06 Aug Dental Hacks For The Busy Lifestyle – ADA Dental Health Week 2017
This year’s Australian Dental Association Dental Health Week focuses on being able to look after our oral health ‘Anywhere, Anytime’. Busyness is the norm for Melbournians. We are always on the lookout for any time or effort-saving hacks, and it’s no different when it comes to teeth.
Ultimately, avoiding complex treatment will help to save time at the dentist, save on dental treatment fees and save overall energy expended looking after your teeth. Therefore preventing complex dental treatment is by far the ideal goal!
Hack number 1 is understanding and making our mouth a healthy environment
Keeping our teeth decay-free and our mouths healthy is all about a balance. We know that after eating, bacteria in our mouths will create acids, altering the pH levels which make our teeth more susceptible to decay. This process lasts for about 20 minutes before our natural saliva flow neutralises the acidity to restore our mouth pH levels. For people with restricted or compromised saliva flow (some medicines can affect this), it may take even longer for mouths to reach a healthy pH level again.
Here are some ways to fast-track our mouths back to a healthy pH level
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating, as it encourages saliva flow.
- Reduce frequent snacking. This can help keep the pH of our mouths higher and healthier for longer. It’ll take 20 minutes for the acidity to wear off after a quick snack, but if constantly munching on a snack, the acidity will hang around for much longer.
- Drink plenty of water to make sure your saliva flow is at it’s optimum, and to help dilute the effects of acid.
- Some mouthwashes can help neutralise the effects of acid, or give teeth an extra fluoride boost. This is perfect for keeping the mouth clean between meals. Mouthwashes don’t physically remove bacteria build-up on teeth, so this doesn’t replace brushing!
Hack number 2 is brushing twice a day
Hang on, before you change the page and read another article because brushing twice a day is not a hack in itself, we in the dental profession do understand that things get in the way of brushing twice a day for some patients and families especially. So while brushing twice a day isn’t a hack, the little pieces of tips below hopefully are quite useful as you read on.
Brushing twice a day is sometimes much easier said than done, especially when you have kids to drop off, or you’re already running late to get to work. Why do we need to brush in the morning if we’ve already brushed the night before? Perhaps, it’s firstly important to understand the benefits of brushing twice a day.
The science behind brushing twice daily
Bacteria in the mouth feed on food (carbohydrates and sugars) and produce acids that over time create cavities in teeth. Cleaning teeth at night removes most of those bacteria so that the acid damage overnight is minimised. However, reduced salivary flow during sleep means that bacteria have an uninterrupted chance to build up again. That’s why another brush in the morning is so important to remove the bulk of bacteria before they have the chance to feed on the food you eat throughout the day.
Struggling to fit tooth brushing into the morning routine? Here are some tips that may help.
- Make sure your toothbrush and toothpaste are right for you. Find fluoride toothpaste with a flavour that you really like. Find a nice feeling small headed, soft bristled toothbrush that you like. Change the old worn down toothbrush for a new one that feels super comfy. After all, comfortable brushing is a much easier habit to keep!
- Tie brushing onto an existing habit. New habits are hard to form on their own. Choose something that you already do in the morning e.g. having a shower, washing your face and decide to use that as a prompt to brush teeth as well.
- A little preparation goes a long way. Place a toothbrush on the kids’ uniforms the night before, or making sure there’s a toothbrush in the shower will mean one less thing to think about getting in the morning especially when many of us are in zombie mode.
- Tooth brushing doesn’t have to be at done only at home. If kids get dropped off at school early, or if you have a spare few minutes between getting into work and starting your first task, these can be opportunities to get those teeth brushed and be fresh for the start of the school/working day.
We hope the above dental article has been helpful. Our friendly dentists, oral health therapists and team members at The Smile Team Balwyn North are qualified experts to go through your personal dental hygiene regimen with you to help achieve the best results for a long term healthy happy smile!
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