It is advised that every day you maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine which will help protect your teeth and reduce the chances of developing any complications, to ensure you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible. Every day you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste) for a minimum of two minutes a brush. This will help to tackle the build up of bacteria and reduce the chance of infection. The bacteria that can build up on your teeth is known as Plaque – if your teeth are not effectively brushed, then the plaque will coat your teeth and can build up overtime. This is can then lead on to tooth decay and in more severe cases, gum disease. Not only is regular brushing required, but the technique you used to brush your teeth is also very important, as you need to ensure you brush the entire surface of your teeth (backs & fronts).
It is the normal to brush your teeth first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. The minimum for healthy teeth is twice a day, but if you really want to maintain your teeth it is recommended you brush every time after you have eaten food or drank something fizzy (high in sugar), as trapped food and acidic drinks are one of the main reasons behind tooth decay and the build up of bacteria. Depending on your exact state of teeth, the hygienist may advise what routine will best suit your teeth.
Which ever you feel the most comfortable using. The main thing is, that all surfaces of your teeth are effectively cleaned with a fluoride toothpaste – both brushes can be effective. It might be easier to clean your teeth with an electric tooth brush but this does depend on your personal taste.
This again varies from person to person, in most instances, a toothbrush that has a compact small head, with a combination of angled long/short round-end bristles will allow you to effectively brush your teeth. Either soft or medium bristles will be fine for most people. If you are looking at an electric toothbrush, one that has a rotating head can be very effective at cleaning the whole tooth.
The main thing to remember is how effective cleaning your teeth is more important than which brush you decided to do this with.
You really want to find a toothpaste that uses the correct fluoride concentration. With children it is important to supervise their brushing (making sure they don’t eat the toothpaste). Toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500 parts per million (fluoride) is suitable for children over 7 – for children under 6 (who don’t suffer from tooth decay) a fluoride tooth paste of a least 1,000ppm is fine.
You need to carefully and effectively brush both the insides and outsides surfaces of your teeth, as well as the chewing surfaces (where your teeth meet when eating). Once you have brushed (taking about two minutes), spit any excess toothpaste into the wash basin, but do not rinse your mouth out with water or use a mouthwash (this should be done at a different time to brushing).
There is a common misconception that this is needed just to dislodge any bits of stuck food in the mouth. This isn’t the case, as flossing should be done on a regular basis to clean any plaque building up on the gum line. Flossing can reduce the chances of gum disease and help with bad breath.
You need to carefully floss in between each of your teeth so you gently dislodge anything between them, ensuring not to cut your gums. Signs of blood when flossing can be mistaken for gum disease, but can be because you have brushed or flossed to hard – if unsure, always consult with your dentist. For best techniques on how to floss, the dental hygienist will be more than happy to show you.
Using a mouthwash that contain fluoride can also help to protect your teeth from tooth decay and infection. However, you shouldn’t use a mouthwash straight after brushing your teeth. This should be left for another time, and you shouldn’t eat or drink anything 30 minutes after using a mouth wash.
As part of our dental care, we will always advise you on how to best care for your teeth at your regular appointments.