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How to brush effectively- taking care of your teeth

is brushing really that important?

Most people are taught to brush their teeth well twice a day, without knowing the exact reasons why. Brushing your teeth is essential for keeping your mouth healthy, and prevents build up of plaque and tartar.

Every snack or meal build up plaque that can harden without regular, thorough brushing. This can lead to decay that damages enamel, and also poor appearance. 

Proper brushing can also prevent cavities or other dental issues that will end up requiring extensive, costly procedures to fix. Take preventative measures- it’s best to be safe, rather than sorry. You’ll also be contributing to better breath and gum health with routine brushing.

The best way to brush...

Official NHS advice is to brush twice a day- once before bed and another time of your choice. Use a fluoride toothpaste to clean the surface of your teeth, and follow any other guidance you may have been given at a check-up by your hygienist. Healthline provide a break-down of the steps every person should take to ensuring clean teeth:

  1. Wet your toothbrush and apply the toothpaste on- a pea size amount is all that’s necessary. 
  2. Use small, circular motions to brush your teeth. Back-and-forth movement can wear down your teeth and gums, whereas circular motions clean the teeth without extra force on other parts of the mouth. Ensure you’re not brushing too hard- this can cause tooth sensitivity as you begin to brush away at enamel.
  3. Use a mirror to make sure you’ve brushed each part of your mouth. Many miss the back as it’s harder to see and reach, which is a mistake that can lead to eventual decay. 
  4. Go over the inside surface of your teeth. The outer surface isn’t the only part of your mouth- don’t miss it!
  5. Brush your tongue. This significantly improves breath and gets rid of any built-up bacteria. 

If you can- avoid rinsing. The NHS states that this washes away leftover fluoride and doesn’t give it time to take effect. Mouthwash is beneficial, but it is recommended to be used at a different time, possibly for freshening up after a meal or a snack.

encourage your kids to brush

Practice good habits and get your kids brushing- they can also be affected by decay and cavities, so establish a regular routine with them to teach them proper oral hygiene. The NHS suggests using a timer to make the process more fun, while simultaneously teaching how long they need to brush for. 

Children are provided free NHS cover for dental treatments until the age 18. This includes regular check-ups and any treatments as needed. Make the most of this- your child’s hygienist can provide personalised advice on how to maintain good oral health depending on your child. 

Keeping their teeth clean at an early age means they’re more likely to continue this practice later on in life, which will save a host of debilitating dental problems and costs. 

Electric vs. manual

Electric toothbrushes have increased in popularity over the years, as they have become more common and affordable. Many stick with tried and tested manual toothbrushes- but what’s really more effective.

If you have limited mobility or find the back areas of your mouth hard to reach, an electric toothbrush may be helpful as it does a lot of the work for you. It can also be helpful if you have an orthodontic appliance, such as braces, as certain areas may be tougher to clean properly. 

Essentially, it comes down to you and your routine. Manual toothbrushes can do just as good of a job at removing plaque and tartar, if you brush properly. 

other ways to keep your oral health in top shape

Keeping your teeth clean requires more than a regular burshing routine. If you find that your oral health isn’t in the shape you want it to be despite routine cleaning, you may have to consider lifestyle factors that contrbute to dental problems. Reducing consumption or cutting out bad habits mean you may see improvements in your oral health. Try the following:

  • Cut down consumption of sugary food and drink- sugar interacts with plaque to produce acid and cause cavities.
  • Monitor your smoking habit- this can lead to gum disease and staining on the teeth. 
  • Alcohol consumption-this causes increased acid levels in the mouth which leads to tooth erosion. 

Changes to these habits can drastically improve your dental hygiene. 

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