As dental specialists we know a thing or two about teeth. From the best ways to care for them, to the role they play as an indicator of overall body health, there’s a lot more to your teeth than just giving you a confident, attractive smile. These are some of the key facts about teeth that everyone should know.
You don’t have to use toothpaste
There’s no rule that requires this. However, it’s the fluoride in the toothpaste that helps to prevent tooth decay so, without it, you’re putting your teeth at a disadvantage straight away.
Fluoride mouthwash isn’t really necessary
If you’re using a fluoride mouthwash after brushing with a fluoride toothpaste then you’re just rinsing away the fluoride from the paste and replacing it with another source. It’s better to use mouthwash at another time during the day when your teeth haven’t already had a dose of fluoride.
There’s no getting away from flossing
Teeth fact: flossing is a necessary part of positive dental health. Why? Well because it gets to the plaque that accumulates between the teeth and helps you to avoid gum disease. Most of the evidence suggests that those who are regularly flossing have less gum bleeding, which is the first sign of gum disease.
You need to brush twice a day
Most dentists will tell you that you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day – either before or after breakfast and then in the evening before going to bed. Brushing more frequently can be beneficial, especially after sugary food or fruit juice, but be wary of brushing too often, as this can also weaken teeth and gums.
Chewing gum actually helps
As long as it is sugar free, chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva, which is the mouth’s natural guard mechanism against the acid that causes the bacteria that leads to decay and plaque.
Electric toothbrushes do give you an advantage
According to research carried out by the Cochrane Oral Health Group, using an electric brush was associated with a 21% reduction in plaque.
Spit but don’t rinse your toothpaste
We all know not to swallow toothpaste but did you know that you don’t necessarily need to rinse once you’ve brushed your teeth? The longer the fluoride in the toothpaste stays on your teeth the better, so avoid rinsing when you can.
Your teeth are connected to your overall health
Problems with your teeth can indicate other issues, from diabetes to heart disease. There are direct correlations between higher levels of gum disease and these more serious conditions.
A grazing diet can be more damaging
Snacking and sipping throughout the day creates more opportunity for the acids in foods containing carbohydrates or sugars to attack the teeth. It’s far better for your teeth for you to stick to meals and keep the snacking to a minimum.