Dental Care/Update

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    A balanced diet, with plenty of calcium and vitamin D to increase calcium absorption, should provide all the nutrients necessary to build strong teeth and keep gums and mouth tissues healthy. Young people can get adequate calcium from 3 or 4 daily servings of dairy foods, as well as from many other sources (eg, calcium-processed tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, green vegetables such as broccoli).

    It is important to brush first thing in the morning to remove plaque and bacteria that have accumulated over night and to brush last thing at night because saliva (which helps to keep the cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up as we sleep. Toothbrushes should come with a small head and soft bristles. Set a timer for 2 minutes, hold the brush at a 45 degree angle. Start at the same place every time begin by working your way around each tooth in turn. Ensure you clean all faces of the teeth to avoid missing any areas and don't forget your gums.

    Use dental floss to clean in-between the teeth where plaque collects. Floss before you brush to remove any plaque from these areas. Roughly 90% of problems arise from areas between the teeth so it is important to floss effectively. Hold floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers and guide it between your teeth using a gentle sliding action. When the floss reaches where the tooth meets the gum, curve it into a V shape against the tooth and gently slide it up and down between the gum and the tooth. Repeat for the other side and every tooth. For larger gaps you can us an interdental brush.

    A major cause of bad breath can actually come from bacteria building up on your tongue with a high percentage of it accumulating at the back, making it hard to reach. Use a proper tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. A daily tongue scraping will help banish harmful bacteria and remember, using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush.

    Fluorides are one of the most important factors in strengthening the structure of the teeth, as they harden the enamel and tooth parts by reacting with them and forming compounds that are stable and harder. These are one of the reasons why enamel is considered the hardest part in the body. The fluorides are generally available in the toothpaste, but due to improper brushing technique, the fluorides are not well spread on the teeth surfaces. So there are fluoride rinses available, which equally spread the fluorides. The effects of these is two-fold, one is the prevention of tooth decay by making the surface harder, and second by reducing the tooth-sensitivity dentinal hypersensitivity.

    If you are looking for a good mouthwash then make sure it is alcohol-free, as alcohol is an irritant and can dry out the mouth. This will have the effect of reducing the amount of saliva present, and make your teeth more susceptible to bacteria. The benefits of a mouthwash are that they can reach areas not touched by brushing alone. Rinse twice a day once in the morning and last thing at night and always after brushing.

    Did you know you should change your toothbrush every two to three months for good dental hygiene? If you do not then bacteria will collect on the bristles and you will transfer them back into your mouth. Moreover, the bristles will become soft and ineffective. For electric toothbrushes the same rule applies. If your toothbrushes are wearing out before two months then you are probably brushing too harshly. Ask your dentist to show you the correct way of brushing. Always chose a toothbrush with soft not hard bristles as hard bristles can cause damage to the soft tissue in your mouth, including your gums.