Dr. Alexandra Germain tells us how to walk into your dentist appointment without fear.
A smooth dental experience starts at home, with good habits and some knowledge of oral hygiene. For starters, flossing is one of the best ways to reduce your visits. The bacteria that live in your mouth feeds on the food that is left behind and can cause real damage. Flossing removes the food residues that are lodged between your teeth and causes caries which could also lead to other problems such as bone loss and root canals.
A perfect healthy smile can also easily be maintained with a few more simple steps.
It all starts with adopting a simple routine for brushing your teeth. Step one, floss first to remove all the excess food, step two brush your teeth, step three scrub your tongue and finish by spitting. But do not rinse!
Flossing with any type of dental floss works miracles. Just like sweeping your floors, it is an essential step to maintaining a clean ‘house’ for your teeth. The floss you are most comfortable with is the floss you should use. Research shows that people who flossed regularly save significant amounts of money, avoiding costly and painful dental interventions. Discipline and consistency is key!
When it comes to brushing should you go manual or electrical? The difference is not significant. Electric toothbrushes were initially designed for people with limited motor skills. However, many patients love these brushes, and so does their dentist, because patients seem to spend more time brushing when using them. However, a traditional toothbrush just as much does the deed!
Extra-soft bristles are best especially for brushing your gums. As we say, you must ‘brush the white and brush the pink’. The bacteria causing bone loss and decay hides in the gum forming a pocket around your teeth. It is essential to floss in order to avoid pocket formation and significant bone damage.
The choice of toothpaste is also important. You should always opt for a paste with fluoride, as it is the main component that will prevent tooth decay. As only 10% of British councils have appropriate fluoride levels in their waters it is likely that you are in need of a “top up” to maintain healthy teeth. Most brands in the commerce provide you with the needed quantities but you should be on the lookout for a fluoride concentration anywhere between 1350 to 1500 ppm.
Did you know that tongue scrubbing is one of America’s most loved oral hygiene habits? It is understandable as your tongue protects your breathing! The tongue bristles, Cilia, dust off impurities from the air steering them clear from your lungs. Brushing your tongue (with your toothbrush) can make a significant change in your health particularly if you are a smoker.
Lastly, but certainly not least, DO NOT RINSE! We all love to rinse and gargle after flossing and brushing our teeth, but this a counterproductive step. In order for the fluoride to be retained and absorbed by your teeth, your tongue and all the pink tissues of the oral cavity you should not rinse and only spit.
It is also advisable to floss and brush first thing in the morning to have all the fluoride fight the breakfast sugars.
Oral health has never been more important so get in shape and floss, brush and brush!