4 steps to maintaining good oral health

There are so many reasons why taking proper care of your oral health should be a top priority. If not thoroughly cared for dental problems can not only affect your daily life but can be painful and expensive to resolve.

We asked the experts at Sharrow Dentist for their tips on how you can improve your oral hygiene and help keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

  1. Visit your dentist regularly

An adult should visit the dentist every 6 months – even if your teeth ‘feel fine’ and you aren’t experiencing any pain and have no issues. By attending regular check-ups your dentist will be able to check the health of your teeth, offer advice on oral health and brushing and spot in advance any potential issues such as cavities before they become a bigger problem.

A lot of people prefer not to spend more money than they have to at the dentist but booking in an additional hygienist appointment can actually be a wise investment! A hygienist will carry out a professional cleaning of the mouth to remove plaque and calculus which can help prevent cavities and gum disease.

If you notice any of the following dental problems then you should contact your dentist:

  • Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Loose permanent teeth
  • Unusual tastes in the mouth or persistent bad breath
  • Consistent sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Use the right tools

With consistent use of the dental products below you can easily and efficiently keep your mouth healthy! It needn’t be expensive either as most store ‘own brand’ versions are extremely affordable.

  • Toothbrush – when using the correct techniques both manual and electric toothbrushes can be used to effectively clean teeth. However most dentists would recommend using an electric toothbrush which can make brushing easier and provide better plaque removal. Remember to replace toothbrushes or  brush heads – every 3 months / if they get frayed / if you have used them when sick
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  • Toothpaste – try not to be swayed by the packaging promises of ‘whiter teeth’ or quirky flavours, just ensure that your toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride not only provides a protective barrier for your teeth but works by fighting the germs and bacteria that can lead to decay and helps to harden tooth enamel.
  • Floss – quite often forgotten about or misunderstood, flossing is not just something that’s done to remove food from in-between the teeth. Flossing once a day can provide benefits such as stimulating the gums, lower inflammation and reduce plaque.
  • Mouthwash – this is not just something used to freshen your breath! Mouthwash can work to help clean any hard to brush areas, re-mineralise the teeth and reduce the amount of acid in the mouth to balance and neutralise.
  • Cleaning techniques

These might seem obvious but when it’s something you do every day it’s easy to become complacent.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums
  • Ensure that all surfaces of the teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • Use a timer to ensure you brush for a full 2-3 minutes
  • Use gentle, circular motions and move back and forth
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue
  • Lifestyle

It’s not just what you do to your mouth when cleaning that has an impact on your oral health but your diet, habits and lifestyle also play a major part.

Sports – if you play sports that could potentially result in damage to your teeth then wear a mouth guard or full face helmet to help protect your teeth from becoming broken or knocked out.

Water – drink more water! It’s that simple. Water is the best drink for not just your teeth but your overall health. Drinking water after every meal can also help wash off some of the acidic and potentially harmful foods in-between brushing.

Sugary and acidic food – bacteria in dental plaque changes sugar into acids and this can lead to the erosion of enamel and cavities. Not removing totally – but limiting things such as fruit juices, soda, tea, coffee, alcohol and sugary food will go a long way to helping your teeth stay healthy.

Smoking – not only does this stain your teeth but it also causes bad breath and increases the chance of gum disease and mouth cancer as well as other serious health problems.