Friday, December 18, 2009
HOW TO … BRUSH YOUR TEETH PROPERLY
"I am as old as my Eyes and Nose & a little older than my Teeth."
Most of us think we do a good job cleaning our teeth. But dentist Dr Phil Stemmer says many people don't, with 'potentially fatal consequences'.
'The state of our teeth affects the rest of the body, as bacteria there can get into the blood stream,' he says.
Bad oral hygiene has been linked to a range of serious health problems including heart disease and stroke.
Here, Dr Stemmer explains the proper way to clean your teeth:
* Choose a toothbrush with a small rounded head to get into all corners of the mouth without bashing your gums (which can trigger an ulcer). Make sure it's a medium bristle variety - any harder runs the risk of damaging the enamel.
* Don't brush your teeth straight after eating, especially after acidic foods such as citrus fruits, as the tooth enamel will have been weakened by the acid and you'll just brush it away. Either brush before breakfast - this helps to prevent dental erosion by coating the teeth with fluoride - or clean at least an hour after eating so that enamel will have hardened.
* Brush in short round movements moving across the teeth. Don't saw - running the brush backwards and forwards across the teeth - as this can wear away the gum. Make sure you include the margin between the teeth and the gums.
* Take two minutes to brush teeth to guarantee removing the plaque.
* Choose a toothpaste with fluoride, as this protects teeth against decay. However this doesn't mean fluoride-free varieties are ineffective. 'Efficient brushing, regardless of the toothpaste type, is vital to protect against gum disease. You can keep the gums healthy, even if your toothpaste doesn't contain fluoride.'
* Whitening toothpastes cannot lighten the teeth, they can only remove existing stains.