Keeping our oral hygiene high is something few of us actually manage to achieve on a permanent basis. We are all entitled the occasional lapse in our routines but here are the 7 most common dental pitfalls that you absolutely must try to avoid whenever and however possible.
These 7 tips will help you maintain your oral hygiene:
Whilst the most obvious of our tips this is undoubtedly the most important. Nearly a quarter of adults in the UK don't brush their teeth twice daily. However, regular brushing stops the bacterial build-up of plaque. Studies have shown that even missing one brushing session can start the process of forming cavities. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes to keep your teeth plaque free.
Brushing technique is just as important as brushing. One of the most common mistakes we make is missing areas of the mouth. When brushing you need to ensure that every tooth is cleaned and that we clean the total surface area of the tooth. When you're in a hurry it can be easy to just skim over areas but this often leaves plaque on the teeth and along the gum line - leading to cavities and gingivitis. In addition also be careful not to brush your teeth too hard as you can damage your gums.
You need to make sure you are using the right tools for the job. Toothbrushes come with different thickness and strength bristles. Small headed brushes are widely regarded as the best as they allow you to reach everywhere in your mouth more easily. In terms of bristles softer tend to be better - ideally with rounded heads to prevent aggravation of the gums.
We've all used a toothbrush past its best. Once the bristles start to lose their strength and you have a spread it is already past time to replace your brush. Our best tip is to buy multiple brushes and always have one spare in the bathroom cabinet. Using a brush past its sell by date makes it more likely that you will miss areas of your mouth whilst brushing and that plaque will not be removed efficiently.
No matter how good your brushing is you cannot reach every area between your teeth. Regular flossing helps remove plaque and food that builds up between your teeth. The build-up of plaque along the gum line is one of the leading causes of gum disease. Daily flossing helps remove plaque and prevent gum disease.
Our diets are the leading cause of tooth decay. The big enemy here is fizzy drinks - as many of us now drink these all day. Drink sugary or fizzy drinks irregularly to avoid cavities. Your health and your mouth will thank you.
Even if your oral hygiene is superb you still should visit the dentist twice a year. Visiting the dentist regularly ensures that any problems that do arise can be quickly dealt with. Your dentist can also make sure you are using correct brushing techniques and advise you on the best options for oral care.
Sealants are plastic coatings that protect those difﬁcult to reach pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth from the bacteria that cause tooth decay. A quick and painless procedure done in your dentist’s ofﬁce, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars as soon as possible after they fully erupt in the mouth, usually between the ages of six to eight for ﬁrst molars and 10 to 12 for second molars. While sealants are not necessary for all children, they are particularly beneﬁcial to children who are at higher risk for tooth decay. But, how do you know if your child is at higher risk? Although overall oral health risk is a combination of genetics, personal habits and diet, history of decay is a good predictor for future risk of decay. Your child is considered to be at higher risk if he or she has had a cavity ﬁlled in the past three years. The good news is you may be able to help prevent future cavities by making sure your child receives preventive care, including having sealants applied to ﬁrst and second molars.
Although approximately 60 to 70 percent of cavities can be prevented by placing sealants on children’s teeth, a recent study by Delta Dental shows that 60 percent of children age 6 to 9 who are at higher risk of tooth decay did not receive sealants on their ﬁrst molars, and 80 percent of children age 11 to 15 did not receive sealants on their second molars.
These ﬁgures are particularly striking when you realize that many dental plans cover preventive care, like sealants, at as much at 100 percent of the cost. As a parent, you want your child to be as healthy as possible, and that includes protecting their teeth. Delta Dental is here to help. Our myDentalScore risk assessment tool helps you better assess your child’s risk for oral disease by providing an easy to understand oral health scores report that you can use to consult with your dentist to determine the best treatment patterns for your child’s oral health needs. We also encourage you to take a look at your dental plan and make sure you are using preventive treatments to their full advantage – most are simple, painless and inexpensive. They can save your child from future pain and discomfort that often accompany cavities, and save you from paying for expensive ﬁllings, crowns, or root canals.