This great list was compiled by Dr. Garry A. Rayant, Editor-in-Chief of Dear Doctor, Inc. They are simple everyday routines and a couple of long term views, well because your teeth are with you long term. If you follow these 10 steps that is.
Yup, #1 Is The Right Toothbrush
We have heard patients discussing the use of the right hairbrush, finding the right mascara brush and using the best brush for cleaning their golf shoes. Yet, for something as important as the teeth that line their main channel of communication (their mouth) they charge down an aisle in a store, fling a stick of plastic with hairy bits on the end in their basket, spend 10 minutes choosing the wine and cheese, fling in some bog rolls and off they go. Your toothbrush is more important than the bog rolls and, sorry, definitely more important than the Bordeaux or Pinotage you are perplexed about.
Notes for you: purchase a soft-bristled multi-tufted toothbrush; a small head not some of the doorsteps we’ve seen and an easy-to-hold handle. The powered brushes are the easiest to hold. And swallow your pride and get reminder demonstrations from the hygienist on how to use the brush to reduce damage.
And Yes Again, #2 Is Don’t Damage The Teeth
More is not better, necessarily. Brush twice a day, that is enough. Don’t scrub your teeth, brush your teeth. It’s a gently, sustained action over at least two minutes that brings the results, not the power pressured grinding action. Pressure is bad, you will cause striations in the enamel and look like wind blow sandstone. This is where a power brush will help again. It sustains well, has a small head (see #1) and slows down if you push hard.
The Important Additional Equipment, #3 The Floss Tape
Brushing your teeth is NOT cleaning your teeth. Brushing your teeth is HALF cleaning your teeth. So if you haven’t flossed, you don’t have a fresh smelling mouth and those bacteria are throwing a party. Brushing your teeth is the equivalent of a Top-And-Tails bath. Add the flossing and it is the full shower. Don’t go through life Top-And-Tail bathing everyday…eeeek!
Without flossing food and bacteria are guaranteed to be left in your mouth. Yuck.
#4, Your Least Favourite: Don’t Eat Sugary Foods Especially Snacks
No doubt there are few people that exclude sugar from their diet. What will help is if you restrict the sugary intake to meal times when your saliva is the most active and can neutralize the acids. Wean yourself off sugar in your tea and coffee and this will assist with reducing the acid.
#5 Tongue Test
If you want to test if you have done a good brushing job then run your tongue along the teeth especially at the point where the teeth meet the gums. Smooth? Thumbs up. If you want to be scientifically sure you can purchase disclosing tablets, chew one and it will reveal any areas you have missed. We would propose addressing flossing first if you are not already doing it.
#6 Do Contact Your Dentist With Problems, Even “Small” Ones
If your gums start to bleed, if you see a lump, discoloration or an ulcer tell your dentist. It may be a minor thing but it can sometimes be an indicator of a larger health issue. It’s your health so never be hesitant about taking special care.
#7 Do Not Start Bad Oral Habits
Smoking, drinking, chewing on pens, pencil and other things (really, people, you are not puppies) all are bad ideas for the health of your mouth. Getting an oral piercing can cause a chipped tooth or gum issues. Clenching or grinding your teeth will damage your teeth, your jaw joints and fatigue your muscles, the latter possibly leading to bad headaches. Playing sports without a mouthguard. Ask your dentist for advice on curbing any new habits you are leaning towards.
#8 DO Use Fluoride Toothpaste
A mountain of evidence shows fluoride preventing cavities and repairing enamel. Don’t eat the whole tube but don’t avoid it because of the high drama reports by the main stream press. At 3 years and below have a smear of toothpaste on the brush and up to the age of 6 use a small pea sized blob.
#9 Don’t Brush Or Floss After Beverages a.k.a. Soda, Energy Drink, Fruit Juice, Wine
Acids soften your teeth by dissolving the top layers. They literally dissolve the calcium out of the surface enamel. Yikes, we hear you say. Saliva neutralizes the acid and remineralizes the enamel. However, only after 30 to 60 minutes.
#10 DO Drink Enough Water
Who would have thought this related to dentistry. Mouth dryness is really a no-no for mouth hygiene as it increases plaque build-up. It can be caused by: tea, coffee, over-the-counter medicine like sinus tablets, prescription medication, alcohol and smoking. Keeping your mouth moist helps saliva production, saliva protects the teeth and the mouth. So no more bottom-of-the-bird-cage mouths please: bring on the Perrier.
Thank you to Dr. Rayant for this list. We hope you found our explanations helpful and entertaining. If you are looking for advice from a dental office in Ottawa then please give us a call P: 613-736-5000, we would be delighted to answer your questions and/or set up an appointment to meet you and/or your family.