Keep your smile for life

female with brunette hair and blue eyes smiling with whit teeth

Did you know there are over 600 species of plaque growing in your mouth? These bacteria grow around and between our teeth and gums and, if not removed, may lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Keeping your teeth and mouth clean by brushing, flossing and rinsing can help reduce the likelihood of developing dental problems – and keep your teeth for longer.

Brushing your teeth

Using a toothbrush and toothpaste is what most people think of as the primary means of cleaning their teeth.

Frequently brushing your teeth and gums is essential if you are going to have any chance of keeping your teeth for life.  It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day to remove built up plaque on tooth surfaces.

Keeping between your teeth clean

Brushing alone cleans only 60% of tooth surfaces. For a total clean, you need to also clean between teeth to reach the other 40% of tooth surfaces that get missed by brushing alone.

There are many tools on the supermarket shelves that can help to clean between teeth, not just floss. Tape, a thicker version to floss, is sometimes more comfortable to the gums and, like floss, comes in many different varieties and flavours. If you keep trying different kinds of interdentals tools, you will eventually find one you like.

Two most popular ones include:

Piksters are like tiny bottle brushes that slide between teeth. They come in a variety of handles, sizes and colours.

Water flossers work by delivering high pressure water through a small tip attached to a water container. They are useful if you have gum disease or small spaces between your teeth make other methods impractical.

Flossing or using tools that go between your teeth and gums is a skill that needs practice. Some may find this task difficult, ‘a waste of time’ or just annoying but don’t give up. It’s never too late to try and master the art of cleaning between your teeth.

Rinsing – the final step in keeping your mouth clean

Mouth rinses contain different ingredients to target different problems in the mouth. While they should not be considered substitutes for regular tooth-brushing and flossing, they may be useful for reducing decay, gum disease, bad breath, dry mouth and tooth wear.

A dental professional may recommend specific mouth rinses for specific oral conditions but it’s important not to overuse them. Long term use can disrupt the natural immune system the body produces to protect the mouth.

Common mouth rinses:

Fluoride mouth rinses are recommended by dental professionals to control and prevent tooth decay. In addition, they may control tooth wear (erosion) to strengthen enamel.

Chlorhexidine rinses are effective in reducing the growth of plaque bacteria or for individuals who are unable to brush their teeth. Sometimes they are used to control advanced and deep infection in the mouth or after a surgical procedure that cannot be controlled by brushing alone. Chlorhexidine based rinses should be used for only a few days or on the advice of a dental professional as long-term use may alter perception of taste and cause brown staining on teeth.

Mouth rinses containing essential oils are proven to be effective in reducing bad breath.

Remember: brush and floss the teeth you want to keep!

Good dental health is achieved by doing more than just brushing teeth hurriedly once a day. For tooth and mouth cleaning to be effective, a regular regime of using tooth brushes, inter-dental tools and mouth rinses is essential. Your dental professional can recommend the specific tools for your needs and teach you the techniques to use them to gain a healthy outcome.

Book an appointment today with our friendly dentists at the Health Hub here, we will help you maintain your smile for life.

Sources: Queensland Health