One of the things I get asked about the most as a dentist is for tips on how to maintain healthy teeth on a day-to-day basis.
So here you go guys – these are my eight pointers to keep your mouth happy and healthy:
1. Always clean before bed
This seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people only brush once a day, or even not at all! If you go to sleep without brushing, plaque will remain on your teeth and make you more vulnerable to decay. Research shows that if you remove plaque and the bacteria it harbours within 24 hours, it doesn’t have time to produce enough acid to damage your teeth.
A toothbrush can’t reach all of those little nooks and crannies, so leave the rest of the work to your dental floss. If you don’t, plaque can settle and rot away your teeth and damage your gums even if you brush twice a day like a champ.
3. Avoid DIY tooth-whitening products
These tooth-whitening products are not regulated because they’re considered cosmetic, so there’s no guarantee if they are effective, or even safe for that matter. Your dentist can tell you if you’re a suitable candidate for whitening in the first place, and talk you through what your options are.
4. Don’t share toothbrushes
Quite simply, other people’s toothbrushes can harbour foreign bacteria that can be harmful to your teeth. Make sure you stick to your own!
5. Don’t chew your nails
We dentists can tell who is a nail biter! Chewing your nails can result in worn down, or even chipped teeth – so don’t do it.
6. Avoid smoking
Another obvious one. Smoking does not only severely discolour and weaken your teeth, but it can lead to gum disease and oral cancer. Not to mention the other adverse effects it has on your health.
7. Don’t open things with your teeth
Especially things like bottles and wrappers. Using your teeth as a tool for opening stubborn containers can dull, and even crack your teeth.
8. Avoid tongue piercings
A lot of people don’t realise it, but tongue piercings can cause infection, pain, and swelling; chipped teeth; and nerve damage. In many cases, the trauma of the piercing gently but repeatedly knocking against the lower front teeth can cause them teeth to eventually fall out.
Some of these are a little more obvious than others, but try and follow them and you’ll only be doing your teeth some good!