Statistics show that dental health has improved markedly over the last 50 years, but there are still too many people with cavities and too many people in need of fillings or extractions. So here are five ways to keep your teeth healthy.
5. There is a right time and a wrong time for brushing
Brushing too soon after a meal could actually damage your teeth, because it can push food into the tooth surface, and also your mouth is still neutralising the acidity that results from eating and drinking. Brushing too early can damage the teeth as acidity makes the enamel weaker until your saliva has done its job of neutralising it.
If you want to freshen your mouth after a meal, then dental professionals recommend chewing gum, as this will help to produce saliva that will help neutralise the acid. In addition, the act of chewing can help to dislodge bits of food on and between the teeth.
4. Healthy foods aren’t always healthy for your teeth
Stuff like smoothies and fruit juices are packed full of lovely vitamin C, but watch out, many are highly acidic and could contribute to tooth erosion. So, it’s best to limit the consumption of them to mealtimes to minimise the risk.
3. Eating habits can affect your teeth too
If you’re snacking all day then it means your teeth aren’t getting an opportunity to recover. In fact, people who consume the same amount of sugar during a meal (as compared to those snacking throughout the day) have less risk of developing tooth decay. Many people believe that snacking on fruit is good for your teeth, but fruit is also high in sugar, as are dried fruits like apricots.
2. Brushing your teeth the right way is essential
The NHS Choices site recommends that you brush for two minutes a day first thing (i.e. before you have breakfast) and last thing at night. It’s important to make sure all areas are covered: the inner and outer surfaces as well as the biting and chewing edges. There are various apps to help with this, and some electric toothbrushes have an integral timer that buzzes every 30 seconds to remind you to move onto a new area – the idea being that you spend 30 seconds on each quarter – upper left, upper right, lower left and lower right.
1. Your dentist knows best
If you have any questions about dental care, ask your dentist who is best placed to advise you on your dental health. Regular dental checkups are massively important, since they can uncover any problems early on. Checkups aren’t just confined to teeth either, your dentist will be able to spot periodontal issues too (the supporting tissues and structures), and he or she will also be trained to spot symptoms of oral cancer too. Your dentist will be able to decide when your next appointment is due, as this varies between different people due to the oral health and requirements of the individual.