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Dental care: What you should and shouldn't be doing

Teeth and dental hygiene

Did you know that two thirds of British brush their teeth twice a day, and yet tooth decay and inflammation of the gums are still common? Correct and, above all, conscientious dental care is essential for declaring war on tooth decay and, first and foremost, preventing it. Dental care is part of most Brits' daily routine, but tooth decay and periodontitis are still widespread in this country. How can that be possible? The reasons for this are apparently due to the quality of our teeth brushing – we brush regularly, but incorrectly.

Brushing your teeth properly is so easy when you know what's important. In this article, you will find out what you should pay attention to in your daily dental care, who should be particularly careful when it comes to daily care of their teeth, and which tools you absolutely must have at home.

Why is dental care important?

Bacteria stick to the tongue and teeth. If you don't clean them off regularly, they can multiply unhindered. This first causes plaque to develop, and then tartar. Not only does this look ugly; it also promotes the development of tooth decay and periodontitis.

There are around a billion bacteria in one gram of dental plaque, and up to a billion of them cavort in one millilitre of saliva. No matter how clean your oral hygiene is, the bacteria in your mouth will multiply. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because they fulfil important tasks: they strengthen the immune system and protect the mucous membranes. However, if these bacteria get out of hand, this can have serious consequences.

If you don't care for your teeth regularly, food particles will stick between your teeth. These provide an excellent source of food for bacteria. The result:

plaque. It primarily develops on the gum line, in the interdental spaces, grooves and in the gingival pockets. If the plaque is stuck to the tooth for a long time, it will eventually develop into tartar.

Just a few days of unbrushed teeth are enough to allow the plaque to harden. The carpet of bacteria on your tooth enamel mixes with food residues and minerals in the saliva, condenses into a hard mass and calcifies. Tartar first and foremost forms in places a lot of saliva reaches:

  • On the outside of the upper molars

  • Inside the incisors on the lower jaw

The toothbrush is now powerless to counteract this stubborn plaque. It can only be removed by a dentist through having a professional teeth cleaning.

As you can see, careful and adequate oral hygiene prevents dental diseases as well as other diseases in the oral cavity. The most important part of daily dental care is manual cleaning, i.e., brushing your teeth, which will always be indispensable.

Optimal oral hygiene – how to care for your teeth properly

Regular, thorough and effective dental and oral care removes plaque, bacteria and food residues from teeth and gums. It helps prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease (periodontitis). Optimal care with the appropriate custom aids ensures that your teeth, gums and oral cavity are kept healthy for a lifetime.

How often should you brush your teeth?

You should spend two to three minutes caring for your teeth twice a day, after breakfast and in the evening before bed. In addition to cleaning your teeth, daily dental care also includes cleaning your tongue.

The right time for this is not directly after a meal, as is often assumed. Acidic food and drinks, like coffee, dairy products, sweets and fruit, attack the tooth enamel. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming these kinds of foods, you will scrub minerals out of the enamel with the brush, which will make your teeth more prone to discolouration. You should therefore wait about half an hour to care for your teeth after eating. In the meantime, we recommend chewing a sugar-free gum. This stimulates the flow of saliva and also removes larger food particles from between the teeth.

Which toothbrush is recommended for daily dental care?

Good dental care starts with a good toothbrush. It must always be geared towards the needs of the user.

The range of toothbrushes available is enormous. Whether in chemist's shops, pharmacies, in the supermarket or online. We have put together a brief and snappy summary for you about the properties a good toothbrush should have.

A good toothbrush should:

  • have rounded, plastic bristles, as there is a lower risk with these of bacteria lodging.

  • have a small brush head, as these do not interfere in the mouth. This means you can get to the furthest corners of your mouth, making your dental care more thorough.

  • have multi-tufted bristles, as this bristle arrangement has proven to be particularly effective in daily dental care.

However, electric toothbrushes are also playing an increasingly important role in the lives of many people. Electric toothbrushes that are designed in a ring shape with rotating bristles perform circular movements so that the plaque is hurled off. Another variant is the ultrasonic toothbrush, which loosens the plaque with the help of ultrasound so that it can be more easily gripped and removed by the brush.

Electric toothbrushes are recommended by dentists in many cases. Although they are relatively expensive to buy, and also entail higher additional costs to purchase the brush heads, in the long term, such a purchase will still be worthwhile, have a positive effect on your dental health and simplify your daily dental care.

Fluoride toothpaste

Your toothpaste should contain an appropriate amount of fluoride for your age. The fluoride compounds protect against tooth decay and make teeth less sensitive to acids. They support the remineralisation of the tooth enamel, and are themselves stored in this. They also form a kind of protective film around the teeth and disrupt the metabolism of the caries bacteria.

What's the proper way to take care of your teeth?

To ensure that all teeth are optimally cleaned, dental care should always be performed in the same sequence and according to the same system. Your daily dental care routine should look like this:

  1. Always start and end cleaning your teeth in the same spot

  2. First clean the outsides and then the insides

  3. Clean jaw section by jaw section, always taking two to three teeth at a time

  4. Finally, clean the chewing surfaces with the bristles lying perpendicular

We recommend: the Bass method

This technique is based on small, shaking movements almost on the spot and is one of the most common tooth cleaning methods. Dentists recommend the Bass method – named after its inventor, the US doctor Charles Bass – for adolescents and adults. It is also known as the vibratory motion technique, as the toothbrush is used to make small shaking movements.

If you use the vibratory motion technique following the Bass method, you will be able to loosen even stubborn plaque from your teeth. The method can be used if you have healthy gums, but you can also use it with inflamed gums (gingivitis) or periodontitis. A quick check over the Bass technology:

  • Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle on the gum line

  • Only apply light pressure on the brush

  • Make small, shaking, vertical or slightly circular movements

  • Make wiping movements in the direction of the chewing surfaces

  • Clean the chewing surfaces using a back-and-forth motion

Professional teeth cleaning

Conventional dental care with a toothbrush and dental floss offers a good foundation for preserving your teeth. Stubborn discolouration and fixed-on plaque cannot be completely removed though. With a conventional toothbrush, you can only reach more cramped areas like the gum line or interdental spaces to a limited extent. Up to 40 percent of the tooth surfaces remain unbrushed. If leftover food is deposited there, plaque can form, which offers an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. This can results in tooth decay or periodontitis.

During a professional teeth cleaning, trained specialists will clean hard-to-reach areas in the oral cavity and remove dental plaque. The professional clean is to be seen as a support for your daily dental care and is not enough on its own to preserve your dental apparatus in the long term. This means that if you have a professional tooth cleaning twice a year, but become slack on your daily oral hygiene, you will not notice any improvements in terms of periodontal disease and the development of tooth decay.

Conclusion

With the right dental care, food residues, plaque or stains can be removed. It is the bacterial coating, in particular, that can really cause trouble for your teeth. In combination with sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria form acids that attack the tooth enamel and which can cause tooth decay. Daily dental hygiene is particularly important if you wear, for example, a DrSmile Retainer, as a large number of food residues can accumulate there.

If you want to keep your radiant smile and healthy, well-groomed, aesthetically pleasing teeth long term, you should make daily dental care a high priority.

It is also a good idea to have your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year, as certain areas of the teeth are difficult to reach even with thorough brushing.

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