SMILE FILE

Start 2013 with a smile with our 6 top tips for ter­rific teeth

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Oral Health -

1. VIS­IT­ING TIMES

“It doesn’t mat­ter how old you are, or how many teeth you have, you should al­ways fol­low your den­tist’s ad­vice about how of­ten they need to see you,” says Karen Coates, Dental Ad­vi­sor at the Bri­tish Dental Health Foun­da­tion.

“Preven­tion is al­ways bet­ter than cure and reg­u­lar vis­its to the den­tist can help iden­tify de­vel­op­ing prob­lems early – and, more im­por­tantly, set you on a path to rec­tify them. There’s a chance ev­ery­one will suf­fer from gum disease at some point in their lives ( it’s that com­mon) so do re­mem­ber to get to your den­tist or hy­gien­ist as of­ten as they rec­om­mend.”

2. FOOD AND DRINK

“Diet may have a large im­pact on the grow­ing obe­sity prob­lem in the UK, but there’s no es­cap­ing the dam­age a poor diet does to our teeth too,” says Karen.

“One of the Foun­da­tion’s key mes­sages is ‘ cut down how of­ten you have sug­ary foods and drinks’. This is a par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant mes­sage for par­ents to re­mem­ber. The more of­ten your child has sug­ary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have tooth de­cay. It is there­fore im­por­tant to keep sug­ary and acidic foods to meal­times only. Food and drinks which are kind­est to teeth in­clude cheese, crack­ers, bread sticks, raw veg­eta­bles, plain water and milk.”

3. FLU­O­RIDE FACTS

“It’s im­por­tant to brush your teeth first thing in the morn­ing and just be­fore you go to bed for two min­utes us­ing a flu­o­ride tooth­paste,” says Karen. “Dur­ing the night the flow of saliva, which is the mouth’s clean­ing sys­tem, slows down. This leaves the mouth more at risk of de­cay; there­fore brush­ing acts as a pre­ven­tive mea­sure.

“Flu­o­ride is an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant ad­di­tion to the tooth­paste we use. It’s also found in drink­ing water across the coun­try. There are dif­fer­ent lev­els rec­om­mended de­pend­ing on how old you are. All chil­dren up to three years old should use a tooth­paste with a flu­o­ride level of at least 1,000ppm ( parts per mil­lion). Af­ter three years old, the Foun­da­tion rec­om­mends you use a tooth paste that con­tains 1 , 3 5 0 ppm - 1,500p pm. If you’re un­sure how much flu­o­ride is in a par­tic­u­lar brand, check the pack­ag­ing for the Foun­da­tion’s ap­proved sym­bol for re­as­sur­ance.”

4. CLEAN BE­TWEEN

“As brush­ing alone only cleans around two thirds of the mouth, it is im­por­tant to use in­ter­den­tal brushes or floss to clean away any food de­bris caught be­tween the teeth,” says Karen. “In­ter­den­tal clean­ing can help re­duce the risk of gum disease.”

5. POWERUP

“Rig­or­ous tests have proven elec­tric tooth brushes, with small round os­cil­lat­ing ro­tat­ing heads, can be up to twice as ef­fec­tive at re­mov­ing plaque than a man­ual brush,” says Karen. “Many also have two- minute timers to en­sure you clean for the rec­om­mended pe­riod of time. Some, such as the Oral B Tri­umph with Smart Guide, also have a re­mote dis­play to help you brush for the cor­rect time and sen­sors to

show you when you are brush­ing too hard. Look for the Bri­tish Dental Health Foun­da­tion ac­cred­ited logo which shows that the claims the prod­uct is mak­ing have been sci­en­tif­i­cally proven.”

6. THE ONE- HOUR RULE

“It takes an av­er­age of 40 min­utes for the mouth to neu­tralise the acid caused by eat­ing or drink­ing sugar, there­fore it is best to wait at least one hour af­ter eat­ing be­fore brush­ing teeth,” says Karen. “Eat­ing or drink­ing weak­ens the enamel on the teeth, mean­ing if you brush too soon it can cause tiny par­ti­cles of the enamel to be brushed away. You can help to speed up the time that is takes for the saliva to neu­tralise th­ese plaque acids and lessen the dam­age that they can cause by chew­ing sugar- free gum con­tain­ing Xyl­i­tol, rins­ing with a flu­o­ride mouthrinse or plain water.”

Karen Coates, Dental Ad­vi­sor at the Bri­tish Dental Health Foun­da­tion

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