How do I keep my mouth healthy?
"A sensational smile is a valuable asset, especially for those of us who meet new people every day. It is a lot more than just having straight white teeth - your gums and the smell of your mouth are important too. A healthy smile is a beautiful smile and that fills everyone you smile at with confidence."
What makes a healthy smile?
A healthy smile is one where there is no tooth decay, no bleeding from the gums and minimal unpleasant odour. Often when a dentist looks in your mouth, they are looking for bleeding - an early sign of stagnant bacteria in the mouth which is not being regularly cleaned. Unlike the rest of your body, when your gums bleed, that is an indication of poor hygiene and that you need to give the bleeding areas extra attention instead of leaving it alone. Gums are really tenacious - you can bash them and prod them and if they are healthy, they will not bleed easily.
What do healthy gums look like?
Healthy gums don't bleed, they are pink and firm. When gums bleed that is an early sign of gum disease (to find out more about that click here). In order to have healthy gums, it is important to clean the spaces between your teeth as well as brushing your teeth. You should do this once a day, ideally at night. Have a look at the videos below which demonstrate how to floss and use TePe brushes. Floss should be used once and then thrown away. You can use each TePe brush for a few days and then throw it away when it starts to look horrible or loses its shape.
When & how should I brush my teeth?
You should brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day and clean between your teeth every night with either TePe's or floss. You should spend about 2 minutes brushing your teeth each time. It can be easy to miss out bits of your mouth when you brush. You might find it easier to split your mouth up into 4 (top right, top left, bottom left and bottom right) and spend 30 seconds concentrating on each of those 4 areas. Always remember to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing and when you brush, don't rinse you mouth out with water or mouthwash afterwards as this stops the toothpaste from working. You only need to use a pea sized amount of toothpaste to brush.
Have a look at this video for some great tips about brushing your teeth with a manual or electric toothbrush.
How do I pick the right toothbrush?
Trying to pick a toothbrush can be really hard - the supermarkets are full of all kinds of things to catch your attention. Picking a brush doesn't have to be complicated though.
If you are going for a manual brush, pick one with a small head and soft bristles that are packed closely together. One of my favourites is the Cupraprox 5460 (click here to have a look). I love the super soft bristles and the brightly coloured handles. In all honesty though, any manual brush will do (even supermarket's own brands are perfectly good to use).
Lots of people ask whether electric brushes are better. Electric brushes are not necessarily better. You can brush well with a manual brush if you know how to use it. However, for some people an electric brush will mean they are more likely to brush. If that's you, go for it! I would recommend the Oral-B Genius (click here to have a look). There are lots of other power brushes on the market and if you choose another brand, check that is has an 'Oscillating and/or Rotating' action like these - they are the gold standard type of brush.
Whichever brush you choose, make sure you change it or your brush head every 3 months (or whenever the seasons change).
Which toothpaste should I use?
Toothpaste is a brilliant invention! Not only does it help give you fresh breath and sometimes that dentist clean feel, it also helps protect you teeth and gums. The important thing to be aware of in whichever toothpaste you choose is making sure you pick one which has fluoride. Fluoride helps protect teeth by making the surface stronger and preventing the bacteria in you mouth from working as effectively as they usually do. A good toothpaste will have a MINIMUM of 1,450ppm (parts per million) of fluoride in it. For under 3's use a toothpaste with up to ,000ppm fluoride and then a small pea sized amount of adult toothpaste thereafter.
Again, it doesn't particularly matter which toothpaste you use. My personal favourite is the Oral-B Pro Expert (click here to see this). I love the electric blue colour and the gritty feel which leaves me teeth feeling super clean. For kids I also really like the new Colgate Total Proof (click here to see this) which changes for white to blue over a two minutes. This is great for encouraging kids to brush their teeth for longer.
I find it really hard to remember to brush my teeth. Is there anything to help?
It can be hard to remember to brush twice a day when you're not in the habit. To help you do this, there are two great apps that I can recommend. Brush DJ is great if you have a manual brush and the Oral B app is fantastic if you have an Oral B power brush. Have a look at the videos below for a brief demonstration of these.
I tend to brush my teeth in the add breaks when I'm watching TV at night. So long as it is at least 30 minutes after your dinner and you don't plan to eat o drink anything else, it is ok to brush.