Watch Your Mouth. This was the focus message for Dental Health Week this month, taking the attention away from teeth specifically and instead, focusing on the whole mouth.
The ADA had 4 key messages that fed into their overarching tagline. The four key messages reinforced the need for people to:
- Brush teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean in between teeth once a day (with floss or interdental brushes)
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit sugar intake
- Regularly visit the dentist for check-ups and preventative treatment.
These four points highlight the need to look after the mouth as a whole and to do so in more ways than simply brushing our teeth twice a day. Many people assume oral hygiene starts and finishes with brushing their teeth in the morning however this is simply not enough.
Brushing teeth twice daily
While you might assume you’re brushing your teeth enough and doing it correctly, there’s a good chance you’re not. The way in which you brush your teeth is just as, if not more, important than how regularly you brush them. To ensure your teeth are getting scrubbed properly, you should aim for at least two minutes morning and evening with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Medium to hard bristles can strip the enamel off your teeth and damage your gums, which only leads to further damage in the long run.
You should ensure you’re brushing every angle of each tooth and brushing in a circular motion. Be careful not to brush too hard as you can risk causing your gums to recede or damage the enamel on your teeth. And don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Half of the surface area of your teeth is missed if all you’re doing is brushing. It’s very important to get in between your teeth and remove any plaque that may be building up in order to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.
Making sure you get in between all teeth, particularly the back teeth where you do most of your chewing. You should be gently with your flossing and not irritate or cut your gums with any rough movement.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet
The food and drinks you put into your mouth are going to have an effect on the health of not only your body, but your teeth and gums. Not eating too much sugar is one of the most important nutrition tips for the health of your teeth. We all probably know that foods like lollies and soft drinks are not going to be good for our teeth, however there are many foods that have hidden sugars that you might not realise are causing damage. Many foods like biscuits, crackers, chips and dried fruits break down into sugars in the mouth. Crackers and biscuits are particularly dangerous when they sit in between the teeth as they can cause acid attacks on your tooth enamel.
To ensure your teeth are kept healthy, you should always be choosing water as a drink option and sipping it regularly throughout the day. This helps to wash away any foods left sitting in your teeth after meals and to keep moisture in your mouth.
Regular dentist visits
This is extremely important to avoid any small issues turning into bigger problems. If you’re coming into the dentist every 6 months, you are going to be less likely to run into any major oral health problems because your dentist will always be monitoring any changes. A regular checkup and clean will always help to keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as it should be. Have you had a check up recently? Book an appointment today.
Information sources - ADA (www.ada.org.au)