Top tips on looking after oral health

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Some people are unaware of how important looking after those teeth and gums can be until they start to play up causing pain and discomfort.

This month has been National Smile Month – the UK’s largest and longest-running oral health campaign which aims to educate people about the importance of looking after their oral health.  Poor dental hygiene is linked to health issues such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, giving birth to a premature or low-birth-weight baby, and respiratory (lung) disease.

Here are some top tips for looking after your teeth recommended by the British Dental Health Foundation:

  • Make sure you thoroughly clean your teeth taking care to floss in between your teeth, brushing between the teeth where possible. This will help to clean a higher portion of the tooth and prevent the build-up of plaque.
  • Stick to a healthy balanced diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fresh fruit and vegetables.  This can help to prevent gum disease.
  • It is best to brush your teeth after eating.
  • If you are a nervous patient, don’t avoid going to the dentist: let your dentist know this, including what you most dislike about treatment. There are lots of techniques to help reduce any dental anxiety. Ring us and ask how these might help you.
  • Always tell your dentist about changes to your health, as it may help them prevent gum disease from developing
  • Use a mouthwash containing an anti-bacterial ingredient to help control gum disease
  • Quitting smoking will help you reduce the chances of developing a whole host of oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, yellow teeth and mouth cancer
  • Visit your dentist or hygienist for regular advice and cleaning tips
  • Electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque. Those with heads that rotate in both directions (‘oscillating’ heads) and pulsate are the most effective. They are particularly useful for people with limited movement, such as disabled or elderly people, who often find that using a manual toothbrush does not allow them to clean thoroughly
  • If you have sensitivity when brushing your teeth with cold water from the tap, use warm water instead. It is important you do not avoid brushing your teeth regularly as this could make the problem worse
  •  If you wear dentures, always use the rule: brush, soak, brush. Clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking, to help remove any food debris. Occasionally using an effervescent (fizzy) denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher
  • The British Dental Health Foundation claim that it is better for your teeth and general health if you eat 3 meals a day plus no more than two snacks, instead of having lots of snack attacks.
  • Still water and milk are good choices. It is better for your teeth if you drink fruit juices just at meal times. If your teeth are wearing away this might be diet related, so get in touch with us.