While the fluoride water war warms up among medical and dental experts who decide what our drinking water should be spiked with, there is news on what you can do for your teeth at home.
The organization most concerned is Sydney University’s Department of Preventive Dentistry. While always encouraging regular visits to the dentist, more recently they have prompted concerned dental laboratories to come up with better products that can be used for home care.
You deserve congratulations if you’ve got your full quota of 32 sparkling chompers, but only conscientious care will keep them with you forever.
Quite simply, neglect is the major cause of a decline in the condition of your teeth. According to the Department of Preventive Dentistry, the accumulation of bacteria is the bugbear. The dental profession calls this bacteria plaque and it’s a word you should get used to.
Plaque is an invisible band of micro-organisms that settles on the teeth and attacks the enamel. While you can’t see plaque, you can feel it if you don’t brush your teeth for 24 hours. Run your tongue across them. That furry feeling is plaque, gathering to attack. What you need to do is keep it to an absolute minimum.
Here’s how: First you must set aside time (10 minutes) twice a day – morning and night – to clean your teeth correctly. Second, understand the foods that encourage the formation of plaque and stay away from them in between meals. Third, consult your dentist every six months and weekly check for the plaque at home.
Brushing: How you brush is critical because no two mouths are really alike. The best way to learn to brush is from your dentist who will detail a brushing guide to suit your teeth. Otherwise, follow this guide:
Take your toothbrush with freshwater remove excess particles around the teeth. Then put on the toothpaste (fluoride please, according to the Department of Preventive Dentistry) and brush, following the grain of the teeth.
Follow an upward direction from the lower jaw; a downward direction from the upper jaw, both inside and out. Gently massage the gums in a soft circular motion (this is why you need a soft toothbrush) and then rinse. Take a gulp of water and push the cheeks in and out, squirting the water between your teeth.
Next, use your dental floss. You need it because a toothbrush simply cannot reach all the crevices in and around teeth.
Floss looks just like cotton although it is waxed for your protection. Take a generous amount (more than half a meter) and wind it around the index fingers on each hand.
Starting at the back of the mouth push the floss down between two teeth then, keeping it very taut, scrape it back through the teeth, pulling all the time against the side of one tooth.
Now repeat the process pushing the floss between the same two teeth and bring it out against the other tooth.
Now that you know how to brush your teeth you should know what implements to use and how to follow the care through.
The best brush is one with a small head, soft bristles, and a flat surface. Probably the most harmful brush is a very hard one. A toothbrush should sweep over your teeth, that’s why it shouldn’t be too stiff.
While brushing and flossing constitute the major part of home care, a disclosing mouthwash will show up neglected areas. One of the most advanced home care dental kits is made by Oral-B. It contains a toothbrush and dental floss plus disclosing tablets and a tooth mirror.
Once a week Oral-B suggests you test the amount of plaque settling on the teeth with their disclosing tablet. Take the tablet and suck it until it dissolves. The teeth color a rosy pink but the areas where the plaque is accumulating color a brilliant crimson.
Use your tiny mirror (a plastic version like your dentist’s) to check back crevices, then clean away the stain with your brush paying particular attention to the brightly colored areas.
While your teeth are plaque-free after breakfast almost anything you put into your mouth, even a breath sweetener or cup of tea will start the plaque-forming process again. Try and avoid between-meal snacks and finish a lunchtime meal with an apple (still tops), other fruit, cheese, nuts, a stick of celery or a carrot.