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Healthy smiles: 5 tiny changes that will make a big difference to the health of your teeth (even if you’re dentist-phobic)

We all know the basics, such as brushing twice a day, but there are some simple steps that can have a big effect on the health of you teeth 

1. Eat peanuts and cashews

Assortment of nuts

We are all aware that sugary foods can be bad for our teeth, but when food is trapped in the gaps of our teeth, our gums or even on our tongue it can cause bad breath. If the food is left, it can cause a more powerful odour as it decays.

It’s not just trapped food that can cause problems though, fizzy drinks are a main contributor of tooth erosion. In 2004, dentists have found there is a strong link between fizzy drinks and tooth erosion. Recent figures released highlight the fact tooth erosion is 59 per cent higher amongst 12 year-olds and 220 per cent greater among 14 Year-olds who consume fizzy drinks.

The acids and acidic sugars which can be found in most fizzy drinks actually soften the tooth enamel, but when this is paired with poor brushing and other conditions such as grinding your teeth, it can lead to tooth loss.

However, it is not all bad as some foodstuffs are very good for teeth including milk which is full of calcium that helps build strong tooth enamel and helps protects you against periodontal disease. Nuts are another food type which are great for your teeth. Peanuts contain calcium and vitamin D which are again good for tooth enamel and cashew nuts stimulate saliva in your mouth. Saliva is the first defence against acidic food as it neutralises the acid in your mouth. Other good nuts to eat include almonds and walnuts.

2. Re-learn your toothbrushing technique

Each oral hygienist seems to give different advice here but generally holding your brush at a 45 degree angle and brushing up and down using short strokes is a good method. It’s important to hit all those hard to reach areas in order to clean away plaque which can cause damage if it is left. It’s also important to start brushing your teeth in different sections in avoid becoming lazy.

If you do enjoy fizzy drinks, sweets and even some fruit juices like orange and apple, it’s important to be aware that you should wait at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth as they contain some acids which can actually soften tooth enamel. By waiting this amount of time you are allowing your saliva to re-strengthen your tooth enamel.

If you wear dentures, then brushing may not be the correct option. Soaking your dentures in a special cleaning solution and using a soft denture brush to clean them before rising them thoroughly with water is a popular method. Although it’s important to consult your dentist on the correct method or online resources like WebMD or specialist websites like the denture hub on Polident.

Dentures are not just for elderly relatives, they’re quite common amongst adults in their 40s. A survey from 2009 found that approximately 20 million US women who were aged 40 or over wear full of partial dentures; that’s 19 per cent of the population! The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry also predicts that the number of US adults who will need dentures will rise to 37.9m in 2020, this is from 33.6m in 1991.

3. Conquer your fear of the dentist (there are new ways to feel less pain!)

Check-ups are daunting, there’s no doubt about it, but everyone has similar hang-ups, so just be sure not to let it turn into a phobia. A check-up is essential not just in diagnosing faults, but in enhancing the health of your teeth and gums. When it comes to how often you should have a check-up, your dentist will let you know as it depends on your oral health.

The new Air Abrasion instrument uses compressed air and small particles of aluminium oxide or silica to remove tooth decay and there’s no drilling noise or unnecessary pain

If you do have a fear of the dentist, you might find the new Air Abrasion instrument a relief. It uses compressed air and small particles of aluminium oxide or silica to remove tooth decay and takes away the sound of the drill, ask your dentist for more information.

4. Have a Builder’s

Green Tea

Many people cannot live without their morning brew or night-time hot beverage but tea can actually help prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth. It contains flavonoids and other ingredients as well as a high level of fluoride.

5. Don’t go to bed on a dry mouth

glass of waterNot only does water hydrate us, it washes away the kinds of harmful bacteria that can build up in a dry mouth. Lying with a dry mouth overnight makes your mouth a breeding ground for bacteria and the same applies to a limited water intake during the day. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth and body hydrated, the recommended amount to drink each day is eight 200ml glasses.



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