Tooth tips by word of mouth

The Jewish Chronicle - - JC SPECIAL - BY JOY SABLE

FROM THE time teething be­gins un­til the end of our lives, our teeth and gums need to be cared for — af­ter all, a lovely smile lights up your whole face. Eu­nice Mar­ber has been a hy­gien­ist for 34 years and works in Bushey, Hert­ford­shire. She has seen many changes in den­tal care over the decades. “Dur­ing this time, the most ef­fec­tive change that has im­proved den­tal health is the elec­tric brush,” she says. “Now more peo­ple are aware they have to brush all the sur­faces of all their teeth for about two min­utes. One thing I find my­self telling pa­tients is that af­ter they have brushed their teeth, they should spit out any ex­cess tooth­paste but not rinse their mouth. This is be­cause it will wash away the con­cen­trated flu­o­ride in the re­main­ing tooth­paste, thus di­lut­ing it and re­duc­ing its pre­ven­ta­tive ef­fects.”

Mar­ber ad­vises clean­ing a baby’s teeth as soon as they ap­pear, ini­tially with a soft cloth and then with a soft child’s tooth­brush.

“A small, pea-sized amount of chil­dren’s tooth­paste (low-flu­o­ride) can be used from 18 months of age. A child who en­joys the flavour of his or her tooth­paste is more likely to en­joy brush­ing. You will need to help your child brush their teeth un­til they can do it them­selves (usu­ally about six or seven years old).

“Some­times, to en­cour­age your child to brush their teeth, all it takes is a tooth­brush with a favourite char­ac­ter or one that lights up and plays mu­sic. Singing spe­cial songs can also make the ritual a lot more fun.

“Of­ten, chil­dren pay more at­ten­tion to a mes­sage when they don’t hear it from their par­ents. You may have bet­ter luck get­ting those teeth brushed if you read books about den­tal hy­giene or watch a video or play a mo­bile app or tablet game.”

Mar­ber stresses the im­por­tance of clean­ing between the teeth, as this is where de­cay and gum dis­ease can oc­cur, caused by food de­bris and the build-up of plaque.

“There are now sev­eral dif­fer­ent prod­ucts that can aid clean­ing in­ter­den­tally. Floss­ing isn’t just for dis­lodg­ing food wedged between your teeth. It may also re­duce gum dis­ease and bad breath. If floss­ing is not for you, you can use in­ter­den­tal brushes or single-tufted brushes in­stead. Th­ese may be bet­ter for those who have gaps between their teeth.”

The teenage years are the first ma­jor op­por­tu­nity to cor­rect wonky, un­even teeth in a ma­tur­ing mouth. It is a com­mon sight in an or­thodon­tic prac­tice to see a wait­ing room filled with girls and boys in an as­sort­ment of school blaz­ers as they wait for their ap­point­ment to ad­just their braces. And th­ese de­vices need no longer be the un­sightly mass of metal that school­child­ren used to be teased about.

Re­mov­able braces are of­ten used in younger pa­tients, who may still have some baby teeth. Ce­ramic braces are less no­tice­able than metal ap­pli­ances and so are pop­u­lar with teenagers and older pa­tients. In­visalign treat­ment uses clear plas­tic align­ers to straighten the teeth, with­out the use of tra­di­tional braces, while lin­gual braces are ap­plied be­hind the teeth (nearer the tongue) so

Bond while you brush: turn oral hy­giene into a fun ritual from a young age

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