time, try not to rinse after brushing to leave a reservoir of fluoride which will help to re-mineralise tooth enamel and prevent cavities.
4. Slow down
Most people brush their teeth in a hurry. To do a good job of cleaning your teeth it is important not to rush it. Work slowly in soft, gentle, circular motions, taking your time and moving the toothbrush to remove plaque. Any un-removed plaque can eventually harden, leading to tartar build-up and the beginnings of gum disease.
5. Go electric
It doesn’t matter whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, they are both equally as good, as long as you brush ALL the surfaces of ALL of your teeth and gently angle the bristles towards the gumline. That said, electric toothbrushes do take the effort out of brushing, allowing you to focus on your technique.
6. Fluoride, fluoride, fluoride
Use fluoride toothpaste. Adults should use toothpaste that contains at least 1,450 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. At night time, try not to rinse after brushing to leave a reservoir of fluoride which will help to remineralise tooth enamel and prevent cavities. During the day, after meals, use an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash to keep your enamel strong.
Flossing isn’t just for getting those little bits of food that are stuck in between your teeth. It is much more about reducing plaque in between teeth, the gumline and helping to lower any gum inflammation in your mouth. Flossing once a day is usually enough to make a big difference to gum health.
8. Stop Smoking and Moderate your Alcohol intake
Smoking is not just bad for our general health but puts us at risk of oral cancer. Around 90 per cent of mouth cancers can be linked to preventable lifestyle factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Smoking and drinking together increases the risk of mouth cancer by up to 30 times. Use this time at home to stop smoking and moderate your alcohol consumption.
Tooth sensitivity is usually caused by exposed dentine. Sometimes this may be caused by over-zealous tooth-brushing. Changing to a softer brush and using a sensitive toothpaste may help. Apply the sensitive toothpaste as a cream in the sensitive area at night and leave it there to act for several hours.
10. Think of looking after your teeth as part of your positive personal routine
Habits such as getting up at a regular time, following the same personal hygiene routine, eating and exercising at set times can all help to support a positive mindset.
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