World Oral Health Day: How to choose a toothbrush, other tips to keep teeth happy

Want to keep your teeth pearly white? Doctors say how you brush your teeth is more important than what you use to brush it. Fancy and expensive toothpastes do not guarantee better oral hygiene and dentists don’t really recommend one over the other.

Fluoride in toothpastes sticks to the teeth enamel and prevents cavities, triclosan has antimicrobial function and prevents plaque and zinc can remove tartar.

The right way to brush your teeth

Place the toothbrush at a 45 degrees angle against your teeth and move it in small circular motion to clean each tooth. To remove plaque, gently flick the toothbrush from the gums to the biting edge of the teeth. Also brush the inside surfaces of the teeth. Firmly and gently brush your tongue too to remove bacteria.

Here are some tips to keep your teeth healthy

Brush twice daily: Brush your teeth for two minutes every morning and night. You only need a pea-sized drop of toothpaste.

Floss before going to bed: Floss your teeth regularly to clean food particles and plaque from between the teeth.

“Regular flossing is an important part of oral hygiene and is particularly necessary for adults with gaps between teeth. However, over flossing can damage the gums,” said Dr OP Kharbanda, chief of dental centre at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Clean your tongue regularly and drink lots of water to deal with bad breath. (Shutterstock)

Clean the tongue: Not just the teeth, it is important to clean the tongue to maintain good oral hygiene.

“Cleaning the tongue will get rid of the bacteria that is responsible for bad breath, one of the most common problems that people come to the clinic with. Also, drinking loads of water will help,” said Dr Gagan Sabharwal, consultant of dental sciences and maxillofacial surgeries at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.

Regular dental checkups are necessary: Get a dental check up at least once every year to maintain a healthy set of teeth.

“Toothache prompts people to visit the dentist, but by then their cavity has already eaten into the enamel and has reached the nerves. Regular dental checkup can help in detecting such problems,” said Dr Sabharwal.

Eat food that is less cariogenic: Eating right not only keeps your body but also your teeth healthy. Doctors advise you to stay away from foods high in sugar content and low in fibre content.

“Consuming fibres is a good way to keep teeth healthy. People must try to eat foods that are low in sugar and are closest to nature. For example, if I have to choose between a fruit and a fruit juice, I would choose the fruit,” said Dr Kharbanda.

Stay away from coffee and tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco increases the risk of cavities and gum recession, which can make teeth sensitive. Tobacco and coffee can also stain your teeth.

Useful facts to remember:

1. Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles, and fits in your hand and can reach all areas comfortably.

2. Replace your toothbrush regularly; preferably every three months or when bristles go out of shape.

3. Fluoride-based toothpaste is good enough, you don’t need other additives.

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