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10 Tips for Good Dental Health That Can Save You £££s

 

Modern dentistry can be expensive but it’s possible to avoid much of that expense by taking a few simple steps at home.

Tooth decay and gum disease are largely preventable. Read the tips below to find out how you can maintain good dental health and so reduce the amount of work you’ll need at the dental practice.

Tip 1 Eat Sensibly

Eating a balanced diet containing all the essential food groups makes you feel healthy and satisfied; reducing the urge to constantly snack on things that are generally bad for the teeth. Don’t miss breakfast and try to keep to eating other meals at regular times.

Tip 2 Reduce Sugar

Sugar doesn’t only feed us, it feeds the millions of decay-causing bacteria in our mouths as well allowing them to really get to work creating cavities. It’s very difficult to completely cut out sugar from our diet as it is put into so many of the ready-prepared foods we buy but DO look at labels and try to avoid some of these ‘hidden’ sugars. Most importantly it’s the frequency of sugar intake that does more harm than the quantity so a spoonful of sugar in a cup of tea every couple of hours will cause more damage than eating a whole bag of sweets in one go each day (although this is not recommended for your waistline or your heart!)

Tip 3 Reduce Acid

Over recent years dentists have seen an ever-increasing amount of dental erosion; that is to say, thinning of the enamel due to acid attack. Erosion can make teeth sensitive, make them more susceptible to decay, make them unsightly as the shape of the tooth changes and the edges wear down and make them look darker as the white enamel thins allowing the darker inner structure of the tooth to show through. Ironically, most dental erosion is caused by our quest to live healthier lifestyles. Although fizzy drinks have a part to play a great deal of damage is being done by the excessive drinking of fruit juice and sports drinks. The recent fashion of drinking hot water with added lemon juice not only provides harmful acid but by heating it up allows the calcium in the tooth to dissolve even more quickly. Just as with sugar, reducing frequency of these drinks helps a lot because the longer the mouth remains acid each day the more harm will be done. If you feel you must indulge in acidic drinks there are 2 ways of partially limiting the bad effects: 1/ Rinse your mouth with water or drink a few mouthfuls of water after an acidic drink. This will wash some of the acid away. 2/ Don’t brush your teeth for at least an hour after eating or drinking acidic things. Acid makes the enamel soft and brushing immediately will permanently remove the outer layers.

Tip 4 Don’t Use Your Teeth As Tools

That may sound obvious but you’d be amazed by the number of teeth that require costly repairs because they’ve been used to open bottles or hard plastic packaging, hold screwdrivers or crack nuts! Teeth are designed for eating with so reserve them for that and that alone!

Tip 5 Brush Effectively

Last time you swept the floor did you rub the brush rapidly backwards and forwards so that the dirt was thrown into all the nooks and crevices? Of course not but that’s the way lots of us use our toothbrush. Think about it; a toothbrush is, well, a brush. It’s designed to sweep deposits away from the teeth and gums, not back into them so forget the toothpaste ads on TV! Don’t rub up and down. Start with the brush at the edge of the gum and clean away from the gum, one jaw at a time so at the top you’re working towards the bottom and at the bottom you’re working towards the top. Brush the front, back and chewing surface of each tooth. Hold your lips away and look in a mirror to make sure you’re getting right to the gum margin. After brushing use something like dental floss or interdental brushes to clean between the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach. Efficient tooth brushing is something of an art and our hygienists will give you full instruction. It’s an art well-worth perfecting because keeping the teeth clean is the best way of avoiding tooth decay and gum disease and really can save you lots of money.

Tip 6 Don’t Ignore Bleeding Gums

Healthy gums won’t bleed unless you cut them. Bleeding gums are an indication of infection and inflammation. Never avoid tooth brushing because your gums bleed. The bleeding is telling you the edges of the gums are not clean enough. Bleeding gums are an early sign of gum disease. More teeth are lost through gum disease than because of tooth decay so if bleeding persists more than a few days see your dentist or dental hygienist. Early treatment is generally simple and can help you avoid much more complex and costly treatments later.

Tip 7 Don’t Ignore Little Problems

Tooth sensitivity, chipped teeth, lost fillings and teeth which ‘twinge’ when you bite on them are not normal. Again, treating problems early is usually much more cost-effective than waiting until that ‘little problem’ has developed into a great big one! When in doubt, consult your dentist.

Tip 8 Attend Regularly For Check-Ups

Once again, the point of the check-up is to identify early problems before they become serious and allows your dentist to examine your teeth, gums and the rest of your mouth and discuss your long-term dental care. Regular check-ups reduce the risk of unexpected emergencies at home or on holiday so again can help reduce the financial burden of unplanned treatments.

Tip 9 Join A Practice Maintenance Plan

Most dental practices offer loyalty schemes for regular patients. Usually these plans include a number of examination and hygienist treatments each year, a discount on other treatment fees and often worldwide accident and emergency insurance. Maintenance plans save you money and give peace of mind so are well-worth joining.

Tip 10 Examine Your Own Mouth

Every week take a look inside your own mouth. Look for anything unusual like red or white patches, unexplained lumps, changes in texture or ulcers that don’t heal within 3 weeks. If you find anything unusual ask your dentist to take a look. Serious conditions like mouth cancer are rare but spotting them early could save you much more than just money .

We hope you have enjoyed reading these 10 Tips and have found the information in them really useful. Avenue Road Dental Practice regularly publishes information on the topics covered as well as on many other aspects of dentistry.

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