Clean your Teeth Well

November 12, 2012

Clean your Teeth Well

If you can brush your teeth for two minutes every time you brush them it will ensure a healthy mouth and teeth. If you are an adult then your toothbrush should have an arrangement of soft or medium, long and short round ended bristles and be angled. The time to do the brushing should be an hour after your last meal in the evening and after breakfast everyday. The reason for waiting an hour means that the saliva has had a chance to neutralize the effects of what you have been eating. Sugary foods or fizzy drinks generate acid which can cause the enamel to soften. Waiting an hour to give the acid a chance to be neutralized is beneficial.

The best type of electric toothbrush has an oscillating or rotating head because this will reduce plaque more effectively. This means less chance of gum disease as well as healthy clean teeth. Your toothpaste should contain fluoride in the correct concentration for your age in addition to the cleansing agents used to remove plaque from the teeth. Fluoride is included because it is known to help prevent decay. Every brand is different but recommended amounts are:

  • Infants to age three: a smear of toothpaste on the brush. It must be no less than 1,000ppm (parts per million) of fluoride.

  • Children aged three to six: a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride.

  • Adults: use toothpaste that contains at least 1,450ppm fluoride.

All of these amounts are easily achievable just by using a standard family toothpaste. This will ensure that your mouth and teeth remain healthy. Some tips to aid your dental hygiene are; never share your toothbrush, this can allow infections to spread and always replace your brush regularly, most dentists recommend about every three months.

What is really in your mouth?

Your gums, lips, teeth and tongue are all coated with bacteria, and most of the time they are alright. They are good bacteria and we need them to remain healthy. Some other sorts of bacteria can be problematic. They attach themselves to teeth and produce acids which can destroy the enamel which surrounds our teeth causing decay. These bacteria are known as plaque. The main foodstuff for these bacteria is the sugar in our mouth which comes from food and drink.

If you do not brush you teeth regularly then plaque can multiply to the level where, over time, it can cause teeth and gum problems. A good way to minimise plaque is to avoid acidic food and fizzy drinks except at meal times.

How to brush

The British Dental Health Foundation gives advice on how to brush teeth effectively. Always brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth, this is where the plaque will be found. The toothbrush should be held against your teeth and then tilted to about 45 degrees whilst moving in circular movements. Ensure that all the surfaces of all teeth are done several times. Start on the outside of the teeth and keep the bristles angled against the gum line and then tilt the brush and use this same method on the inside of the teeth. In addition tilt the brush vertically and brush in circular motions with the front of the brush. Brushing your tongue will remove bacteria and help to clean your mouth.

Do I need to floss?

Flossing regularly can help remove plaque along the gum line and so reduce gum disease which can cause bad breath. It is also a very useful tool for removing food that is stuck between teeth.

Flossing is easy and effective and can be done by taking 30-45cm (12-18 inches) of floss between your hands but only hold two or three inches tight. Slip the tightened part of the floss between the teeth until it reaches the spot between your teeth and gums. Now floss by stroking up and down between each tooth about 8 to 10 times. This will remove food and plaque. Floss at least once a day, it doesn’t matter when and you can floss before or after brushing your teeth but the most effective time to floss is before going to bed.

Are mouthwashes effective?

Mouthwashes sometimes contain alcohol, if this is that case never give them to children. Sometimes the alcohol will dry out the lips. If it bothers you get an alcohol free version instead. If you take a mouthwash containing fluoride, chlorhexidine or other antiseptic ingredients then they will provide some improvement to plaque control and the condition of your gums. To get the most benefits from your mouthwash it should be done in conjunction with tooth brushing. Some mouthwashes are made from essential oils but are not so successful at removing plaque.

Additional Items

If you sometimes get some bits of food lodged between your teeth do not use toothpicks. They can start gums bleeding because they are too sharp and this can lead to infection. Dental flossing is much kinder to your teeth and gums and just as effective. A very good way to clean between teeth is by use of aninterdental tooth brush.

Plaque-disclosing tablets can be very useful to show children where the plaque is residing in their mouths. They work by producing a dye which sticks to the plaque so the children know where to brush the most. Children can just keep brushing until the dye is gone.

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