Your teeth vary in shape and size depending on their position within your mouth. These differences allow the teeth to do many different jobs. Teeth help us to chew and digest food. They help us to talk, and to pronounce different sounds clearly. Finally, teeth help to give our face its shape. A healthy smile can be a great asset and because this is so important, it makes sense to give your teeth the best care possible.
Tooth decay can be painful lead to fillings, crowns or inlays. If tooth decay is not treated, the nerve of the tooth can become infected and die, causing an abscess. This may then need root canal treatment or even extraction. It is very important that you keep up a good routine to keep your teeth and gums healthy at home. Gum disease is the largest cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is a preventable condition and can be treated and kept under control with regular cleaning sessions and check-ups, preventing further problems. If teeth are lost, it may be necessary to fill the gaps with bridges, dentures or implants.
It is easy to get your mouth clean and healthy, and keep it that way. A simple routine of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between the teeth, good eating habits, having sugary foods and drinks less often and regular dental check-ups can help prevent most dental problems.Although most people brush regularly, many don't clean between their teeth and some people don't have regular dental check-ups. A few small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in the long run.Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove any build-up on your teeth and treat any gum disease that has already appeared. But daily dental care is up to you, and the main weapons are the toothbrush and interdental cleaning. (Cleaning between the teeth).
If plaque is not removed by brushing it can harden into something called calculus another name for it is 'tartar'. As calculus forms near the gumline, the plaque underneath releases poisons causing the gums to become irritated and inflamed. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth and the gaps become infected. If gum disease is not treated promptly, the bone supporting the teeth is destroyed and healthy teeth can become loose and fall out. Gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss in adults and can lead to a need for dentures, bridges or implants.
Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to recommend a toothbrush suitable for you. However, adults should choose a small to medium size brush with soft to medium multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles or 'filaments'. The head should be small enough to reach into all parts of the mouth: especially the back of the mouth where it can be difficult to reach. Children need to use smaller brushes but with the same type of filaments.You can now buy more specialised toothbrushes. For instance, people with sensitive teeth can now use softer bristled brushes. There are also smaller headed toothbrushes for those people with crooked or irregular teeth.Some people find it difficult to hold a toothbrush, for example because they have Parkinson's disease or a physical disability. There are now toothbrushes, which have large handles and angled heads to make them easier to use.
Daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth is important because it removes plaque. If the plaque isn't removed, it continues to build up, feeding on the food debris left behind and causing tooth decay and gum disease.
Brushing removes plaque and food particles from the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth. Here is one method of removing plaque:1. Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth, then tilt the bristle tips to a 45 degree angle against the gumline. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of every tooth.2. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against the gumline.3. Use the same method on the inside surfaces of all your teeth.4. Brush the biting surfaces of the teeth.5. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small circular strokes with the front part of the brush.6. Brushing your tongue will help freshen your breath and will clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
Plaque can be stained with special dye painted onto your teeth with a cotton bud or with special disclosing tablets which you can get from the dentist.The stain is harmless and will show any areas of your mouth which need better brushing. Look particularly where your teeth and gums meet. Further brushing will remove the stained plaque.
You can clean between your teeth is with dental floss, interdental brushes or tape. Dental tape is thicker than floss and many people find it easier to use. Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gumline, areas a toothbrush can't reach. You should clean between your teeth at least once a day with floss. Your dentist or hygienist can show you proper flossing techniques.The following suggestions may help:1. Break off about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the other hand. As you use the floss, you will take up the used section with this finger. 2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumb and forefingers, with about an inch of floss between them, leaving no slack. Use a gentle 'rocking' motion to guide the floss between your teeth. Do not jerk the floss or snap the floss into the gums.3. When the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth until you feel resistance.4. Hold the floss against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat on the other side of the gap, along the side of the next tooth.5. Don't forget the back of your last tooth. When flossing, keep to a regular pattern. Start at the top and work from left to right, then move to the bottom and again work from the left to right. This way you're less likely to miss any teeth. At first it also helps to look in the mirror.It is also very important to clean around the edges of any crowns, bridges or implants. This can be difficult to do effectively using traditional floss and there are now specialist flosses to do the job thoroughly (such as super floss and specialist floss threaders). Ask your dentist or hygienist on how to use these properly and which method you should use.
Your gums may bleed or be sore for the first few days that you floss. This should stop once the plaque is broken up and your oral hygiene has improved. If the bleeding does not stop, tell your dentist. It may be that you are not flossing correctly or your teeth and gums need a more thorough clean by your dentist or hygienist.
You can use a floss holder or an interdental cleaning aid. Interdental cleaning aids include woodsticks or small interdental brushes used to remove plaque from between the teeth. Your dentist or hygienist can explain how to use these properly.
Many people think that it is a high level of sugar in your diet that causes decay, but this is not so. It is how often you have sugar in your diet, not the amount that causes problems. It takes an average of 40 minutes for the mouth to neutralise the acid caused by eating and drinking sugar. It is therefore important to limit the number of attacks by keeping sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes.
It is just as important to clean dentures as it is to clean your natural teeth. Food can become caught around the edges of dentures and clasps, and can rot if not cleaned thoroughly. You should keep a separate toothbrush for cleaning your dentures. The general rule is: brush, soak, brush. Clean your dentures over a bowl of water in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking, to help remove any food debris. Soak the dentures in a specialist cleaner for a short time and then brush the dentures again - as you would your natural teeth. Make sure you clean all of the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which comes into contact with your gums. If you notice a build-up of stains or scale, have your denture cleaned by your dentist or hygienist. Most dentists still recommend a small to medium-headed toothbrush.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will tell you how to care for your implants after surgery. It is very important to make sure you clean them regularly and thoroughly as instructed to prevent gum disease and possible infection.
Look for products carrying the British Dental Health Foundation logo on the packet. These products have been clinically and scientifically proven to the satisfaction of a panel of experts. The claims made on the labels must be accurate in what they say and what they imply.
Good dental health begins with you. By following this simple routine, you can keep your mouth clean and healthy: 1. Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. 2. Use a small to medium size toothbrush. 3. Use a toothbrush with soft to medium multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles. 4. Use small circular movements to clean your teeth. 5. Change your toothbrush regularly, every 3 months. 6. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or wood sticks or interdental brushes. 7. Have sugary drinks and foods less often.8. Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.