As a nation we grow more and more conscious of how our pearly whites look. We all want the perfect smile. Keeping your teeth clean between visits to the dentist comes down to good oral hygiene practices at home. And while the importance of brushing our teeth every day has been drilled into our brain since childhood, when was the last time you thought about HOW you brush your teeth? With World Oral Health Day now here, why not take a look at these top tips on how to maintain squeaky clean teeth.
Always use an extra-soft or soft-bristle brush
Ditch your medium or hard-bristled toothbrush. Extra-soft and soft bristle brushes help to protect enamel surfaces and gums while gently removing surface stains. Remember to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for about two minutes.
Be gentle with your teeth
Besides abrading tooth enamel, overly vigorous brushing may cause your gums to recede and tooth sensitivity. You don’t have to be heavy handed to clean your teeth thoroughly. Just be gentle and methodical. Place the bristles of your toothbrush on the gum line at a 45 degree angle. The bristles should slide slightly under your gums. Using light pressure and short back-and-forth or circular motions, brush the surface of each tooth. Move around your mouth in a pattern, brushing the outside, insides and chewing surfaces.
Always brush your tongue
In order to achieve whole mouth health; you need to start thinking about tongue, cheeks and gums as well as your teeth. Bacteria loves to live in your mouth, with much of it living on your tongue which easily transfers back onto your teeth after brushing. So when you’ve finished brushing your teeth, spend 20-30 seconds brushing your tongue. Most toothbrushes now offer a tongue-brush on the back.
Don’t forget to floss
Whether you floss before or after brushing your teeth doesn’t matter, but if you really want healthy teeth, you need to floss. Bacteria and food debris that gets stuck between the teeth can cause serious decay in both your teeth and gums. Ideally you should floss every time you brush your teeth.
Invest in an electric toothbrush
We’ve all seen the adverts – electric toothbrushes win hands down over a manual toothbrush. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes have a superior cleaning ability over manual ones, so although the initial investment may be considerable, it will actually be worthwhile in the long run.
Change your toothbrush regularly
Germs build up on your toothbrush over time and a frayed toothbrush isn’t very effective for cleaning your teeth, either. You should change your toothbrush or the head of your toothbrush if you’re using an electric one, every 3-4 months.
Go to the dentist regularly
No-one enjoys visiting the dentist and it’s very tempting to only go when you’ve got a problem, but that is the best way of causing more cavities in the long run. Annual oral check-ups can catch problems before you start feeling pain so they’re a good way of avoiding toothache in the first place!
Make some changes to your diet
Little tweaks to your diet can also help you to maintain healthy teeth: cut down on coffee, tea and alcohol which can stain your teeth and drink more milk instead. Be wary of cereals – they may be good sources of fibre and iron, but they also contain lots of sugar too! Try eating Greek-style yoghurt with fruit and nuts – again, lower in sugar and high in calcium. Avoid fizzy and energy drinks which are laden with sugar and acids which damage teeth. Stick to water instead! And eat plenty of crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery – they can stimulate the flow of saliva and scrub the surfaces of your teeth. Crunchy fruit like apples are high in fibre, helping to combat plaque and keep your breath fresh but it’s best to avoid oranges which are loaded with citric acid, the number one cause of enamel erosion.
Do you have any top tips on how to maintain squeaky clean teeth? If so, let us know by commenting down below.