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How to Take Good Care of Your Teeth

by Karen Rollins May 9, 2022

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Woman brushing teeth

Nearly everyone dreads visiting the dentist, even though we know it’s necessary to prevent any serious problems with our teeth and gums.

Some experts recommend seeing a dentist or hygienist twice a year, although some say if you maintain a good oral hygiene routine, about once a year should be enough.

Here are three steps you can take to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy and hopefully limit your visits to the dentist’s chair.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day.

Most experts recommend brushing your teeth twice a day – last thing at night and sometime during the day. You should use a fluoride toothpaste and brush with a circular motion, covering all surfaces, for at least two minutes but don’t scrub too hard because you can damage the tooth enamel.

It’s debatable whether an electric toothbrush is better than a manual, but an electric toothbrush is likely to make it easier for you to clean your teeth thoroughly and they often include timers, so you know you’ve brushed for long enough.

  • Don’t forget to floss.

Some dentists say flossing is as important as brushing because it removes food trapped between teeth, which a toothbrush cannot reach, and reduces gum disease and bad breath. It’s best to floss before brushing your teeth.

Interdental brushes are recommended, but if you don’t have large enough gaps between your teeth, floss or dental tape will work as well.

Move the brush or floss up and down between your teeth eight to 10 times, and make sure you scrape the side of each tooth.

  • Use flouride mouthwash.

Contrary to popular belief, you should not rinse your mouth out with water immediately after brushing, as this washes away the concentrated fluoride left on your teeth. Instead you should spit out any excessive toothpaste and only rinse your mouth about 10 minutes later if necessary.

A mouthwash with fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay, but again you should not use it straightaway after brushing, because it will wash away the toothpaste’s fluoride. Rinsing with mouthwash after lunch is recommended but after that you should not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes.

Source: NHS UK