Practising good dental health care can feel like pulling teeth. But is this because it’s a pain in the incisors, or a sign of our nation’s oral apathy?
1) Brush up your technique
Don’t let this make you bristle, but you might be brushing your teeth all wrong. “It almost seems too simple, but people aren’t taught from a young age the proper technique for brushing,” says Dr Pandya. And there is a proper method.
According to a study in the British Dental Journal, the Modified Bass Technique is favoured by professional dentists1. This involves twisting the brush with the bristles angled slightly upward, rather than flat against your teeth, then brushing in small, circular motions at the gum before sweeping down each tooth of the top row. Reverse this for the bottom row.
Give it a go tomorrow morning, then finish by using a mouthwash such as Corsodyl, which is proven to protect healthy gums.
2) Chew the right foods
So blatant is the connection between a good diet and oral health that it barely seems mentioning. But there are some simple changes you can carry out to make your mouth a better environment for everything bar bad bacteria.
Sugary food is the obvious grub non grata. But it’s not a simple thing to swerve. “The frequency of sugar consumption appears to be much more of an issue than the actual total amount,” says nutrition adviser and tutor Drew Price. So sweet treats aren’t necessarily off the menu, as long as the frequency you have them is under control. Be sure to brush before and consider swilling afterwards with a mouthwash.
3) Wash it all down
As natural as the development of wrinkles in the skin, teeth tend to yellow and darken with age. This is doubly true if you’ve a penchant for red wine and can’t shake your daily Americano habit. And it’s worse still if you’re a smoker.
Reduce these things if you can. But good wine and strong coffee are among life’s greatest pleasures. So instead you could try this simple countermeasure: “A glass of water taken immediately after something such as your morning coffee can help clear the mouth and reduce staining,” says Dr Pandya.
“Swill it around your mouth straight away.” It’s a simple way to defend against your liquid downtime. No matter your poison.
4) Counter the chemicals
You don’t need us to tell you that sugary soft drinks are to your teeth what the ocean is to the white cliffs of Dover. But this erosion in your mouth can happen much more quickly. And once your enamel is on its way out, it’s very hard to hold back the tide.
But don’t be fooled by low-sugar alternatives. “Avoid drinks containing phosphoric acid, even the sugar-free ones,” says Price. “It’s a strong acid that can chemically chip away at tooth enamel.” And another juicy nutrition headline: “Citrus-based juices can be harmful too, because the naturally occurring acids can lead to a loss of minerals from the teeth. Water them down.”
5) Go green in the morning
As if you needed another reason to rethink your coffee habit, it turns out drinking green tea actually promotes tooth and gum health2.
“This is via a number of mechanisms, including altering pH and the effect on the function of bacteria in your mouth,” says Price. “It even improves your breath.”
Seeing as we’re delving so deeply into your morning routine, let’s upgrade the day’s snacks you pack for yourself and the kids, too. Nuts contain minerals important to the health of your teeth. “Chewing them actually produces saliva, which helps control the chemistry in the mouth, protecting teeth and gums,” says Price. You might say this is a strange snack for breakfast. We say go nuts.
Little mouth guards like these tips are all well and good, but it’s the fundamental routines that make or break your teeth. “First, just make sure you’re brushing properly,” stresses Dr Pandya. Remember to clean your mouth with mouthwash in the morning, particularly after a night of sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods or alcohol.
It’s when you first wake up that your mouth tells you the most. So listen to your body. And make oral healthcare part of your morning routine. You might not notice a change right now. But in time you’ll be smiling about the little changes you made today.
Have a good morning
We all have our morning routines to get us ready for the day. Whether you’ve streamlined styling your hair or brought your beauty ritual up to speed, we all know what will get us out the door on time looking our best. Bleeding gums aren’t routine. If you spit blood after brushing your teeth, don’t ignore it. Use Corsodyl toothpaste everyday, clinically proven to treat bleeding gums, and Corsodyl Daily Mouthwash to protect healthy gums. Because nothing should stop you starting your day with a smile.