Ten Top Tips For Improved Oral Health
Synergy Clinic Dental Hygienist, Adam Mohsen, offers some useful advice on having a healthy mouth
When we think about dentistry, we tend perhaps, to think largely about our teeth. After all, anyone who has neglected their teeth and had a painful toothache will know just how bad that can be.
Whilst focussing on our teeth, it is possible to forget that we also need to look after the soft tissue in our mouth. Increasingly this, and especially gum disease, is being linked to other health issues as well as being a contributory factor for tooth loss.
In addition to being linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other health issues, there are now claims that people with gum disease are nine times more likely to die of Covid-19 than those with healthy gums ( https://dentistry.co.uk/2021/02/04/covid-patients-gum-disease-die/ ). Whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you have gum disease, this will happen to you, it seems clear that should you be unfortunate to find yourself seriously ill in hospital with the virus, your chances of recovery are better if you have a healthy mouth.
Hopefully, most of our Addlestone patients will already carry out most of the tips below, but we suspect that most will find one or two of these tips that they can add to their routine to keep their mouth in the best health possible.
- Brush regularly and correctly – This is the most basic thing that you can do and we make no apologies for repeating this time and again. You should brush for 2 minutes in the morning and last thing at night, with nothing but water to drink afterwards for the night time one. Make sure that your brush or brush head is no more than 3 months old and angle the bristles so that they reach beneath the gum line. Finally, spit but don’t rinse so that the fluoride in the toothpaste can strengthen the enamel of your teeth.
- Use dental floss – If you have tried to use floss before but failed, please try again. Adding flossing to your routine will make a big difference to your gum health by removing food particles and bacteria from between the teeth, where a lot of dental problems start. Ask us to demonstrate how to do this if you find it difficult.
- See the dentist – Make sure that you keep a six monthly appointment with your dentist. This is essential not only for healthy teeth but so that they can monitor your mouth for any symptoms that might indicate serious issues such as oral cancer. If we see anything that concerns us, you will be referred to your GP for further investigation.
- See a dental hygienist – Most people see a dentist but fewer visit the hygienist with any regularity. Seeing a hygienist allows you not only to discover ways of looking after your teeth and gums better but also enables them to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, removing tartar, which attracts further bacteria, from the teeth and gum line. Don’t underestimate the importance of these visits if you want to keep your mouth healthy.
- Limit your sugars – We all know that sugar is harmful for our teeth but did you know that this is largely because it provides a food source for bacteria that can lead to decay and gum diseases like periodontitis. Restrict chocolates etc to treats and avoid altogether as much as you can.
- Don’t ‘snack’ – Aside from the fact that many snacks tend to be unhealthy, any type of constant snacking is a problem as it doesn’t allow sufficient time between snacks for our saliva to wash away the sugars. As this accumulates throughout the day, our teeth become more and more at risk. When you do eat a snack, and especially a sugary one, try to swill the mouth with water to remove any food that is stuck on or between your teeth.
- Drink water – Hydration is important for our health but also our mouth too. In addition to flushing food debris, it helps to prevent us from getting a dry mouth. Dehydration can mean that we wake up with a very dry mouth in the morning especially and this is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive and potentially harm our teeth and gums. Make sure that you use water to rehydrate and not sugary drinks.
- Avoid ‘sports’ drinks – This really goes for any sugary beverage but those advertised as ‘sports drinks’ may seem to be innocent and even good for us. The truth is that although these may contain natural sugars, it is still sugar and is harmful to our teeth. Some of these are also quite acidic and may well cause erosion of the tooth enamel, potentially leading to sensitive teeth and an increased risk of tooth decay.
- Consider using a mouthwash – Using a mouthwash can be useful for helping to remove some bacteria and will also help by the swilling action to remove trapped food. Please do not think that this can replace brushing or flossing though and only use this as an additional aid and not a replacement.
- Don’t give up – Even if you have neglected your teeth and think that it is too late. This is not true. Much can be done these days to restore a good standard of oral health. From replacing missing teeth with dental implants to intensive gum treatment, a modern dental practice like the Synergy Clinic can really make a difference.
I hope that these tips help you to improve how you look after your teeth and gums. Remember though that you still need professional oral health care from a dentist and hygienist. To make an appointment to see one of us at our Addlestone dental practice, please call the Synergy Clinic on 01932 856541.
Adam Mohsen – Dental Hygienist – GDC number 253349