PUBLISHED IN TCI WEEKLY NEWS
17th January 2014
Happy New Year to all my readers and patients! 2015 is already shaping up to be a great one! I always like to start the year with a review of the basic steps in maintaining great, healthy teeth and gums. I like to remind my patients that it isn’t difficult, it isn’t time consuming and it isn’t expensive. Make the commitment today to really care for your teeth and those of your family!
This is the single most important thing you can do to care for your teeth.
You should brush at least twice a day, when you get up in the morning and the last thing before going to bed at night. Use a toothbrush with a small head as this makes it easier to get into hard-to-reach places in the mouth. I recommend a fluoride toothpaste as fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, can reverse early decay and help reduce sensitivity.
Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth. 2 minutes is enough time to thoroughly brush an adult’s teeth. Also, keep an eye on the ‘health’ of your tooth brush. If the bristles are splaying out and flattening it’s time to invest in a new one.
In the case of younger children, it is often better that the adult does at least some of the brushing. I do not want to discourage children from brushing their own teeth but from experience with my own children I know that if I leave them to brush unassisted they generally just eat the toothpaste and then chew the toothbrush for a few seconds before announcing that they’ve finished!
It is recommended that adults floss once a day. I recommend flossing after you have brushed your teeth in the evening.
Aim for a diet that is low in sugar and high in healthy, nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables and whole grains. Particularly watch out for high-sugar drinks such as sodas, fruit juices and even smoothies.
Regular visits to the dentist
Six monthly check-ups with the dentist will ensure that any problems are detected early and corrective action can be taken. You can have cavities or gum disease without necessarily having pain; bad breath, bleeding gums, a white or light brown mark on the teeth can all be signs of potential problems or you may have no obvious symptoms at all. Early detection and correction of dental problems will mean less chance of dental pain, less chance of requiring emergency or complex treatment and less chance of losing teeth.
Professional cleaning will also ensure that teeth are given a thorough, deep cleaning and any calculus- which regular brushing at home cannot remove- is scaled away.
These simple steps will go a long way to keeping your teeth strong and healthy. Good luck with your resolutions and Happy New Year!