CLEANING TEETH – WHAT’S THE STORY?
What are we talking about with regard to cleaning teeth?
Cleaning teeth: The importance of keeping your teeth as clean as possible to maintain healthy teeth and gums. This starts with brushing twice a day for at least two minutes.
Electric or manual toothbrush when cleaning teeth?
Electric toothbrushes have been shown to be more efficient than ‘normal’ manual brushes at removing plaque and also to lessen the likelihood of brushing too hard, which can lead to tooth wear and receding gums. Let the electric brush head to do the work though, gliding over each surface of your teeth – you don’t need to use a brushing action or to press like you do with a manual brush.
So, it’s possible to brush too hard when you cleaning teeth?
Yes. It’s important to clean your teeth properly, but that doesn’t mean the harder you brush the better it is. Although enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it can still be worn away by brushing too hard, leaving you more prone to decay, sensitivity and broken teeth.
Brushing alone isn’t enough – use floss or interdental brushes at least once a day and alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash to reach where your brush can’t and to get rid of as much plaque, food debris and bacteria as possible. Bacteria attack plaque and food debris, converting them into acid, which weakens the enamel and is also one of the main causes of bad breath.
Is a scale & polish really necessary?
It’s more important than you might think. Regular brushing alone won’t remove plaque deposits in hard-to-reach places which, if allowed to build up, can ultimately lead to gum disease. So, having plaque and tartar removed at least once a year is a vital part of helping to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
What if I wear braces and is their an issue with cleaning teeth?
If you wear fixed braces, take extra care when brushing to avoid food, bacteria and acid stuck around the braces attacking the tooth enamel. With the new types of ‘invisible’ and ‘speed’ braces, you can remove them to clean your teeth as normal.
Any special advice for children cleaning teeth?
Always supervise tooth-brushing up to the age seven or whenever children have eaten lots of sweet things, like at Easter, or if they have fixed braces. Stand behind your child, cradling their chin in your hand so you can reach the teeth easily.
Any tips for brushing my baby’s teeth?
As soon as the first teeth start coming through, from six months, use a children’s toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste. Gentle coaxing is the key. If all else fails, get the toothpaste on their teeth with your finger – the toothbrush is essentially a vehicle for toothpaste. Once all 20 baby teeth are through, brush using small circular movements down to the gums.
My gums sometimes bleed
If your gums bleed after brushing, it may be a sign of gum disease or simply that you’re brushing too hard, so don’t ignore it. Try switching to an electric toothbrush, which will often do the trick.
Any final thoughts?
Prevention truly is better than cure and how you look after your teeth and gums at home is a crucial part of prevention. Dentistry isn’t just about treatments, so don’t forget we’re here to help and are always happy to give tips and advice regarding looking after your teeth and gums. As ever, find a dentist you can trust and chat through any concerns.
QUOTE: “You don’t get anything clean without getting something else dirty” Cecil Baxter