Looking After Your Teeth – The Essentials

A straightforward guide to achieving good oral health

Hello and welcome to the first dental blog from the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone. We will be using these blogs to bring you up to date with the latest news in the dental world, and to take the opportunity to explain to our patients, the treatments that we have available, in more detail. We will also look at general oral health care and start with a basic guide to this today.

Good oral health practice

To have healthy teeth and gums, we need to look at a number of aspects of how we look after them. These include what we eat and drink, how we clean them at home, and the professional care so necessary to ensure they stay in good health. All of these factors are important and we will focus on each in turn.

Diet

What we consume materially affects how healthy our teeth and gums are.  Excess sugar consumption is already widely known to be harmful to our teeth, leading to tooth decay. What fewer people probably appreciate is that it also acts as a food source for the bacteria in our mouth that can cause gum disease. This is important, as gum disease is not just about sore gums and spitting a little blood after brushing our teeth, but also about damage to the bone that holds the teeth in place. Without professional intervention, this can lead to tooth loss.

It is not only sugar that is harmful though. Acidic foods are equally problematic as they damage the protective enamel layer on our teeth. Once this has become compromised, decay and root canal infections may well follow. Even healthy foods such as citric fruits can be harmful in this way, although one of the worst culprits at the moment would appear to be the regular consumption of sports or energy drinks.

Smoking too is a real problem and significantly contributes to gum disease and also oral cancers. We will discuss these in more detail in future blogs.

Home cleaning

Most of us probably brush our teeth regularly, but  are we doing so correctly? Here are a few bullet point tips that will help you brush your teeth more effectively.

  • Change your toothbrush, or electric head, every three months. Bristles wear out and will not be as effective at removing food particles and bacteria.
  • Angle the brush approximately 45 degrees up or down, depending on which teeth you are brushing. Many problems start at the gum line and just under. Angling the brush in this way will help you clean here more effectively.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. Most toothpastes do contain fluoride but some ‘natural’ ones may not. Check the ingredients. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel on our teeth.
  • Leave 30 minutes after eating before brushing. The enamel of our teeth softens slightly after we have eaten and can be more easily damaged at this time. Allowing 30 minutes gives the tooth more time to remineralise.
  • Don’t brush too hard. ‘Scrubbing’ your teeth will not make them any cleaner but may cause enamel erosion. Use a gentle, circular motion to brush your teeth.
  • Use dental floss. Only around one in five of us use this, but adding it to your regular cleaning regimen is probably the most single effective improvement that you can make for better oral health. Tooth decay and gum problems often start in the areas between your teeth and using floss will help to keep this area clean.

Professional dental care

Even with the best home care and a tooth friendly diet, you still need to see your dentist on a regular basis. Our Addlestone dental practice provides excellent oral health care for the whole family. A six monthly check up will enable us to monitor your teeth and gums, and allows us to offer you advice on how to improve the way that you look after them at home, as well as providing any treatment necessary. It is always worth remembering that detecting problems at an early stage is likely to mean less extensive treatment than if left undetected for longer. We are also here for emergency dental appointments where necessary. Please try to make these appointments as early in the day as possible in order to give us the chance to make a same day appointment for you, where we can.

Seeing a dental hygienist in a similar time frame is also a great way of avoiding gum disease and leaving your mouth fresh and clean. We will cover the critical role of our hygienists in much more detail shortly.

In the meantime, we hope that you enjoyed our first blog and found it useful. We are always happy to write a blog on any relevant dental topic, so do let us know if you’d like something specific covered.

If you live in the Addlestone area of Surrey and would like to find out more about the dental procedures, both general and cosmetic, that we can offer, please call the Synergy Clinic on 01932 856541.