09 Mar 3 simple tips for healthier mouths and less dental treatment
It’s at the end of your tiring day. You want to hop into bed quick smart for some well deserved sleep. You care about your teeth and gums, but don’t have time or energy to waste. There is no substitutes for tooth brushing, but what else do you need to know about in regards to maintaining a happy smile? Here are 3 top efficient tips for getting maximum dental health with minimal energy output.
Cleaning the in-betweens
Just as we frequently clean the front and back surfaces of our teeth, it’s vital that we’re cleaning the other surfaces; the in-betweens. Many cavities start on these side surfaces because it’s an area that dissolved sugars can reach, but toothbrush bristles can’t.
Floss is generally what is used to clean between teeth. For many people, this may be time consuming or difficult to get the hang of. Not to worry. There are also products like flossettes for those who find it tricky to wrap floss around fingers. Interdental brushes make cleaning between teeth a little faster, and are great for small to big gaps between teeth. Either flossettes or interproximal brushes can be efficient and effective.
The amazing thing is that most patients who begin to floss or clean their in-betweens regularly quickly find out that they just can’t stand the thought and feeling of food stuck in between the teeth everywhere for days and days.
Mass bacteria removal by a few simple brush strokes
In every millilitre of saliva, there are over 100 million bacteria. Not all of these bacteria are bad, but left undisturbed, they can form colonies that produce harmful and acidic by-products. Everyone knows that brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways to disrupt this process. However, just as bacteria live on teeth, they can also live on other oral soft tissues. In fact, the tongue is one of the biggest bacteria traps because of its rough surface and large surface area. Subsequently brushing your tongue only takes an extra few seconds, but can remove millions of bacteria.
Perhaps one of the biggest and best reasons to clean your tongue is for fresh breath. All the bacteria that forms on the tongue is a very common cause of bad breath. Did you know that the same types of bacteria that cause smelly feet… you guessed it, grow on the tongue and cause bad breath?
Do you have a ticklish tongue? Tongue scrapers and toothbrushes that have a tongue cleaner may be a quicker or gentler way to clean your tongue. Otherwise just a little bit of toothpaste on the brush may do the trick.
Fluoride boosting goodness
The Department of Health Services Victoria gives a great description of how fluoride works.
“Tooth decay occurs when acid destroys the outer surfaces of the tooth. The acid is produced by bacteria in the mouth from food and drinks containing sugar. Fluoride works by helping to strengthen the mineral structure of teeth. It acts as a repair kit, repairing the early stages of tooth decay before it becomes permanent.”
In other words, our teeth exist in an environment that can fluctuate in acidity. Acids will weaken teeth, whereas fluoride can be taken in by teeth, thereby making them stronger and more resistant to decay. Fluoride can only be absorbed into the teeth by direct contact, not by ingestion. By brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste, we’re giving our teeth about 2 minutes to soak in the fluoride that exists in the toothpaste. As soon as the toothpaste is rinsed out, all the extra fluoride that hasn’t soaked into our teeth yet is also washed away.
To maximise fluoride uptake into our teeth, spit out the toothpaste after you’ve brushed, but don’t rinse. Yes, just spit out. The remnants of toothpaste in your mouth will contain fluoride that can continue to soak into your teeth. In many ways, this can be more effective in keeping your teeth strong than using mouthwash. Rinsing with a run of the mill mouthwash, especially one that doesn’t contain fluoride, or has alcohol, adds little benefit to your dental health.
Of course, using a suitable fluoride toothpaste is important as well. Sometimes dentists may suggest specific medicated mouthwashes for certain conditions if you have a high decay risk, sensitive mouth, or gum disease.
We hope you’ve picked up some simple tips for a cleaner, healthier mouth, that over time leads to less dental treatment and happier dental appointments. Please note that this is all general advice. Want to find out more? To get advice specific to your oral condition, please see a friendly team member from The Smile Team at Balwyn North. The Smile Team’s expert dentists and oral health therapists will be glad to help find which tools and approaches will work best for you.
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