National Smile Month (2016 May 16 - 2016 June 16) begins, and this means that dentists everywhere are campaigning to improve the nation’s oral health. Some are giving away free consultations and discounts on treatments and are providing information for free at schools, work places and in public forums. To do our part, we are contributing a list of 10 things that we see all the time, without which the oral health of our patients would greatly improve.
Mouthwash is awesome, it gets to places where dental floss or a toothbrush simply cannot, on account of being a liquid, and neutralises bacteria all over the mouth. Make sure that you are using an alcohol free one though, as alcoholic mouthwash can do more harm than good, as it dries up the mucous membranes.
2.You MUST floss!
Flossing is not optional, it is not over zealous oral health activity, it is an absolute basic requirement, and must be done if you are to avoid cavities. If you find it difficult, use floss sticks or an interdental toothbrush, but you MUST clean between your teeth.
3.Don’t brush so hard
We usually find that patients brush too hard and for too little time. Make sure you gently brush your teeth, so as to not harm the enamel, and make sure you brush for at least two minutes at a time, going over each area several times before calling it quits. Floss first, brush later and then use mouthwash for a better oral health.
4.Wait a little before brushin
Brushing your teeth should be the last thing you do at night, and you should wait for at least half an hour after you have eaten or had anything sugary or acidic to drink before brushing, as the enamel is weakened by eating and by sugar. If you brush before, you may end up hurting your tooth enamel.
5.SLS free toothpaste
SLS is an ingredient commonly found in pastes of all sorts, and toothpastes also tends to have this material in it. This additive doesn’t do much for oral health, as it is just in there to make the consistency different, but it does cause canker sores, so try and get toothpaste that is SLS free.
6.Drink more water!
You need water in order to hydrate your mouth, as this is the best way that your mouth can fight off bacteria, by being properly lubricated. Saliva production is also necessary, as saliva has antibacterial properties and the gums also need lots of water to function properly and protect your teeth. Aside from this, certain foods and drinks like berries, coffee or tea require you to drink more water, as they can easily stain the tooth surfaces, and by drinking water you are soaking the staining agents off before they dry and bond with your tooth enamel.
7.Sugar free life
Try and eat less sugar or no sugar at all if possible. Aside from feeding harmful bacteria with it, sugar is bad for a number of other reasons as well, as it can cause diabetes, high blood pressure and is an addictive substance, after all.
8.Change your toothbrush!
Some people say 3 months, some people say 6-8 weeks, some people say 3 times a year, the point is, you need to change your toothbrush fairly frequently. Bacteria start to colonise your toothbrush, and each brushing makes it less and less effective. The best way to tell if you need a new toothbrush is to see how far the bristles stick out; if they stick out at all, and are bent in anyway, you should get a new one.
Proper nutrition is very important. But aside from the things you don’t eat, there are a couple of vitamins you need to keep your teeth healthy. These are A, D3 and K2. Make sure you eat plenty of these.
Unsweetened dairy products like milk, hard cheese, yoghurt and kefir or ayran are great for your teeth. They are mildly antibacterial, promote the growth of healthy intestinal flora, and have a bunch of minerals and building blocks of healthy enamel. They also coat the teeth in a layer of mineral rich film which binds to the teeth, and replacing minerals lost form your tooth enamel.