By Laura Bailey, Indigo Little Hygienist
Prevention, prevention, prevention. Now you’re either yawning or you’re thinking ‘Arghh stop saying it! The word sounds funny now!’, but I will keep shouting it until the cows come home, or the pigeons since were in London. The reason? It can stop all dental pain and problems. Yes, ALL. So why is it such a frustrating topic for dentists and hygienists alike? It’s in our human nature to live life to the fullest and worry about the consequences later. Now please don’t get annoyed at me if you’re within the small percentage that has impeccable habits and would never act in such a manner, but the truth is most of us don’t. I’m guilty of it, eating that chocolate bar in the late afternoon when my blood sugar is low, or getting into bed on a cold night and realising you haven’t brushed your teeth, rolling over and thinking, ‘One night will be fine’. I understand how hard it can be, I’m certainly not perfect (now you won’t hear many hygienists say that!). However that doesn’t mean I will give up on my daily quest to educate, prevent and inspire.
So what are my most common moans, sorry, I mean pieces of advice? I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best preventative measures you can take to preserve ultimate oral health. If you can keep to these five little gems, I promise your mouth will be a happier place.
1) BRUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE A DAY! – Simple, right? Brushing your teeth twice a day is one of the best and easiest investments you can make to your oral health. It takes 2 minutes a time and with the awesome electric toothbrushes these days you don’t even have to time it. You just brush away until it stops buzzing. When you brush, make sure you get right down by that gum line, angling the bristles into it.
2) INTER DENTAL CLEANING – I.e. cleaning between the teeth. Use floss, Tepe brushes, water Pik’s or all three if you’re feeling eager. But please just make sure you’re doing it daily, and if not daily (I know life is busy), then at least four times a week. The difference it will make will be astonishing.
*Handy Fact Alert*- If you’ve got swollen gums, give it between 6-12 weeks of proper hygiene habits to see full healing and reduction in bleeding.
3) CONTROL YOUR SWEET TOOTH – ‘Not a chance!’ I hear you say! I’m not saying don’t ever eat sugar and cry in a corner when everyone at the office is eating cake and all you can hear in your head is me telling you off. You can enjoy that cake all you want, as long as you have it with your lunch or shortly after. I’m not a complete kill joy. Carrying on with the cake analogy…Don’t eat more than three pieces at separate times in a day as this is when we get the ‘acid attack’.
4) SPIT, DON’T RINSE – There are a number of reasons why we use toothpaste while brushing. One being because of its great re-calcification properties, otherwise known as the superhero that is fluoride. When we brush, we remove a micron layer of tooth enamel, the fluoride helps replace this as well as rebuilding areas that have had a bout of the dreaded ‘acid attack’(remember that from earlier?). It also has a negative charge so repels the bad bacteria from the gum and tooth (the really awful bacteria has a positive charge). So keep the toothpaste in your mouth as long as possible by not rinsing.
5) COME VISIT ME – Yes! I would ideally love to see you every 6 months, but sometimes I may require to see you more often, this may be because your oral hygiene isn’t quite tip top or it may be just because I like you and it would be cool to see you more often. Seriously though, when plaque builds up it can calcify because of the minerals in your saliva. When hard, it’s known as calculus (or tartar). Once it hardens you can’t remove it and it will irritate the gum causing inflammation and tissue destruction, eventually leading to gum disease. Tartar is also more porous then tooth tissue and holds bacteria better, leading to some pretty rotten bacteria taking residence. These bacteria can cause lots of issues so I’d rather it wasn’t given the chance.
So, there we go, my top 5 tips for looking after your mouth. I hope it was informative as well as engaging and if you’re reading this and finished the whole blog then you’ve fulfilled my goal for today; to help at least one person prevent having dental complications. Have a great week and I really hope to meet you soon if I haven’t done so already and to my already loyal patients; heyyyyyy!!
Posted by Indigo Little on 11th September 2014, under Oral Hygiene and Prevention