According to the Oral Health Foundation, at least one in three adults in the UK have some form of tooth decay, while one in four do not brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Although regular dental check-ups are also key, looking after our teeth starts at home. Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, Bupa Dental Care dentist – Silviu Cartas – shared some of his top tips for maintaining strong and healthy teeth – including things to avoid.
He specifically advised against rinsing out the mouth after brushing with both water and mouthwash.
Mr Cartas said: “People tend to rinse their mouths after brushing.
“However, this causes the removal of fluoride from the teeth, which means it can’t benefit the teeth by strengthening the minerals in the enamel.
“Therefore, you should spit, not rinse, and avoid using mouthwash after brushing, as there is less fluoride in mouthwash than toothpaste.
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“A more helpful habit is to use these fluoride rinses another time during the day or to follow the guidance given by your dentist or hygienist.”
He explained further: “Toothpaste has active ingredients that need time to release/attach to the teeth.
“Rinsing after brushing removes these ingredients and their benefits.
“Antibacterial/anticavity toothpaste deposits an adhesive polymer on the tooth (a protective shield); rinsing immediately after brushing dilutes it and eventually removes it.
You may have heard your dentist say, ‘You should only floss between the teeth you are planning to keep,’ to remind you how important flossing is. Interdental cleaning, as it’s also known, and normal brushing should always complement each other, although most patients focus on brushing only.
Using these techniques together makes sure you cover more of the surface of your teeth, reducing the long-lasting action of the acids on hidden surfaces.
Storing the toothbrush
Keep your toothbrush holder away from the toilet and sink. Did you know that flushing the toilet can create an aerosol effect, spraying germs through the air?
Shutting the toilet lid can help but keeping toothbrushes as far away from the toilet as possible can reduce the number of bacteria that may land on them.
In addition, studies have shown that toothbrushes kept in the bathroom have traces of faeces on them.
A healthy, well-balanced diet can help reduce the damaging effects of the acids that come in contact with your teeth – most people are unaware of how certain foods can neutralise the acids in your mouth.
Changing your toothbrush
Not regularly changing your toothbrush means that cleaning your teeth will not be as efficient and, again, harmful bacteria will develop on it.
Not everybody knows how often to change their toothbrush and isn’t sure how to tell when their toothbrush needs changing.
Monitor the wear of your bristles and change them regularly, the advice being every three to four months for electric toothbrushes, however, it can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
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