Don’t Take Your Teeth For Granted!
Teeth are living things and need regular care to minimise damage, or worse, complete loss
If we look at our teeth in the mirror, they look like solid inanimate objects. Unlike our eyes, mouths etc, they don’t move (or shouldn’t anyway!) and may be seen as a ‘dead material’, something similar to, say, our fingernails.
Whilst we don’t expect our Ipswich patients to understand the components of a tooth in great detail, it is important to recognise that teeth are actually quite complex and therefore need to be taken care of on a regular basis.
Although some dental problems can happen quite suddenly, such as when a tooth breaks after a fall or similar, most occur slowly and over a period of time. By the time we start to notice the problem, it is already there and will need treating as soon as possible.
The best thing to do, of course, is to do what we can to avoid these issues from arising in the first place. This is best achieved through regular daily care, combined with twice yearly check ups at the Foxhall Dental Practice.
Keeping teeth clean
One of the most obvious things that we can do to keep our teeth healthy is to clean them regularly. Even if we consider that we already do this, there are still often ways that we can improve on it. We can start by asking ourselves the following questions:
- How old is the toothbrush you are using?
- Do you clean all of the tooth and surrounds, or just the flat surface?
- How long do you brush for?
- Do you rinse your mouth after brushing?
- Do you use dental floss?
If the answer to question 1 is more than 3 months, you need to change it. Worn bristles are less effective at removing food and bacteria. For question 2, you should clean all parts of the tooth, including around the gum line, an area often neglected. For answer 3, you should be brushing for at least 2 minutes each time. For 4, if you have been taught that way, it is time to change. You should spit but allow the toothpaste to remain in the mouth. This allows the fluoride more time to help strengthen your teeth. Finally, for question 5, if you don’t use floss, you really should. It is a great way of keeping the spaces between your teeth, where food can get trapped, clean.
The above might seem like small changes or additions to your daily cleaning regime, but they are important ones that can make a significant difference and will help to keep both your teeth, and your gums healthy.
Dental hygienist appointments
Another addition to your tooth care routine that we highly recommend is that you see your Ipswich hygienist at least every six months. Not only will they provide you with a ‘scale and polish’ treatment which removes hardened minerals and bacteria from the teeth and gum lines, but will also provide an opportunity for you to discuss with them, ways that you can take better care of your teeth, and your oral health in general. Some areas that might be looked at include:
Diet – Many of us eat a diet that is much too high in sugar. This is well known to be a problem for tooth decay and the hygienist may be able to make suggestions for adjustments that you can make to improve this. The same applies to highly acidic foods and drinks which can erode the enamel of your teeth.
Lifestyle – Whilst diet could be included in this, the hygienist will also discuss habits that some of us have such as smoking or drinking alcohol. Smoking is extremely harmful to our oral health, contributing significantly not only to gum health problems such as periodontitis, but also oral cancers too. This latter problem is growing and smoking is one of the biggest risk factors. Alcohol is less harmful in moderation but drinking too much or too often can be almost as bad as smoking. The hygienist may be able to help you to find a way to reduce your consumption of both.
As we grow older, the odds are that dental issues will arise more frequently. Although a good diet and home cleaning can do an awful lot to prevent many problems, the fact is that years of use will lead to a certain degree of ‘wear and tear’. Gum recession is also more likely to occur as we get older, exposing the less protected root area of our teeth. Because of this, it is important that you don’t miss your check up appointments. Any problems that we detect early on may be restored through a ‘light touch’ treatment. Leaving them to worsen will almost certainly lead to the need for more invasive treatment.
Whether you are young or old, looking after your teeth and gums is important. Even if some damage has already occurred, our experienced Ipswich dental team can help you to restore functionality through treatments such as crowns, veneers and even dental implants. Don’t forget too that we also offer a wide range of cosmetic treatments so that you can have teeth that are not only healthy, but nicer looking too!
We are here to help you to look after your teeth through guidance and treatment. If you would like to make an appointment at the Foxhall Dental Practice, you can do so by giving our team a call on 01473 258396.