How to treat your teeth like a dentist: Don’t brush up and down, use strawberries to whiten, and NEVER chew gum for more than 10 minutes
- Brush before breakfast as otherwise acid in food erodes away enamel
- Strawberries and bicarbonate of soda can be used as a natural whitener
- Only chew gum until the flavour has gone or it can cause chips and breaks
- Brush in gentle circular motions, rather than up and down to protect gums
| By Madlen Davies for MailOnline |
AN attractive smile can make a person appear £10,000 better off, it has been said.
Yet many of us fail to give our teeth the attention they deserve — or are unwittingly causing irreparable damage to them, a dentist has warned.
Dr Uchenna Okoye, a London dentist and smile director for Oral-B, says people often brush at the wrong time of the day, too quickly, and use outdated tools.
Her warning comes as a survey reveals one in three people apparently forget to clean their teeth in the morning.
The poll found 35 per cent of these people blame their partner in some way, claiming they distract them in the morning or hog the bathroom.
Here, Dr Okoye, clinical director at London Smiling Dental Group, reveals to MailOnline how to care for your teeth as a dentist would – and avoid common pitfalls…
DON’T BRUSH UP AND DOWN
Scrubbing up and down wears away and erodes the gums so they recede.
Instead, brush in gentle circular motions, tickling and massaging the teeth and gums, Dr Okoye said.
She added: ‘If you’re using a manual toothbrush, you should be scrubbing in circular motions.
‘The bristles need to go into your gum, rather than skating over the surface. This is because the bacteria is hiding in the “cuff” of the gum.
‘If people aren’t brushing properly, their gums start bleeding.
‘They then tend to give up on brushing or swap to a softer brush – but it’s important to use a medium strength brush.
‘If you have crooked teeth, angle the brush to go over them.’
She advises dividing the mouth into quarters and spending an equal amount of time on each section.
‘The quarters are the outer surface, the top biting surface, the inner surface, then in between these teeth.
‘With an electric tootbrush you brush one exactly the same way, circular movement, but angling the brush the same way.’
While most people brush their teeth for 30 seconds at most, they really should be brushing for longer, Dr Okoye said.
She said: ‘The thing with brushing and looking after teeth, it’s keeping you there long enough to get the job done.
Two minutes is a long time, but you should be brushing for a minimum of two minutes, and if you can, five minutes.’
ONLY CHEW GUM FOR 10 MINUTES
Gum may make the mouth minty fresh, but chewing for too long can actually cause problems, Dr Okoye warned.
‘The thing with gum is to only chew it for 10 minutes, or until the flavour has gone,’ she said.
‘Otherwise, you start causing other problems. Teeth are designed to break things down, and gum is soft.’
So they begin to knock into one another and begin chipping and breaking, she said.
‘Your teeth are like a pestle and mortar and need something in between, otherwise they bash into each other and cause chips,’ she said.
‘Your stomach is also expecting food and so starts making acid,’ she added.
This irritates the lining of the stomach, and can ultimately cause stomach ulcers in people who chew gum all day long.
USE STRAWBERRIES AND BICARBONATE OF SODA
This combination acts as a natural tooth whitener, Dr Okoye said.
She advises taking eight strawberries, the riper and softer the better, and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and creating a paste.
Put a piece of cotton in between the teeth to bite on, smear the paste over the teeth and rub it a little to whiten the teeth, she said.
The bicarbonate of soda is abrasive and can remove the stains that are caused by drinking coffee, tea and smoking.
It clears the debris on the surface of the teeth to make the teeth appear whiter and brighter.
Strawberries contain ascorbic acid, a gentle acid which can also remove surface stains and make teeth shine.
She added that hard cheeses will keep teeth white as well as healthy.
This is because cheese neutralises plaque acid because the fermented dairy product make the mouth more alkaline and creates a protective film around teeth.
Avoiding brightly coloured foods will help avoid stains.
‘Anything that will stain a white shirt will stain your teeth,’ she said.
BRUSH BEFORE BREAKFAST
You might assume it’s best to brush your teeth after eating breakfast.
But it’s actually better to do so before eating or drinking anything. ‘The ideal timeline of the morning would be to get up, get out of bread and then brush teeth at this point,’ Dr Okoye said.
Many of us eat acidic foods such as grapefruit and fruit juice at breakfast, and this acid can soften the tooth’s enamel, its hard outer covering.
Bacteria also feed off the sugar in food and produce more acid, further weakening the enamel
Therefore, brushing straight after breakfast means you are are effectively rubbing the sugar into their teeth and wearing away at the softened enamel, Dr Okoye warned.
If you do forget to brush before, or want to leave the house with a clean mouth, wait an hour afterwards to give your saliva a chance to neutralise the acid,’ she advised.
‘Brushing your teeth straight after a meal can wear away the enamel which is softened by the acid.’
At night, brushing your teeth should be the last thing you do before bed, Dr Okoye said.
She said: ‘The night brushing session at night is the most important because you produce the least amount of saliva.’
Saliva contains lots of cells that form a protective barrier around the teeth, as well as alkaline salts that neutralise acid in the mouth.
‘So at night, when saliva levels drop, bacteria can have a field day and cause cavities,’ Dr Okoye said.
When cleaning teeth at night she says it is better not to rinse out the mouth, in order to keep the fluoride in there.
‘And nothing but water should go in your mouth after you’ve brushed,’ she added.
BRUSH YOUR TONGUE
The key to fresh breath is to clean the tongue, as everyone forgets to do this.
Brushing the tongue is important because the tongue contains the most bacteria, as it is spongy, wet and full of crevices where the bacteria can hide.
The bacteria emit sulphur, which is what makes a person’s breath smell so bad.
This bad breath can be remedied by cleaning the tongue using a toothbrush or a special tongue scraper, Dr Okoye said.
She said: ‘You can use a tongue scraper. It’s a flat surface, and take one swoop.
‘You need to get the back of your tongue, it might make you gag a bit.
‘One full swoop and you’re done. Almost like if someone grabs hold of your tongue.’
‘Or you can use your toothbrush,’ she added.
USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH
Technological advancements mean electric toothbrushes are much better at cleaning teeth than manual brushes, Dr Okoye said.
‘It’s like using a washing machine to clean clothes versus washing by hand’ she said of manual brushing.
‘With the electric brush you plonk it there and it does the work for you. Hold it over the tooth and the bristles do all the work.’
‘People should floss, ideally every day, but more realistically every other day,’ Dr Okoye said.
Previous research shows flossing can add years on to a person’s life, and those with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease as those without gum conditions.
This is thought to be because gum disease causes potentially harmful bacteria to be released into the bloodstream, which aids the furring of the arteries that causes hear disease.
‘You can do the classic wrap around two fingers, or you can get floss sticks that are already loaded. Then you can use them to get to the back teeth. If flossing is difficult you can use brushes. You don’t even need to look at it.’
‘What you’re doing it disturbing the bacteria so they don’t get a chance to grow and get hard,’ she concluded
Culled from Dailymailonline
— Jul 7, 2015 @ 13:20 GMT