Health / 23.05.2016

7 ways to keep your teeth filling-free

By Cheryl Freedman
You only get one set of teeth – so keep them in tip-top shape for life

 

Close-up of a Smiling Young Woman Squeezing Toothpatse onto a Toothbrush

Let’s face it, fillings and receding gums aren’t a good look for anyone. And absolutely no-one loves a 2am run to the emergency dentist with piercing toothache. So, this National Smile Month, make keeping your pearly whites in a pristine state your number-one priority. We’ve rounded up these top tips to keep your teeth minty fresh and sparkling.

1 Two is the magic number

Thirty seconds brushing just doesn’t cut it – and you’re only cheating yourself. Dr Harold Katz, US dentist and founder of The Breath Company, says: ‘Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and brush for at least two minutes at a time. Too many people rush this process, through boredom and routine, and end up missing whole teeth, or surfaces such as the back of the teeth.’ Try using an egg timer so you don’t slack (this is also great for kids), or putting on a favourite two-minute tune and dancing around.

2 Don’t rinse

Put down the tooth mug. Swilling every last molecule of toothpaste from your mouth is not a great idea. Dr Tony Kilcoyne, of SmileSpecialist Centre, Howarth, Yorkshire, explains: ‘You shouldn’t rinse out your toothpaste as leaving it on the teeth is more protective.’

3 Brush your gums

Make sure your brushing doesn’t just focus on the enamel. ‘As well as cleaning your teeth thoroughly to help prevent cavities, make sure you clean above the gum line (where your teeth meet your gums) to help prevent gum disease,’ sayd Dr Katz.

READ MORE: Your 5-step plan for pearly white teeth

4 Say cheese

‘If you, or your kids, eat a piece of cheese before sugary snacks, it gives your teeth a level of protection against the damage that occurs for about an hour,’ adds Dr Kilcoyne. Why not keep a stack of mini-cubes in the fridge for those pre-lollipop and birthday cake moments?

5 Get a great brush

‘Brush with a decent toothbrush, and consider investing in an electric toothbrush as these can help to reduce the build-up of plaque better than a manual toothbrush. Plus, many have timers so you’ll know how long you should be brushing for,’ says Dr Katz.

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush (or head) every three to four months, or when the bristles start to fray. ‘This helps to keep things clean and reduces the chances of harmful bacteria developing on the brush,’ says Dr Katz.

6 Hone your technique

We all fall into bad habits, whether it’s slouching or swearing, and brushing our teeth can be no different. Time to go back to basics: ‘Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle and gently brush with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue as this can help keep the breath fresh,’ says Dr Katz.

7 Floss, floss, floss

Too many of us have good intentions – then the floss stays in the packet. ‘Flossing is one of the most important parts of oral health care as it gets right in between the teeth to clean those hard to reach areas,’ says Dr Katz. ‘Neglecting to clean teeth interdentally can leave as much as 40 percent of the tooth surface untouched and exposed to bacteria.’ Also ask your dentist to recommend interdental brushes that get into those hard to reach nooks and crannies.

Do you forget to brush or are you a rigorous flosser? Tweet @healthymag and let us know how you keep your smile in tip-top shape – we love hearing from you!

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