1. Brush teeth twice a day for two minutes
Make sure you concentrate the bristles of the toothbrush along the gum line as this is where plaque tends to collect.
2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
Gum recession as a result of using a toothbrush with medium or hard bristles is a major cause of tooth sensitivity. If you are someone who feels their teeth aren’t clean unless you give them a good “scrub”, try using an electric toothbrush.
3. Floss once a day
Many people don’t floss as they believe it makes their gums bleed. In fact, the opposite is true. Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis (inflammation) caused by plaque build-up. If the plaque is regularly removed by flossing, your gums will no longer bleed.
4. Visit your dentist every six months
A dental check-up and hygiene appointment twice a year helps to keep dental disease at bay. A professional hygiene visit to have tartar, plaque and stain removed will leave your teeth looking and feeling great.
Regular check-ups will also help you build a relationship with your dentist, enabling a tailored treatment plan to be developed to cater for your specific needs. Also, preventive measures can be taken to help prevent complex and expensive treatments down the track.
5. Use products containing fluoride
A fluoride-containing toothpaste and/or mouthwash will help strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent decay.
Try to drink tap water rather than bottled water to increase the benefits of your fluoride use.
6. Eat a balanced diet
Calcium-rich foods – for example, yoghurt, cheese and milk – are essential for strong teeth and bones. Eating cheese after a meal can also aid in the prevention of decay by helping to remineralise tooth enamel and prevent erosion. Drinking a glass of milk along with sweets can reduce the potential for sugar to cause cavities.
Raw, crunchy foods help to naturally clean teeth, while vegetables and fruits provide nutrients for your gums, such as vitamins A and C.
Avoid excessive intake of tea, coffee, red wine and curry as these may stain your teeth.
7. Limit your intake of sweet and acidic food and drinks
All forms of sugar can result in cavities but foods that are sticky and highly processed pose a greater risk. To reduce this risk make sure any snacks you have between meals are sugar free.
Acidic food and drinks such as citrus, vinegar-based salad dressings, sports drinks and fizzy drinks (sugar free and regular) can erode tooth enamel and make your teeth more cavity-prone.
8. Chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals
This can help prevent tooth decay.
9. Protect teeth from injury
Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sport, both during the match and when training.
Do not chew ice, popcorn kernels or hard lollies as these may crack teeth or fillings. Also be careful when biting into stone fruit, eating meat from bones and drinking out of glass bottles.
Follow the above tips and show off your healthy smile!