As dentists, we share our tips for a healthy mouth with every patient who visits us at Define Dental.
Particularly when it comes to regular hygiene cleans, we take the time to educate and raise awareness with patients by sharing tips for a healthy mouth that are specific to them.
Like many things in the world of dental health, they are deceptively simple. They’re even easy to implement. Through our blogs, we’ve written about these things many times.
And we’re not the only ones. Apart from truly caring about the wellbeing of our patients, here are some concerning statistics for oral health in Australia. Take a look at these not-so-fun oral health facts:
- 65% of Australians haven’t seen a dentist in the last two years
- 50% of Australians brush their teeth only once-a-day
- Nearly 40% never floss or clean between their teeth
- 73% of young people (14-18 years) are consuming too much sugar.
Even if you’re not a dentist, these numbers are a worry.
It’s the very reason, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is running its annual Dental Health Week. This year it takes place in the first full week of August. As part of a major oral health promotion campaign, the focus this year is on the benefits of a healthy mouth and maintaining good oral hygiene for life. With all of our dentists registered as members of the ADA, we’re right behind this important initiative.
I mentioned earlier that good oral hygiene isn’t complicated. Actually, it’s as simple as following these golden tips.
- Brushing twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Cleaning in-between teeth at least once a day with floss or an interdental brush
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet and limiting sugar intake
- Regularly visiting the dentist for check-ups and preventive treatment.
Wondering what tips you can take onboard for a healthy mouth? Check out what’s in the detail below. And if you’re not up for reading, watch this quick video about oral health from the ADA.
Tip #1 – Brush regularly for a healthy mouth
Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste helps remove food debris and dental plaque which can damage teeth and gums over time.
You literally only need to take two to three minutes with each brush. That’s just four to six minutes a day!
And if that’s a challenge, try using a timer to get a feel for the time involved. You could even try dancing to your favourite song and make brushing fun.
For the best brushing technique, use a brush with small, soft bristles or an electric toothbrush in circular motions. Pay extra care and attention to the gum line, tongue and hard to reach areas on the back teeth, carefully brushing along the inner, outer and chewing surfaces.
While it’s tempting to think pressing harder on your teeth equals a better clean, in fact, too much pressure can damage your gums and tooth enamel. As a sign, if your toothbrush bristles are wearing out before the three-month mark, you have exerted too much pressure while brushing.
And a final reminder: For the best results, replace your toothbrush every three months or after you’ve been sick. And if you’re a visual person, why not watch this handy little video from the ADA, providing all the tips you need on how to brush teeth properly.
Tip #2 – Floss regularly for a healthy mouth
Unfortunately, flossing seems to be one of those things that falls into the too hard basket all too easily so let’s look at the reasons flossing is great.
First, it removes food debris and dental plaque in places where a toothbrush cannot reach easily.
The downside of missing those in-between places? Not flossing eventually leads to cavities between the teeth and gum disease. Long term, this can result in permanent and irreversible damage.
For the best flossing technique, follow these guidelines.
- Wrap 30 to 40 centimetres of regular floss around your fingers.
- Slowly and gently saw the floss towards your gums gently following the contours of gum triangles. (Yes, it really is that easy)
Don’t worry if your gums bleed initially. Keep flossing and you’ll not only see the benefits, you’ll feel them too. As brushing only cleans 60 percent of a tooth surface, flossing is needed to complete the other 40 percent.
Remember, kids need to learn good oral health early. We recommend children visit a dentist for the first time when their first teeth appear and when you feel their emotionally ready.
Healthy teeth for life means starting early. They must learn to brush and floss too and to get going, they’ll need your help and good role modeling.
The wrap up? Brush twice everyday and floss at least once for a healthier smile! For pro tips on how to floss, watch this short video and you’ll be a pro in no time.
A healthy mouth = a healthy body
What many people don’t realise is dental and general health are closely related.
In practical terms, this means a healthy lifestyle is vital for healthy teeth. Conversely, people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart problems, cancer and osteoporosis may be more likely to have problems with their teeth and gums.
Apart from good overall health, there are other intangible (but very real benefits) too. A healthy mouth means you can eat, speak and smile without pain or embarrassment.
The key though is prevention because tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancers may not cause pain until they are well advanced. It’s just another good reason for seeing your dentist regularly to detect and prevent oral health issues becoming more significant – and costly – problems.
The Define Dental team believes good oral health should be accessible for all. We engage our patients through a unique approach to oral health, with the first step identifying where they are right now. Using this model, we’ve defined the oral health needs of thousands of patients, and we can help you too.
And if you’re not local to the Gold Coast or Benowa, no problem. Your dentist will create an individual treatment plan and advise how to reach your oral health goals. You only need to ask them!
Define Dental is a well established dental practice located in Benowa on the Gold Coast. Together with his team including Dr May Chan who helped prepare this blog, Dr Les Jabbour is making a difference in the lives of Define Dental’s patients through education and raising awareness with tips for a healthy mouth. If you’re ready to start defining your dental health, book an appointment today on 5597 2100.