By Angela Bekiaris: “WHITENING my teeth has never been an absolute necessity, but I’ve always wanted to do it, says The Bachelor’s Gina Myers, who recently flaunted her pearly whites on social media after having some teeth whitening done. “Luckily I have an amazing dentist that is always helping me look after my teeth,” she says, adding, “I drink water often; I brush twice a day; and I have become an avid glosser. Zoom whitening approached me and asked if it’s something I’d like to try out. I immediately said yes. It was a painless process. And my dentist (Dr Smile) was extremely kind and patient. I’m actually quite a baby when it comes to the tooth doctor. I did experience extreme sensitivity later that night, but it was temporary. And now I’m smiling from ear to ear.”
Did you know that two of the world’s most common health problems affect the mouth? Cavities and gum disease. According to gov.za, gum disease ranks second only to the common cold in terms of prevalence, with an estimated 90 percent of South Africans experiencing the problem at some point. What’s also interesting to note is that according to studies, gum disease has been linked to coronary heart disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes and diabetes, and new research shows that women with gum disease find it harder to conceive. Do you need more reasons to start brushing? After our tips you’ll be a pro!
Keep Those Fangs Clean
- Use a proper brushing technique: According to the American Dental Association (ADA): Start with your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use short back and forth strokes across the sides and tops of your teeth. Then, hold the brush vertically and use several shorter strokes to focus on the backs of your teeth of the front anterior teeth where plaque builds up often.
- Brush enough: The ADA recommends brushing for at least two minutes, twice daily. You’ve watched longer YouTube videos, so no excuses.
- Pick the right brush: Experts explain that you should always look for a brush whose head and bristles are small enough to reach into the crevices of your molars. According to the International Dental Health Association, most adults require a small- or medium-sized toothbrush for this purpose.
- Floss properly and regularly: It’s just as important as brushing, and an even better way to reach between teeth, where germs are hiding.
- Clean your brush: Make sure to always rinse your brush after each use and allow it to air dry. You should also avoid sharing brushes with others, even your kids.
- Change your brush: Get a new brush every three to four months, or at your semiannual dental check-up.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste: No matter which version you choose, make sure it contains fluoride — it is a leading defense against tooth decay. Fluoride works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective barrier for your teeth.
- Consider mouthwash: Dentists explain that mouthwash helps in three ways: It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth. Ask your dentist to recommend a specific one for you.
- Don’t neglect your tongue: Some toothbrushes now come with a ridged tooth-scraper on the back of the brush — brush or scrape your tongue as part of your daily routine. This will get rid of extra bacteria and help freshen up your breath. Win-win!
- Stop snacking in bed: This allows food particles and sugar to remain on your teeth for too long, providing fuel for bacteria that feeds on it, explain experts.
- Stick to water: Water is the healthiest drink for the body — and your teeth will thank you. Stay away from fizzy franks and fruit juices.
- Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables: Experts suggest you stop cutting up your children’s vegetables into tiny pieces and get those jaws working.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods: Sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth, explain dentists. These acids are what lead to cavities.
- Have a check-up twice a year: Don’t neglect your teeth – at minimum, you should see your dentist for cleanings and check-ups twice a year. You could save yourself from potential issues — and pain!
See also: Healthy teeth, healthy kids