Now that we have more time at home, it is the ideal opportunity to cultivate new positive daily habits towards our health. Many people automatically think of diets, exercise meditation etc. but we should also be leaning towards new daily habits for our dental and oral hygiene. Read on for expert advice on looking after your teeth and gums during lockdown…
1. Learn the correct techniques
Now is the perfect time to perfect the ideal brushing technique. Consultant hygienist for Swiss-leading oral and dental care brands CURAPROX UK, Theodora Little says,
“I would advise educating and motivating yourself by watching some tutorial videos on the correct technique on how to brush effectively. Also, many people are not aware that there are different techniques to be utilised depending on if you are using a manual, electric or sonic toothbrush.
2. Brush your teeth for longer
Many of us also do not brush for long enough. Little explains: ‘The general guidelines are brushing for 2 minutes twice a day, however for many people this is not long enough and 3-4 minutes is optimal. So, practice your new daily routine by using a timer daily set to 2 minutes and split your mouth into 4 sections in which you spend 30 seconds on each section.
After completing, run your tongue around your teeth and if you still feel a slight ‘roughness’ or ‘furriness’ then it may mean you need to adapt your technique or brush for another minute or so.’
3. Incorporate interdental cleaning
Many people often skip interdental cleaning due to a lack of time. However, Little explains, ‘Taking the time even once a day to install this habit can improve your oral health in a huge way. Interdental brushes are nowadays usually recommended as they can be more effective, easier and quicker, however it is important that the right size is used. Some people may only be able to use floss, and again this habit can be implemented with the time we now have.
As a dental professional, I would also recommend a dental professional demonstrating and educating particular techniques to patients, however during this time you could make a start, re-motivate or freshen up what you already know by watching a helpful tutorial video here.‘
Megan Fairhall, Dental hygienist and dental therapist at Harley Street Dental Clinic, adds: ‘Flossing is an essential part of your oral hygiene regime, as each time you brush it doesn’t always reach right in-between the teeth, often leaving up to 40% of food debris or plaque behind. So, using floss or interdental brushes at least once a day is a must!’
4. Don’t forget your tongue
Daily tongue cleaning is a vital part of your everyday routine. As the gum specialist and oral health expert, Dr R Wadia explains: ‘The tongue is made up of lots of crypts, cracks and irregular surfaces so is an ideal site for the growth of bugs/bacteria. These bacteria can produce things which taste and smell foul.’
While the tongue can be cleaned using a regular toothbrush, research has shown that tongue scraping may be a more thorough and effective method. Dr R Wadia explains: ‘The Ayurvedic ritual of tongue scraping is one of the most powerful tools you can add to your daily wellness routine. One of the most common reasons for bad breath is a buildup of excess debris, which can cause your tongue to take on a white, coated appearance. Daily scraping can help remove this coating and prevent it from returning. Research also suggests that using a tongue scraper twice daily can improve your sense of taste.’
5. Avoid certain foods
According to Hello Dental, the most common dental emergency they see is due to people breaking teeth on hard foods such as chocolate from the fridge, crackling, granary seeds in bread and olive stones frequently break teeth. Therefore to avoid tooth breakages, consider avoiding these foods.
They also advise people to avoid chewy sticky foods that can easily dislodge a filling or crown.
6. Don’t wait until after breakfast to brush
Megan Fairhall, Dental hygienist and dental therapist at Harley Street Dental Clinic, says: ‘Whatever time you may be waking up in the morning, make sure the first thing you do is head to the bathroom for your toothbrushing to start your day! You should be brushing your teeth twice per day for two minutes each time, once in the morning before breakfast and once in the evening just before bed.’
REMEMBER, the best way to minimise the risk of getting pain from sore swollen gums is to follow the individual advice you will have been given by the hygienist.
Hello Dental has confirmed that dentists across the UK have been given the following advice on which dental problems are regarded as urgent during this pandemic period:
- Bleeding following an extraction
- Swelling around a tooth or face
- Teeth knocked out by trauma
- Severe pain
The following problems have been described as non-urgent. They will generally NOT be treated at this current high-risk time, until appropriate protective equipment has become available:
- Loose or lost crowns, bridges or veneers
- Fractured or lost fillings
- Fractured or loose dentures
- Chipped teeth
- Loose wires on braces
- Bleeding gums