Good Dental Hygiene helps to prevent a range of dental problems.
Fluoride is a natural substance which helps to protect against tooth decay. It is a natural substance and is generally found in food, water, plants and toothpaste. Fluoride not only helps prevent cavities and slows the growth of decay, but it can also reverse decay in its early stages. The enamel of a tooth remineralised with fluoride is stronger than the original tooth surface. Although fluoridated water is easily accessible via the tap for the majority of Australian’s, some still do not have access to adequately fluoridated water. If this is the case, the dentist can advise you about other sources of fluoride, such as fluoride drops or supplements. The dentist will prescribe the required amount based upon the patient’s age, fluoride levels in the primary source of drinking water, and other dietary sources of fluoride.
Oral Hygiene Instructions
Regular brushing of your teeth twice a day (morning and night), along with flossing once a day will put you on the right path to effective oral health. To gain the maximum benefit from brushing your teeth, you should be brushing for two minutes, spending roughly 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth. The tools of the trade are also a very important aspect. You are best using a soft bristled toothbrush with a small head and flexible neck which will help to most effectively remove plaque and any debris from your teeth. Aim to replace your toothbrush/brush head every three months or at the first signs of wear and tear, whichever comes first. Below are some tips on brushing, using either a manual or electric toothbrush.
Manual Tooth Brushing Technique
Place the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum margin. Gently move the toothbrush in a small circular, forward and backward, jiggling or vibrating motion over each tooth to remove plaque found both above and below the gum line. Repeat this process on both the inner and outer surfaces of each tooth. Clean the chewing surfaces by using a backward and forward scrubbing action. Electric Tooth Brushing Technique Place the head of the brush against the tooth at the gum margin and move it in a gentle, rolling motion to cover all surfaces (inner, outer and chewing surfaces). Slight pressure against the tooth surface is sufficient, as the electric toothbrush will do most of the work.
Tooth brushing for Children
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, and children’s fluoride toothpaste, (400ppm fluoride NOT adult 1000ppm fluoride until they are over 6 years of age).
Did you know that nearly half the surface area of your teeth lies between them. So, if you’re solely relying on brushing you’re not cleaning a large portion of your teeth! Ultimately, this can affect how healthy your teeth and gums are. By removing the plaque from between your teeth, you’re helping to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and halitosis, otherwise known as “bad breath”. So flossing, or interdental cleaning as it’s officially known, is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums, and not some kind of “nice to have” added extra. Ideally, you should floss your teeth once per day, either in the morning or night, or even after lunch, for at least two minutes..just be careful not to damage your gums. If you are flossing for the first time, it may be difficult at first, but over time it will become much easier….it’s all in the technique.
- Take about 45cm of floss and wrap the ends around the second finger of each hand, leaving only a small
piece between the two hands.
- With one of the fingers in the mouth, draw the floss down into the gap between two teeth using a gentle
see-sawing action until it slips just slightly under the gum level.
- Wrap the floss around one side of the tooth and use a wiping action to remove plaque and food debris.
- Re-insert a clean section of floss between the same two teeth.
- Wrap the floss around the other tooth and wipe the side of that tooth.
- Repeat these steps around the mouth until the spaces between all teeth have been cleaned.
During your consultation with one of our Hygienists, they will be able to provide advice on the best method
for cleaning your teeth and gums. Alternative options such as Pixters and TePe Brushes may be suggested if
Prevention of tooth decay
Dental disease, both gum disease and tooth decay, are caused by plaque being left on teeth. Within minutes of teeth being cleaned, an invisible sticky layer of film, called plaque, forms on all tooth surfaces. Bacteria from the mouth attach to this film and begin to grow. The bacteria in plaque are able to damage the teeth and gums by causing tooth decay and gum disease. A new layer of plaque will grow on teeth every day and for this reason, the plaque should be thoroughly removed with correct brushing and flossing techniques on a daily basis and with regular visits to your Hygienist.