It has long been known that proper oral hygiene and healthy nutrition are the basis for maintaining good oral health. However, recent dental research shows there is more to just the usual brushing and flossing to keep a gorgeous smile. A leading Finchley dentist recommends these four tips guaranteed to maintain a healthy mouth.
Regular Oral Check-Ups
Most people dread a visit to the dentist. In fact, some patients develop a fear of dentists (dentophobia), even when in dire need of dental attention. The truth is, the dentist is not the enemy. Having a dental examination at least twice every year roots out oral health issues before they become a problem. The dentist probes the mouth for early signs of gum disease, tooth decay, trauma and even cancer. Early detection gives the dentist ample room for quick remedy options and preventive measures.
Use the Right Cleaning Techniques
Many people probably don’t give much thought to the way they brush or floss every day. Like most hygiene practices, recent experimentation shows there is a correct way to clean the mouth properly and safely.
The first step is choosing the right toothbrush. The ideal choice is a soft-bristled toothbrush with rounded bristle tips. The brush should be replaced every three months, or before, should there be bent or clipped bristles. Always hold the toothbrush at 45 degrees towards the gum. Using gentle circular strokes, brush over each tooth at least ten times. Don’t be too aggressive to avoid corroding the teeth and gums, and accidental poking. Tough bristles can be softened with hot water before brushing if they are a bit too harsh.
Some toothbrushes have a tongue cleaner on the opposite side to the bristles; use it to remove food residuals stuck on the surface of the tongue. Alternatively, gently use a tongue scraper for even better results.
While flossing, wrap the floss around both index fingers and leave about two inches of slack. Unroll a fresh section of floss for each tooth to avoid possibly spreading infection around the mouth. Again, don’t overdo it, rub the floss gently against the teeth and gum. If the floss is too rough, dip it in warm water to soften it before use.
Brush and floss twice daily for best effect, especially if food is caught between the teeth. This can easily happen with stringy food such as celery. A dentist can easily tell when flossing is not regular, and can advise on ways to keep mouth and gums healthy.
Chew sugarless gum, or rinse thoroughly after every meal whenever it is inconvenient to brush or floss.
Keep Away From Sugars
Sugar does not directly cause tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars into acids that gradually corrode the enamel. Continued enamel corrosion eventually leads to tooth decay, sensitivity and weakening. Sugary soft drinks, snacks and candies are the primary sources of highly refined sugars; some of them contain acidic ingredients that pose an even greater threat to the teeth than sugars.
Avoid sugars whenever possible; as an alternative to sugar, use natural sweeteners made of complex sugars that are kinder to the teeth. Also, remember to maintain a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrition needed for healthy gums and teeth – include plenty of nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables in daily meals.
Avoid Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is involuntary clenching and gnashing of teeth that is usually a habitual response to anxiety or stress. Bruxism and other unconscious habits such as nail and pen biting can cause severe damage to the teeth and gum. Grinding especially wears down the enamel a great deal over time. These habits are often difficult to break but seeking professional help in serious cases is a good place to start.
Regular dental check-ups, proper cleaning, and avoiding some damaging habits not only keep the mouth healthy but it will keep it happy, too!