Everybody knows that brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste is recommended and that we should also floss daily and consume a sensible, low sugar diet. We all know that by doing these things we can reduce the chance of suffering from tooth decay and gum disease.
It is worth revising the reason why; with our busy lifestyles many of us sometimes forget to brush before bed and our box of floss gathers dust in the bathroom cabinet! This short piece will help to motivate you to get back on track with your cleaning regime and get you smiling again; confident that you are doing what is best for your long term dental care.
Firstly we need to understand that dental disease is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. By brushing twice daily we can keep the numbers of this bacteria down. The collective name for the bacteria that grows on the teeth is called plaque. Plaque gathers most readily at our gum line, in between the teeth, in the grooves on the tops of our teeth and around any dentistry that you may have.
So we need to aim for these areas when we clean. Brushing in a gentle circular motion around the gum line of each tooth, on the inside and outside of the teeth, is a great start. Follow this up with some floss, or interdental brushes if you prefer. When using floss make sure that you take the floss right under the gum as far at it will go, and scrape the plaque gently out from underneath. The bacteria underneath the gum is particularly destructive and you should try to get as much of it out as possible. You may find that your gums bleed when you do this, and this is a sign of gum infection. You will benefit from a trip to the hygienist to help remove any tougher deposits from the gum line.
Now that you have cleaned thoroughly, everything will be ok? Sorry, it’s not that simple! You cannot completely compensate for a diet that is high in sugar by cleaning alone. Whenever we consume sugar, the bacteria in the mouth feed off this sugar and produce acid. Even a small amount of plaque in the mouth can produce enough destructive acid to cause tooth decay.
Watch out for hidden sugars in foods and starchy foods like crisps. There is a lot of added sugar in processed food and you are probably getting more sugar than you think. Consider weaning yourself off of any sugar that you add to beverages. Even half a teaspoon in a cup of tea can be destructive if you have a few cups of tea a day. Our modern diets are laden with sugar and taking steps to reduce this will certainly help.
Our team at Pure Smiles are dedicated to preventive care, if you or your children would like some one to one advice, you are most welcome pop in and see us.