CARING FOR YOUR TEETH AND GUMS
The different sizes and shapes of your teeth allow them to perform various biting and chewing functions in your mouth. Some other vital functions of teeth include:
- Helping you to chew food so that they are easily digestible.
- Teeth help in the production of various phonetic sounds so that you can talk properly.
- Teeth provide a defined shape to the face.
- Teeth allow you to smile, and this gives a pleasing aesthetic appearance to your face.
What risk are your teeth exposed to?
Your teeth are extremely valuable and must be cared for appropriately, or it could develop the following issues:
- Presence of tooth decay:
Tooth decay is not only discomforting, but it can also be extremely painful. If not treated in time, infection from the decay can result in the death of the tooth nerve, and leave an abscess. You can schedule a dental health check at our Harley Street clinic in London to confirm if you've got a tooth abscess. When abscess occurs in a tooth, the only alternative to relieving the pain and trouble might be to undergo a root canal treatment or have the infected tooth removed.
Tooth decay could also result in fillings, and cause you to need a crown or a dental inlay
- Gum disease:
Gum disease is a common risk which your teeth can be exposed to if they are not properly cleaned and taken care of. Once you notice symptoms of a diseased gum, you have to ensure you get dental health check at once to confirm the cause of the disease and its treatment, or you could find yourself with bone loss around the teeth, or even loss of a tooth. To prevent gum disease, you need to maintain proper dental hygiene, by cleaning your teeth and flossing properly and scheduling regular dental health checks with your dentist to get your teeth cleaned.
Treatment of gum disease can be carried out easily by an experienced dentist, especially if you get it treated on time. In the case of tooth loss, your dentist can prescribe bridges, dentures or implants to ensure the gap is filled. Contact our Harley Steet London clinic today to make an appointment; we will ensure your gums are properly checked, and treated if diseased.
How can you keep your teeth and gums healthy?
Routine dental health checks are essential to ensure your teeth and gums are kept healthy. You can also practice good dental hygiene to keep you free from troubling dental issues. You can follow the tips below to ensure your teeth and gums are clean and healthy:
- Ensure you brush your teeth before bed using fluoride toothpaste. Also, brush your teeth at any other time during the morning or afternoon.
- Avoid rinsing your mouth after brushing, so that the fluoride remains longer on your teeth. An alternative is to spit out after brushing.
- Clean between your teeth no fewer than once a day; you can use 'interdental' brushes or floss to get this done.
- Ensure you stay away from sugary foods and drinks, as this can cause decay in your tooth and gums. Eat healthily, and practice good eating habits,
- Schedule regular visits with your dentist to have your teeth and gum properly checked. Make an appointment for a dental health check in London today to get your teeth properly cleaned, and clear any gum disease or build up forming on your teeth.
Taking care of your teeth is simple, and pretty straight-forward if you follow the advice of an experienced dentist.
What is a plaque?
A plaque refers to a thin film of bacteria that forms and remains stuck on your tooth, causing decay of that tooth.
How can plaque cause decay?
The bacteria present in a plaque produce acids from sugary and starchy foods, and this acid slowly destroys the tooth enamel. The sticky quality of the plaque allows the acid to stay glued to your teeth, and cause a breakdown in your tooth enamel over time, leaving a hole or cavity in its place.
How can plaque cause gum disease?
If plaque is left in the tooth, it hardens with time and becomes a 'calculus,' or tartar as it is also called. As this calculus forms along the edge of the gum, it allows the plaque to release poisons into the gum, causing irritation and discomforting inflammation in the gum.
The infected gum becomes weak and is caused to pull back from the teeth, leading to the appearance of infected gaps. Early treatment for gum disease will prevent the loss of the bone supporting the teeth, leaving the healthy teeth intact in your jaw. Late treatment might require the replacement of many teeth, as the gum disease grows even more severe and allows your teeth to fall off.
How can you prevent gum disease?
- Protect your gum from becoming infected by cleaning all bits of food and plaque from your teeth with a brush or floss.
- If a plaque is not cleaned in time and allowed to harden into calculus, you will need a dentist to have it removed for you, so ensure you schedule regular dental visits.
You can visit our London dental clinic to make an appointment to have a plaque removed from your teeth today.
How would I know if I have gum disease?
Gum disease is painless in most common cases, so you might have minimal or no symptoms, even while the disease weakens your gum and causes loss of the bone supporting your teeth. But you can suspect the appearance of gum disease if you notice signs such as:
- The appearance of red, swollen gums.
- Gum bleeding when you brush or floss between your teeth.
Don't stop brushing if you notice the bleeding, instead, attack the gum disease by regularly cleaning your teeth. If you notice the bleeding hasn't stopped after a few days, visit our dental clinic in Harley Steet London to have your gums checked out by a dentist.
Which type of toothbrush is recommended for use in cleaning your teeth?
For adults, we advise you make use of a toothbrush with a small or medium-sized head, not too large so that it can easily fit into all edges and parts of your mouth, including between your teeth and the back of your mouth. Also when choosing a brush, ensure the brush head is not too strong, but should be soft to medium, multi-tufted, and have round-ended nylon bristles, also called 'filaments.'
For children, we recommend you choose smaller brushes with lesser brush heads, but still having the multi-tufted and round-ended nylon filaments. Visit your dentist to get a suitable brush recommended, especially if you have any trouble choosing one yourself.
Also, as modern dental technology improves; more custom-made toothbrushes are increasingly available, including softer-bristled brushes for persons with sensitive teeth. If you’ve got crooked and misaligned teeth, there are smaller-headed brush options available to you, and also toothbrushes with much larger handles and heads for persons with a physical disability that makes it hard to hold a smaller toothbrush steady, such as patients of Parkinson's disease.
What is the benefit of brushing?
Regular brushing will ensure any plaque buildup on your teeth is cleared - this way, tooth decay and gum disease are easily prevented.
How do electric or 'power' toothbrushes function?
Electric, or power brushes, come fitted with an oscillating or vibrating brush head. This feature makes it possible to clean a large area of your mouth with only minimal movement on your part. And because these types of brushes can rotate, you can have the brush positioned any way you see fit.
Do electric toothbrushes clean better?
Many studies continue to show and confirm that electric toothbrushes are much more effective at cleaning the teeth and pulling away plaque than more traditional toothbrushes. The oscillating heads allow rotation of the brush heads in two directions and make the cleaning easier and extremely useful.
Can you use an electric toothbrush?
Anyone is capable of using an electric toothbrush. If your arms are a little difficult to move, especially in cases of old and disabled people, then an electric toothbrush is the best recommendation for you, as you might not be able to properly clean your teeth with a more traditional toothbrush.
Some children also are excited by the novelty and vibration of an electric toothbrush, and so getting them one might encourage them to brush more. Get in contact with us today, and a dentist can advise you on all of the benefits of an electric brush, and recommend a suitable brand for you.
How should you brush?
- Ensure the head of your toothbrush is touching your teeth, and the soft bristle tip is bent against your gumline; we recommend a 45-degree angle between the bristles and your gumline.
- Commence brushing by moving your toothbrush in small circular turns. Keep up this movement continuously, and ensure you reach every tooth surface.
- Brush both the upper and lower outer surfaces of each tooth; keep the bristles tilted at 45-degree angle while doing this.
- Brush again as before, with your bristles still angled against your gum line, but this time, ensure you clean both the upper and lower inner surfaces of your teeth.
- Have your toothbrush tilted vertically, and use several small, circular strokes with the front part of the brush to thoroughly clean the inner surfaces of your front teeth.
- Remember also to brush the surfaces of your teeth used for chewing and biting.
- Brush your tongue thoroughly; this will remove bacteria from your mouth and give you a cleaner and fresher breath.
How often should you brush your teeth?
Use fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at night, just before bed. Also, brush at least once at any other convenient time during the day. You should make an appointment to see your dentist at once if you notice bleeding after brushing or any pain or discomfort in your teeth or gum.
How do you know if the plaque has been properly removed from your teeth?
We usually recommend you stain the plaque on your teeth with a special dye. You can do this by painting the dye onto your teeth with a cotton bud, or as an alternative, you can have your dentist prescribe special disclosing tablets for you, or purchase them at a nearby pharmacy.
The stain to your teeth won’t cause you any harm; instead, it is intended to reveal to you those areas of your mouth that require even more efficient brushing to remove all of the stained plaque. While brushing, ensure you pay special attention to the meeting areas between your teeth and gums.
How often is it recommended to change your toothbrush?
Once your toothbrush is old or worn-out, or unable to effectively clean your teeth without causing damage to your gums; have it changed at once. This can be every two to three months, or much sooner if the filaments are worn and tired, or the bristles become splayed.
Should you use fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth?
Yes, you should. Fluoride toothpaste is strongly recommended because it will ensure your teeth are protected and made even stronger, and also will prevent decay in your tooth. Fluoride toothpaste can be used by both adults and children.
How much fluoride toothpaste should you use when brushing?
Do not cover the head of your brush in toothpaste; that will be using too much. For children three years old or younger, have them use only a bit of fluoride toothpaste, but ensure its fluoride level is no lesser than 1000ppm (parts per million). Children above the ages of three can be allowed to use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste containing a fluoride level of 1350ppm to 1500ppm.
Adult toothpaste commonly contains twice as much fluoride as the level in children's toothpaste; thus it gives the adult much more protection than the limited protection offered to children. Ensure you closely supervise any child below 7 when brushing, and encourage them to spit, and not rinse after brushing or swallow the toothpaste.
What types of toothpaste should you use?
Regular family toothpaste will serve you well in cleaning your teeth, but there are certain types of toothpastes available to you. Some of the more custom-made toothpaste are made for persons with a more sensitive tooth, or if you need to manage the buildup of tartar on their teeth.
‘Total care' toothpaste is also another popular option. These toothpastes are so-called because they are produced with essential ingredients that will keep your breath fresh and clean, fight any signs or appearance of gum disease, and hamper the formation of plaque on your teeth.
There are also available ‘Whitening' toothpaste options. These toothpastes are recommended if you need a stain removed from your teeth, or need to restore the natural colour of your teeth from a more unnatural shade.
Preferably, contact a dentist to schedule a dental health check for you, and advice you on what suitable toothpaste options are available to you, and recommend the correct dental-care products to purchase.
Is gum bleeding normal when you clean between your teeth?
It is perfectly normal to have your gums bleed or become sore while you brush and clean in-between your teeth in the first couple of days. But the bleeding should stop once the plaque on your teeth is broken, and the health of your teeth and gum has improved. If the bleeding continues, make an appointment to see your dentist; you might need more professional cleaning of your teeth and gums. You can visit our dental clinic in Harley Street London for excellent teeth cleaning services, or you can learn more about our treatment options on our website.
How should you clean between your teeth?
- An 'interdental' brush or dental floss can help you remove plaque and bits of food stuck between your teeth, and also underneath your gumline. Ensure your cleaning pattern is regular when cleaning your teeth. You can use a mirror to ensure you don’t miss gaps between any teeth.
- Properly clean around the edges and surfaces of any crowns, bridges or implants, and also brush the backs of your last teeth.
- Clean your teeth no less than once a day, and especially at night before bed.
How should you use an interdental?
Interdental brushes come in various brands and types and can be purchased in many different sizes. Our dentists can recommend a brand and size that will be a good fit for cleaning your mouth when you visit for a dental health check. You can follow these guidelines in using an interdental brush:
- Keep the interdental brush firm between your thumb and forefinger.
- While cleaning, place the brush without much force in the gaps between your teeth.
- Ensure you don't force the brush to fit into any gap, instead, get a smaller brush head if you find your current brush is splaying, or too big to fit.
How should you floss?
- Begin by breaking no less than 45 centimetres (18 inches) of floss.
- Wind the broken floss around one finger on each hand.
- Ensure you're holding the floss drawn taut between your thumbs and forefingers, letting allowance for only an inch of floss between the fingers.
- Make sure the floss doesn't slack, and carefully guide it in the gaps between your teeth, using a gentle 'rocking' motion. Keep the drawn floss firm and steady, and ensure you don't jerk the floss, or make the mistake of snapping it into the gums.
- Once you've carefully guided the floss to your gumline, form a C-shape curve by pressing the floss against one tooth, until you feel some pressure or resistance building against the tooth.
- Slowly clean the inside of your tooth by holding the floss against that tooth; make sure you move the floss away from the gum as you do this.
- Clean both sides of the gap, including the sides of the next tooth and the back of your last tooth.
- Ensure you begin from the top when flossing, and clean from left to right. Move the floss to the bottom after this, and clean again, starting from left to right once more.
What are the benefits of oral irrigators?
Oral irrigators remove plaque and bits of food from the spaces between your teeth by washing your teeth with a strong stream or jet of water. If you wear an orthodontic appliance, an example being a brace, or have a bridge fitted to your tooth that makes it difficult to clean that tooth, an oral irrigator can be recommended for you in cleaning your teeth, and washing areas that interdental brushes or floss will not easily clean.
Should you use mouthwash?
A fluoride mouthwash is recommended by most experienced dentists because it hampers the appearance of tooth decay. An antibacterial mouthwash can also be prescribed by your dentist to kill the bacteria in a plaque and prevent gum disease. If you notice that you have a case of bad breath, and continuously make use of a mouthwash to freshen the smell of your mouth, we advise you schedule a visit to your dentist without delay. Bad breaths can usually be a sign that your teeth or gums are unhealthy.
Can your diet help in caring for your teeth?
In cases of sugary diet causing teeth problems, it is not the amount of sugar contained in your diet, but how often that sugar appears in your diet that is the true cause of your dental problem. After ingesting a sugary or starchy food or drink, your mouth requires a minimum of an hour to breakdown and expel the acid caused by the sugar. During this hour, your teeth are continually being attacked by this acid; so it is essential that these attacks to the teeth are limited.
If you must have sugary foods or drinks, ensure it is only at mealtimes, and drink water, or chew sugar-free gum after; this will quicken the expulsion of the acid in your mouth.
Beyond causing tooth decay, sugary drinks and sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, and even wine can result in a case of dental erosion. This is a situation where your tooth is caused to become sensitive because its hard enamel coating has been gradually broken and worn away by the acids present in these drinks.
How should you clean your dentures?
- Do not take your dentures for granted - clean and brush them just as you would care for your natural teeth. Remember that bits of food can be stuck in the edges of dentures and clasps, and will become bad and rotten if not cleaned on time.
- Get a separate toothbrush for brushing and cleaning your dentures.
- When cleaning, brush first, then soak, and brush again after.
- Keep a bowl of water close, and brush your dentures over this, just in case they should mistakenly come loose and fall off.
- Ensure you brush your denture carefully to clean and pull away any bits of food, before soaking your dentures.
- Use a recommended dental cleaner in soaking your dentures, and leave it soaked for only a short time.
- Brush your dentures a second time after soaking.
- Clean all the surfaces when brushing your denture - don't forget the surface that is fitted against your gums.
- Visit your dentist to have dentures properly cleaned if you come to find any stain or scale appearing on your dentures. You can visit our Harley Street dental clinic in London today to have your dentures cleaned.
Do you need to do anything special if you have implants?
After the surgery, have your dentist or oral surgeon advice you on what ways you can adequately care for your new implants. General suggestions include cleaning your implants regularly and brushing every surface to prevent the risk of infections and deceases.
Why should you schedule regular dental check-ups?
Preventing a dental problem is much easier and less expensive than undergoing treatment when the problems appear. A regular visit to your dentist will enable you to discover any dental issues as soon as they appear, and prevent further problems by getting early treatment.
Proper dental hygiene will keep your teeth always clean and healthy, and save you any pain or discomfort. You can practice these easy tips to ensure your teeth and gums are always clean and free from trouble:
- Brush your teeth for no fewer than two minutes; do this last thing before bed and at any other time of the day that is convenient for you.
- Ensure you use a fluoride toothpaste in brushing your teeth.
- Do not rinse after brushing - you can spit the toothpaste out.
- Get a toothbrush with a small-to-medium-sized head, and having soft to medium, multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles.
- You can use an electric toothbrush to clean your teeth and gums even better.
- Practice using small, circular brush movements when cleaning your teeth.
- Your toothbrush should be changed at least every 3 months or sooner if its bristles have become worn-out or splayed.
- Make use of interdental brushes or dental floss to clean the gaps and spaces around your teeth every day.
- Daily intake of drinks and sugary content should be limited.
- Schedule regular dental health checks and care for your teeth based on the recommendation of your dentist.