Keeping Your Mouth Clean.
What are the benefits of keeping my mouth clean?
Keeping your mouth clean helps prevent dental disease.
- Sticky plaque builds up on everyone's teeth every day, and this can lead to gum disease. The gum comes away from the teeth, making the plaque more difficult to clean away. This makes gum disease worse. You can stop gum disease by cleaning your teeth carefully.
- Just brushing your teeth will not prevent tooth decay. You need to brush with a fluoride toothpaste. This helps the tooth mend itself after being attacked by plaque acids. Thorough brushing gets fluoride all around the mouth.
- Teeth also erode. This means they dissolve away when you have acidic food and drink too often (e.g. web designers drinking too much Coca Cola). Rinsing acids away with water afterwards helps to prevent erosion
As well as cleaning your teeth and gums thoroughly, try to have sticky and acidic food and drink less often.
How should I brush my teeth?
Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a soft-to-medium brush and
fluoride toothpaste. Replace the brush when the bristles get out of shape;
- Put the bristles at the join between teeth and gums, pointing towards
the gums using short circular movements;
Brush all around every tooth, carefully making sure you can feel the brush
on your gums;
- Don't use too much force - give your teeth and gums a gentle scrub;
- Small children usually cannot brush properly until they are eight or nine, so brush their teeth yourself. One way is to stand behind your child and tilt their head back so you can reach round all the teeth.
How should I floss?
Dental floss helps you clean in between your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist will tell you whether you need to floss. If you do, they will show you how to do it. You may need to practice in front of a mirror.
Use about 18 inches (45cm) of floss. Wrap the ends around the middle fingers
of each hand, leaving 2 to 3 inches (5 - 7.5 cm) between the first finger
- Gently slide the floss between the two teeth and put it round one tooth,
next to the gum, using your fingers;
Move the floss up and down the side of the tooth several times;
- Do the same for every tooth.
Children do not need to floss.