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Dental Health Tips

If you have any oral health problems such as sore gums or difficulty flossing, ask your dentist or Sarah or Yukari, our dental hygienists for guidance. There is a proven link between gum disease and heart disease so the full soft tissue oral examination carried out during a visit to the hygienist could save your life - especially as they can also detect the early stages of mouth cancer.

British Dental Association

You’ll find lots of helpful information at www.bdasmile.org.

Sweet foods and plaque

The most common cause of tooth decay and gum disease is refined sugars - the kind you find in cakes, sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks, frosted cereals etc.

But even natural foods like fruit, honey and even Sushi rice can cause plaque acids - which take just seconds to build up and remain in the mouth for around 30 minutes. It’s not only how much sugar you eat - but also how often. If you must eat sweet things, try and eat them all at once rather than nibbling throughout the day!

Brushing your teeth

We recommend you brush your teeth at least twice a day - but not too hard. As a society we are now living much longer than previous generations, so it's important to preserve the enamel on your teeth so it lasts as long you do. We can tell you:

  • Which type of toothbrush is best for you
  • The best technique to use when brushing
  • How long to brush for (usually around 5 minutes) how soon to replace old brushes for new ones
  • About mouth rinses, flossing, disclosing tablets and other inter-dental aids that may help in your personal prevention programme.

Brushing your gums

Doing this gently can help to stimulate the blood flow and keep your gums healthy. But don't over do it and never make them sore.

Brushing your tongue

We recommend brushing your tongue each morning and night to remove bits of food and mucous that can cause bad breath and tooth decay. The simplest way to do this is when cleaning your teeth, brushing firmly but gently. Be sure to get the top and sides, but don’t press so hard that you hurt yourself or gag.

Alternatively, most chemists sell cleaners specially designed for scraping tongues. All you have to do is to glide the device firmly across the top and sides of your tongue. Tongue cleaners have been used for thousands of years as part of traditional yoga practice.

Garlic breath

Strong smelling foods like onions and garlic are absorbed into the bloodstream and their odours are transferred into the lungs where you breathe them out. Brushing, flossing, mouthwash and mints may mask the smell temporarily, but won’t get rid of them - the odour will hang around until your body eliminates the food.

Bad breath

The simplest cause of bad breath - and the easiest one to fix - is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth and tongue and floss daily, particles of food will remain in the mouth. Here bacteria will rot them, creating the unpleasant smell known as halitosis.

Mouth ulcers

If you get mouth ulcers that aren’t clearing up quickly (say after 1-3 weeks), please ask for our advice. Sometimes eating too much sugar can be the cause, so adapting your diet could help. But in the short term using very warm salty mouth washes several times a day can be the most effective remedy. Here’s what to do:

  • Put about a dessert spoon of salt in a mug of warm to hot water (but not hot enough to burn your mouth)
  • Take a mouthful and swizzle it round for about 30 seconds and spit out
  • Repeat several times.

But don’t swallow and don't use too much salt as it can be absorbed into the blood stream.

Smoking

Aside from making you and your breath smell, smoking also increases the risk of developing gum disease as well as mouth, throat and lung cancer.

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Bellevue Dental, 7 Jaggard Way, Wandsworth Common, London SW12 8SG, UK. Phone 0208 673 9995.