Is Brushing My Teeth Enough?

We all know that it’s important to brush our teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. It’s a habit (hopefully) that has been ingrained into us from a young age. But is brushing alone enough to keep our mouths healthy?

The short answer is no, it’s not. Only around 25% of our mouths comprise of teeth, so brushing doesn’t provide a thorough clean on its own. In addition, a toothbrush – whether manual or electric – can’t get in between the teeth, giving food and bacteria the opportunity to grow in these spaces.

The solution? It’s necessary to complement tooth brushing with other products that will really make those pearly whites shine. The most popular of these are floss and mouthwash.

Flossing

A YouGov survey in 2017 found that only 31% of people in the UK clean between their teeth on a daily basis.[1] This is cause for concern as it means that many people are putting themselves at a greater risk of problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

It only takes a couple of minutes out of your day, so flossing is absolutely worth taking the extra time for. Getting it right is all about technique, so it may be worth experimenting with a few different products in order to find one that works for you.

String floss

  • Hold the string between your thumb and index finger
  • Using a back and forth motion, slide the floss between two teeth
  • Wrap the floss around one of the teeth and scoop it up and over the top
  • Repeat for the other side and continue around each tooth in the mouth

Floss Pick

  • Similar to above, but the pick holds the floss for you
  • Simply lower the floss between the teeth using a back and forth motion and then pull up

Interdental brushes

  • Hold the brush at an angle
  • Push it into the gap between two teeth, straighten and pull out
  • Repeat on all interdental spaces

(NB: Be sure to select the correct size brush for the size of gap between your teeth).

Mouthwash

The use of mouthwash has been linked to a reduction of plaque in the mouth, as it helps to kill bacteria on surfaces that brushing can’t reach. In turn, this lowers the risk of an array of dental conditions from gum disease to bad breath and tooth decay.

Once again, finding the right product for you is crucial and your Rodericks Dental team can help. For example, some alcohol-based mouthwashes can lead to dry mouth in some people, some flavours can prove too strong for others and the required fluoride content may differ between adults and children.

To use effectively, all you need to do is pour the recommended amount of mouthwash (as stated on the product) into your mouth and swish around quite vigorously for 60 seconds. (NB: if your cheeks get sore, you’re doing it right!) Spit the liquid out when finished.

Speak to the experts

If you have any questions or concerns about your home oral care routine, or if you’re not sure what products would be best for you, just ask your dentist or dental hygienist. We’d be happy to help!

[1]YouGov. Three in ten Brits only brush their teeth once a day. Oct 2017. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/10/23/three-ten-brits-only-brush-their-teeth-once-day/ [Accessed October 2018]

 

Yovaan Ilangakoon, Dentist at Pond House Dental Practice & Marylebone House Dental Practice

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