Oral hygiene is one of the most important ingredients for healthy teeth and gums. Dental visits and professional cleans are crucial, but it’s equally important to develop an at-home routine that you can incorporate into your daily life.
On this page
- Brushing your pearly whites
- Keeping an eye on your diet
- Regular dentist visits
Brushing your pearly whites
It’s best to brush at least twice a day, but how you brush your teeth is important, too. After breakfast and before bed are usually good starting points! Just be sure to avoid brushing for about 30 minutes after you eat, since acidic foods or drinks can weaken your enamel and make it easier to damage while brushing.
Brushing your teeth should take around two minutes, one for the top row and another for the bottom. Brush along the gum line, but don’t scrub back and forth roughly - this can damage your gums. Instead, brush gently in a circular motion.
It’s typically best to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps to strengthen your tooth enamel. For kids under six, you should choose a low-fluoride version.
Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months, or when you see that the bristles are becoming rough and worn.
Removing plaque between your teeth requires regular flossing at least once a day after brushing.
Use dental floss to clean the spaces between your teeth, using a sawing motion. Try to gently pull the floss along the sides of your tooth instead of roughly jamming the floss up into your gum tissue (ouch!).
Your dentist or hygienist can give you advice and tips on your flossing technique.
Keeping an eye on your diet
Your diet is an important factor in your oral health. When sugar mixes with the bacteria in your mouth, an acid forms. This acid can erode the enamel on your teeth and can cause tooth decay. Adults' teeth are a little hardier than children's in this regard, but it still pays to be careful and limit acidic or sugary foods and beverages whenever possible. If you do have treats that are high in acid or sugar, be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterward.
On the other hand, there are foods that can play a positive role in the health of your teeth and gums. Getting lots of calcium can help with the bone density in your jaw, while cheese can promote saliva production and neutralise the acids that encourage decay.
Smoking can cause a range of oral health issues, so you should quit this habit or not start smoking.
Regular dentist visits
A good diet and hygiene routine at home are a big help for your oral health, but you should still try to make time for dental visits.
Your dentist is able to look after your oral health much more comprehensively, using professional experience and training as well as modern technology to spot any issues. Problems like gum disease may not have any symptoms, or the symptoms could be difficult to spot yourself, so professional check-ups help make sure that you’re addressing issues early on.
Along with regular check-ups, a professional clean can help prevent problems. Hygienists remove plaque from your teeth, apply protective materials such as fluorides, teach you about ways to improve your oral hygiene at home and will screen for oral cancers to catch any problems before they occur.
To schedule a check-up or hygiene appointment, just contact your nearest Bupa-owned dental clinic.