Proper oral care prevents cavities and plaque build-up, eliminates bad breath and stops gum disease. Maintaining proper dental hygiene can prevent serious medical problems and help you keep your teeth healthy for life.
Many studies have found the bacteria in the mouth and inflammation associated with gum disease can increase the risk of medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and preterm labour.
We speak to Wala Shehada - Dental Hygienist Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic, who tells us about 12 best practises to keep your teeth healthy.
First of all, how do cavities even happen?
Every persons tooth has a protective outer layer known as enamel. What you eat, and drink has a direct effect on your teeth and enamel.
What can you do to have great teeth?
- You actually don’t need to brush them more than twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
- Over brushing can cause damage to the enamel of teeth while brushing too hard or fast can damage gums.
- Floss once a day in the evening, there are also other options for cleaning between your teeth such as water flossing and interdental brushes.
- Use the right toothbrush for you, electric or manual depending on your dental hygienist’s recommendation. Some people have more plaque than others and need a seriously powerful toothbrush.
- You want to take good care of your toothbrush by rinsing it after brushing and keeping it dry after use. Don’t leave it moist that allows for bacteria growth.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles are frayed. Don’t be lazy and keep using an old toothbrush.
- While most people only brush their teeth, you need to also brush your tongue to remove the bacteria. This helps to keep healthy teeth and eliminate bad breath.
- See your dentist and dental hygienist every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning to help maintain good oral health. The longer you wait, the deeper your cavities can go.
- Always drink lots of water, this will rinse off food debris and increase your saliva production. Saliva is your defence against cavities. Saliva production can decrease due to different factors including specific medical conditions and medication, always check with your doctor. Chewing sugar free gum with xylitol can increase your saliva production.
- Eat foods containing calcium such as cheese and milk as they help protect tooth enamel.
- After eating sweets and citrus fruits wait for at least an hour before brushing your teeth. Acidic foods can cause erosion, which means enamel wear.
- Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. It is available in toothpaste and some mouthwashes. Your dental hygienist can also provide an in-office fluoride treatment if you have a high risk of cavities.