Looking after your teeth is the work of a lifetime, and it’s something which is best done in partnership with your dentist. A combination of the very best and latest treatments with a firm dental hygiene regime and a healthy diet is the best way to keep your smile looking healthy and attractive and the range of cosmetic treatments on offer at a modern surgery means that virtually any problem or situation can be dealt with. If your teeth are crooked, for example, then it doesn’t matter how clean or well looked after they are, your smile won’t be as impressive as it could be. Fortunately, the treatment required to straighten teeth no longer takes the form of cumbersome, intrusive metal strips cemented to the enamel. Modern teeth straightening technology consists of Invisalign – invisible teeth alignment braces which are lightweight, transparent and so unobtrusive that nobody will know you’re wearing them unless you choose to tell them. Whilst accepting that there’s no dental problem which modern dentistry isn’t up to dealing with, the very best course of action can often be simply asking your dentist for advice on basic hygiene matters and adhering to the actions they lay out for you.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that the best way to clean your teeth is simply to brush as firmly and vigorously as possible. This is a mistake, however, as ‘over brushing’ can in fact wear and damage the enamel of the teeth and lead to the gums receding. Keeping your teeth as clean and healthy as possible will involve following a few simple general tips from your dentist:
Brushing technique – cleaning your teeth may sound like the kind of thing that should just come naturally, but the truth is that it’s all too easy to develop bad habits throughout your life and end up with a brushing technique which almost does more harm than good. Your dentist or dental hygienist will demonstrate the best method to use and also advise as to which of the many varieties of toothpaste which are available will be most suitable for your teeth. The correct brushing technique, as recommended by dental hygienists, is as follows: Hold the bristles of the brush horizontally against the teeth and partly overlapping the gum line, then tilt the brush through 45 degrees so that the bristles work up under the gum line. Then move the brush in a tiny circular motion, removing plaque from under the gum, for about twenty strokes. It’s vital to ensure you do this gently enough to avoid damaging the sensitive tissue of the gums. Then move the bristles out from under the gum and towards the edge of the tooth, again helping to shift plaque. Do the same for every tooth, and clean each surface (such as the flat top of the molars) using the same small, gentle, circular motion. When brushing has been completed you should rinse your mouth with clean water to remove the plaque that has been shifted.
Flossing is vital in that it manages to get to those difficult to reach areas that a brush may miss, such as the tiny spaces where teeth meet each other. Food or plaque can gather in these gaps and cause decay or infection, so it’s vital that you remove it. Whilst the basic principle of flossing is fairly simple there are still a few basic pointers which your dental hygienist will be able to pass on:
Flossing technique – stretch out a short piece of floss to work with and guide it up between two teeth, easing it in with a gentle back and forth motion. Slowly ease the floss toward the base of the tooth and up to the gum line. This will loosen and skim any plaque present. Repeat the procedure on every edge of each tooth, always ensuring that you do not press so hard as to damage the gum. Whilst brushing and flossing are the basic building blocks of good dental hygiene there are a few other tools which you may feel you’d like to try out, providing you take the advice of your dentist first. These include the following: