Beauty has always been associated with health, and bright healthy teeth is no exception. Here are the top tips on how to keep your teeth healthy.
Why teeth care is important
If you take good care of your teeth they will last you a lifetime, while a filling is said to have done well if it lasts 10 years. That means that every filling you get, needs to be redone every 10 years, which is both expensive and painful. Taking care of your teeth really pays off in the long run, and nothing radiates beauty like a bright smile.
You might think that it’s impossible not to nail something as simple as brushing your teeth, but many people have the habit not brushing enough to remove the daily plaque, or too hard, which can be devastating to the gums. If you experience frequent visits to the dentist, you might want to consider spending some time perfecting your brushing technique and overall care of your pearly treasures.
1. Brushing technique
Every tooth has 3 surfaces; a top, an inside surface and an outside surface, which all needs to be cleaned every day. It doesn’t matter which system you use, but brushing your teeth in a certain order, will ensure that no tooth gets left behind.
Your teeth gets cleaned when the bristles changes direction. Small circulator motions are therefor preferred to clean all surfaces.
Choose a small soft/medium toothbrush, to easily reach every corner. Use soft circular motions around the sides of each tooth, and harder vertical strokes on the top chewing surface. A lot of people are very good at brushing the tooth surface, but tend to neglect the gums. After brushing the sides of your teeth, turn the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, and gently brush the gums with soft circular motions.
Be careful not to use long vertical strokes on the sides and gums, as it can easily cause the gums to shrink back which leaves the teeth vulnerable.
It is recommended to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles start fraying for optimal results.
An electric toothbrush
An electric toothbrush will oftentimes be more effective than brushing your teeth with a regular toothbrush. The bristles constantly changes direction which ensures a gentle and effective cleaning of each tooth. Use the same technique as you would with a regular tooth brush, but instead let the electric toothbrush do the work for you, and hold the brush at one surface 3 seconds at a time before moving on.
It is recommended to change the toothbrush head every 3 months, or when the bristles starts fraying for optimal results
2. Fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride can help protect your teeth from cavities and tooth decay. On the back of the toothpaste you will see the ‘fluoride’ on the ingredients list followed by a number and then ppm (parts per million). The higher the number, the more fluoride it contains. A high level of fluoride will usually be around 1450 ppm.
3. Spit don’t rinse
Spit out the excess toothpaste after brushing your teeth, but avoid rinsing your mouth with water. This will insure that a great amount of the fluoride that you just applied will stay on the teeth, to protect your teeth for longer.
You can use mouthwash right after brushing your teeth, but it’s not always necessary since you just applied fluoride toothpaste. Instead you can use fluoride mouthwash for further protection throughout the day, for example after a meal or when you get home in the evening.
4. Flossing technique
Flossing your teeth will help clean the space between your teeth properly. Be sure to floss gently and properly to effectively remove all bacteria and plaque from your teeth daily.
- Wrap a piece of dental floss around your index fingers and thumbs on both hands, leaving an inch or two between to work with.
- Gently slide the dental floss in a zig-zag motion, going up and down the sides of each tooth in a C-shape. Don’t forget to floss both the front and the back of each tooth in the same C-shape. As you move along, you can move the dental floss to use a clean part of the floss for the next tooth.
- If you use a hand-held flosser, the method is similar. Place the piece of dental floss at an angle on the tooth, and use the same zig-zag motion that you would use with regular floss.
- Be careful not to ‘snap’ or ‘pop’ the dental floss upwards, as it can damage your gums. A poor flossing technique can result in complication, and it’s important to be gentle to avoid damage to your gums.
5. Lessen acidic foods
Fruit juice, soda pops, lager, wine, citrus fruits and pickled food, are some of the most acidic food sources. When consuming acidic foods, avoid brushing your teeth in the first hour afterwards, as the acid makes the enamel very fragile. Minimize the effect of acidic foods by rinsing your mouth right after, with water, mouthwash, or by chewing sugar-free chewing gum which will increase the level of saliva that naturally protects your teeth
6. Lessen sugary foods
A lot of the bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay, have a common food source which is sugar. Limiting your intake of sugary foods will therefor limit the amount of tooth decay.
The time of day that you consume sugar, also has a lot to say when it comes to fighting bacteria. Bathing your teeth in sugar all throughout the day, even if it’s in small amounts, will cause a lot more bacteria growth than having a larger treat at once. Make periods throughout the day where you don’t consume sugar, to greatly limit the amount of tooth decaying bacteria.
Also be mindful that sugar is not only found in foods like candy, fast food, soda pops, biscuits and similar, but that it’s also hidden in more unlikely food products like ready meals, salad dressings, pasta sauces, cereals and yogurts.
7. Lessen teeth staining
Coffee, tea, red wine, spicy foods and smoking can stain your teeth over time. Teeth stains can however be lightened in color by a dentist.
8. Bonus: Plaque disclosing tablets
If you are curious about how well you brush your teeth on a daily basis, you can buy plaque disclosing tablets online or at your dentist. Brush your teeth as you normally would, and then chew on a tablet for 60 seconds. Spit out the excess and rinse your mouth with water. The tablet will turn any plaque on your teeth a bright color, to let you know if you missed some parts of your teeth. You can then practice a new routine that gets rid of all the plaque, for a long-lasting bright smile.