Tips on den­tal care

The Sun (Malaysia) - - URBAN PARENTING -

IT’S PROB­A­BLY the most bor­ing chore on Earth, yet some­thing nearly ev­ery­one does at least once a day. But how of­ten and for how long should we re­ally be brush­ing our teeth?

The short an­swer is about 1,896 hours in a life­time, but ac­cord­ing to a study, the re­al­ity is peo­ple are brush­ing for about half that time.

Ad­vice on the best way to brush teeth is of­ten con­fus­ing and in­con­sis­tent, so habits are wildly var­ied from per­son to per­son.

This habit is best to cul­ti­vate when young – from child­hood. Dr Payal Sharma Birch, a den­tist at Smile Im­pres­sions, has these rec­om­men­da­tions.

“Two min­utes at least is ideal, 30 sec­onds for each quar­ter of the mouth,” she said.

“And at least twice a day. Be­fore bed is most im­por­tant as we have re­duced saliva flow when we are asleep. Saliva would usu­ally help nat­u­rally buf­fer the acids in the mouth.

“Your den­tist or hy­gien­ist may ad­vise more de­pend­ing on the state of your gums.”

The tooth­paste to use should con­tain flu­o­ride to “strengthen the teeth against the rav­ages of den­tal de­cay”.

And to the age-old ques­tion as to whether floss is a waste of time or not, the an­swer is it de­pends.

“Ev­i­dence sup­ports the use of small in­ter­den­tal brushes for clean­ing be­tween the teeth where there’s space to do so,” Payal says.

“Floss is not a waste of time if it’s a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to in­ter­den­tal brush­ing. But floss is of lit­tle value, un­less the spa­ces be­tween your teeth are too tight for brushes to fit with­out hurt­ing or caus­ing harm.”

The risks of not clean­ing your teeth are ter­ri­fy­ing and var­ied, from dis­colour­ing and bad breath to tooth de­cay, gum and pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease (rot­ting of the bone). – The In­de­pen­dent

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