Dental hygiene has come a long way over the decades, so it’s reasonable to say that what we know about tooth care and the practises involved have evolved quite dramatically. While some methods like brushing remain a lynch pin in dental hygiene, newer discoveries and products have come to the foreground. At my Dentist Practice I see patient after patient looking to cosmetically whiten their teeth. This is all very well but this expensive step can be avoided by considering the following:
1. Tooth staining consumables: Certain foods and consumables leave a lasting impact on the whiteness of our teeth such as red wine, black tea, coffee, cigarettes and cigars. Though we all derive a lot of pleasure from these things, dabbling in dark foods will mar the colouring of the teeth. There are a few culprits that people don’t expect such as colas, gravies and darker juices like prune. If, like me, you couldn’t do without these kinds of treats, my advice to patients visiting my practise would be to try and brush immediately after indulging and to use a basic bleaching agent which can be bought over the counter, as well as in your local practise. Another method is to eat an apple for a quick fix of natural cleaning action. So there is some truth in that old wives’ tale!
2. Change the brush: Many people don’t think about doing this enough. Every two or three months it’s good practise to replace your current toothbrush, or change the head on your electric. Miss this vital step and you run the risk of transferring bacteria that builds on the bristles over time straight to your mouth. While I’m on the subject, there appears to be a lasting confusion on the best way to brush the teeth. Place the brush at a 45-degree angle against your teeth and move it in a circular motion. And don’t go too hard as this can erode the gums. Also, brushing for longer can make a huge difference. Just adding two more minutes on brushing in the morning could be the difference between having shades white teeth.
3. Scrape: The gentle application of a tongue scraper, once a day, cleans the tongue of plague and refreshes the breath. A festering tongue, believe it or not, is a leading cause of bad breath. Tongue scrapers are much more effective at their task than a tooth brush, and a bit safer. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had a few glasses of red wine the night before and in the morning stuck my tongue out when looking in the mirror to discover, to my horror, mauve staining on my tongue. Not very attractive.
4. Floss: A lot of people still think this is optional but it really isn’t. If you don’t floss, scraps of food remain trapped between your teeth, in hot and moist conditions. It’s a breeding ground for bacteria and it leads directly to tooth decay. Over the years seeing people suffer as I have who didn’t floss when it mattered has lead me to the conclusion that flossing is of equal importance to brushing. Trust me: what seems like an inconvenience now is nothing compared to what awaits you if you don’t floss. Who knows how long bits of food have been stuck between tooth. It’s hard not to shudder at the thought.