This article has been provided by Alison Hughes, Co-founder of Pacific Smiles Group. Alison’s background is in dental assisting and clinical dentistry. After attaining the Certificate in Dental Assisting, Alison went on to graduate from the University of Sydney as a Dental Practitioner in 1992. With over 20 years of experience in the dental field, Alison brings both practical and theoretical knowledge to her role as PD & SM where she provides professional input and support to independent practitioners who base their practices in PS Dental Centres. Alison is a member of the Australian Dental Association.
Working towards healthier teeth and gums
It’s a new year and time to take charge of a healthier, happier you. A great place to start is your dental care – are your teeth and gums as healthy as they should be? Do you visit your dentist regularly for a thorough check-up and clean?
Keeping your dental health in tip top shape doesn’t have to mean expensive electric toothbrushes and hours at the bathroom sink each day. Follow our four simple steps to healthier gums and teeth for 2018!
- Clean your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
It doesn’t take long for plaque and tartar to accumulate on your teeth. Plaque is the sticky film containing bacteria which develops on the surface of teeth. When combined with sugary foods plaque plays a major role in tooth decay. The bacteria within the plaque metabolise sugar and produce acid in the process. This attacks the tooth surface, leading to decay. Chemicals within the plaque can also irritate the gums. Brushing helps to scrub the plaque from the surface of your teeth before it builds up and hardens into tartar, which can no longer be removed with normal brushing.
Using a soft-bristled brush allows for gentler cleaning on your gums and prevents hard abrasive actions that can damage the tooth surface. A small toothbrush head will allow you to reach those ‘hard to get to places’.
Don’t forget to change your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or as soon as the brush looks more like a “shaggy dog” than a toothbrush. Worn-out bristles simply don’t clean as well. Using a fluoridated toothpaste also helps to increase your teeth’s resistance to decay.
- Floss between your teeth once a day to prevent build-up of food and plaque
Flossing is essential to removing food debris and plaque that gets stuck in the spaces between your teeth. If plaque and food debris are not removed, the acid attack can occur uninterrupted in-between your teeth and progress undetected for some time. Flossing will help get to those hard-to-reach areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is recommended at least once a day.
- Limit the intake of food and drinks high in sugar
The bacteria in plaque love to feed on sugars, and the more sugar you eat, the more plaque that forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed, the bacteria present continue to feed on the sugars with each intake of food. This continuous feeding of the bacteria leads to continuous production of acids which attack teeth. The chemicals in saliva help to balance the acids somewhat and offer some protection to teeth, however where sugars are eaten frequently, you end up with a prolonged acidic environment in which your teeth remain under attack. This is the perfect environment for decay. We recommend reducing sugary food and drink snacks!
- Visit your dentist for a check-up and clean every six months
Visiting your dentist for a regular oral examination every six months is essential for monitoring your teeth and gums for any anomalies and underlying dental problems. Spotted early, most dental issues can be resolved with minimally invasive treatments. Preventive dental check-ups are important for identifying and addressing problems at their early stages before they develop into major issues like chronic gum disease and severe tooth decay.
Coupled with professional cleaning, regular dental visits will make sure that your teeth and gums receive periodic deep cleaning that removes stubborn plaque and stains that normal brushing and flossing are unable to.
If healthy teeth are on the agenda for 2018, see how Pacific Smiles Dental can help you meet the New Year grinning! All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.