Good dental care is about more than just keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top condition – it's also a vital part of your overall health and wellbeing.
According to Elaine Tilling, a qualified dental hygienist and Head of Clinical Education at TePe UK, issues in your mouth can indicate a problem elsewhere in your body – for example, gum disease or frequent infections could suggest high blood sugar or diabetes – so it is important to take care of your oral hygiene. Here is Elaine’s advice for maintaining a bright and healthy smile.
Go for a soft toothbrush
Make sure you opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush which can clean your teeth – twice a day, remember - without being too harsh. Traditional manual toothbrushes work well, but it’s worth considering investing in an electric one. As there are so many on the market these days, ask your dentist or hygienist for a recommendation.
“Remember, toothbrushing alone only cleans 60 per cent of your tooth surfaces, and most dental disease starts between your teeth, so it’s important to clean the remaining 40 per cent that the toothbrush misses,” Elaine says.
Dental floss is useful for cleaning the tight spaces in between your teeth, but you might need to use interdental brushes, such as the ones from TePe or OraCare, if the gaps are wider. These brushes come in a range of sizes to suit a variety of in-between spaces and are more effective at cleaning bigger gaps than floss. Use at least once a day.
To reduce the build-up of plaque in your mouth, increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet and limit your intake of sugary snacks and fizzy drinks. Chewing raw vegetables such as celery will help your saliva to neutralise plaque-causing acids.
Visit your dentist regularly
“Ensure that you visit your dentist or dental hygienist as often as advised but no less than once every 18 months to two years. Your dentist can check for wider health problems, such as oral cancer or diabetes and will be able to spot the first signs of tooth decay and gum disease early on to prevent long term issues,” Elaine recommends.