A smile is often the first thing people notice when they meet you. At Coastal Dental Care, our mission is to help patients improve their oral health. For this reason, we asked our dentists for 10 top tips to achieve a healthier smile.
Don’t brush right after eating
It is a widespread misbelief that you should brush your teeth right after having a meal or soft drink. The logic behind the thought is easy to understand. People believe the food they consumed attacks their teeth. Hence, brushing them right after a meal would minimise the damage. This is, however, not the case.
When we eat or drink, bacteria in our mouth feed on these fluids and food particles. These bacteria deposits stick to your teeth and produce acid. The acid then attacks your tooth enamel, the protective layer on your teeth.
This means, your enamel layer is weakened by the acid right after a meal. If you then decide to brush your teeth, you risk further weakening the protective layer on your teeth.
Our dentists recommend drinking plenty of water after a meal to reduce acid levels and rinse away leftover food particles. You can also chew sugar free gum to increase saliva production and thereby decrease acidity levels. Wait for at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth.
Floss before you brush
A recent study featured in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) in the US has found that flossing before brushing removes more plaque than the other way around.1 For this reason, our dentists recommend to floss before you brush your teeth.
The study also found that fluoride, a mineral that aids in the prevention of cavities and tooth decay, stayed in the mouth at a higher concentration when patients flossed before brushing.
Use an electric toothbrush with soft bristles
Electric toothbrushes with an automatic alternating or rotating action were found to be more effective than manual toothbrushes. This was the result of a study published in 2004 in the Journal of Dentistry.2
Our dentists recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles as people tend to apply too much pressure when brushing. Soft bristles help to protect your gums and teeth.
Attend 6 monthly preventative dental visits
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends seeing the dentist every 6 months for a preventative appointment. This includes a check-up, clean, scale and fluoride application. It also helps to identify potential issues early and prevent them from getting worse or even arising in the future.
Many patients are concerned about the costs of dental treatments. However, a check-up and clean every 6 months may work out cheaper than leaving oral health concerns until a problem arises. Postponing treatment may then require root canals or crowns which are more expensive.
To make preventative appointments affordable for everyone, Coastal Dental Care offers $125 check-up and cleans including x-rays, scale and fluoride for all patients without private health fund.
If you are private health fund member and have available dental extras cover, you won’t have any out of pocket costs for your No Gap check-up and clean.
Replace missing teeth
A missing tooth does not only affect the aesthetics of your smile. It can cause a variety of problems. If you are missing a tooth in the back, for example, this may shift your chewing forces to the front. This can then cause the front teeth to flare out and create unwanted spaces in between them. In addition, a missing tooth can also affect the jawbone structure and gum tissues.
Several treatment options such as dental bridges, dental implants and dentures can replace missing teeth and get your smile back on track.
Support your teeth with the right foods
Your diet influences your oral health daily. By choosing foods low in sugar, acid and staining character, you can protect your teeth.
In addition, you support your oral health if you minimise the number of snacks you consume. Many people snack on fruits multiple times a day thinking they are making a healthy choice over chocolate, biscuits or other treats. This is correct, in general, but fruits contain a high amount of natural sugar and acid, too. If you would like to enjoy a piece of fruit, eat it after a main meal and have plenty of water afterwards.
Overall, aim to eat foods rich in vitamins such as leafy greens, vegetables, fish, eggs, and cheese.
Make wise drink choices
Similar to choosing the right foods, it is also important to consider the beverages you consume if you want to protect your teeth.
Fruit juices and lemonade are not only high in sugar, they can also stain your teeth. Coffee and wine are also beverages that will leave marks on your pearly whites.
If you consume a staining drink, always try to have water afterwards to limit the risks of staining and to reduce the acid levels in your mouth.
Avoid biting into hard things
To protect your teeth from chipping, it is essential to avoid chewing on hard items such as pens, toothpicks, or ice. All of these can wear your teeth down if you chew on them continuously.
Our dentists also recommend cutting up hard foods instead of biting directly onto them. This is an easy way to look after your smile.
Protect your teeth during impact sports
Many tooth-related accidents happen in high impact sports. To save your teeth from chipping, breaking or fracturing, our dentists recommend wearing a custom-made mouthguard during contact sports.
A custom-made mouthguard fits your teeth and gum line perfectly. You have several options to customise them in terms of colours, logos, or name prints. Custom-made mouthguards are available at all Coastal Dental Care practices.
Another impact factor on your teeth is your behaviour while you are asleep. Actions such as teeth grinding, sleep apnea, or snoring can impact your smile and oral health. If you become aware that you are consistently showing one of these behaviours, please mention it to your dentist during your next visit.
There is a variety of appliances which can protect your teeth from damage at night. Your dentist will be able to give you adequate advice for your situation.
Book an appointment today
Let our team help you to look after your smile. Book your preventative dental appointment at one of our Coastal Dental Care practices online today.
- Mazhari, F., Boskabady, M., Moeintaghavi, A., Habibi, A. (2018). The effect of toothbrushing and flossing sequence on interdental plaque reduction and fluoride retention: A randomised controlled clinical trial, BDJ, 10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.1062, 225, 10, (945-945).
- Yaacob, M., Worthington, H., Deacon, S., Deery, C., Walmsley, A., Robinson, P. and Glenny, A. (2014). Powered versus manual toothbrushing for oral health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.