Help keep your teeth healthy with this advice from dentist Anisha Patel from Which? Local-recommended Bhuva Dental in Pinner, Middlesex.
Common dental problems
Cavities and gum disease
The most common problems dentists treat are dental cavities (caries) and gum disease.
These problems are caused by bacteria which take 24 to 36 hours to multiply to harmful levels. So the main aim of all oral hygiene is to keep the number of bacteria low enough that they won't cause disease.
Thoroughly cleaning all surfaces prevents disease. Brushing reaches three out of five surfaces. Where your teeth meet needs extra effort with floss or interproximal brushes. Ask your dentist which is right for you.
When to brush
When you should brush depends on what you've recently eaten.
If you've had lots of sugar it's usually best to brush as soon as possible. If you've had acidic food or drink, wait at least 20 minutes before brushing.
How to clean
Food and drink: the surprise 'baddies' for your mouth
Apart from the usual food suspects, you might be surprised to hear that diet drinks are often very acidic and sports drinks are often both acidic and high in sugar.
Dried fruit not only has high sugar levels but, because it's usually sticky, it can weld itself to teeth unless properly cleaned.
- Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on your brush. Most brands are essentially the same - the important ingredient is fluoride.
- Brush the surfaces of teeth in a circular motion. Also gently brush gums.
- Clean your tongue with a toothbrush or specialised tongue cleaner. This helps to reduce any deposit on the surface of the tongue.
Clean dentures daily with a soft brush to remove food debris. Do this over a towel or sink so they won't get damaged if dropped. Use soap and water then rinse with water. Next soak them in a cleaning agent and rinse.
When to visit a dentist
Six-monthly check-ups are not recommended for everyone these days. How often you should go depends on your previous, existing and possible future disease level.
If you have a diet high in sugar and have lots of fillings due to decay, you're in a high risk category. Your dentist will probably advise you to come in more frequently.
If you're a low risk however, you might leave 18 months to two years between appointments. Ask your dentist what they recommend for you.
How to find a good dentist
Ask family and friends for recommendations or check the reviews for dentists on Which? Local.
Beware the hard sell. A good dentist will go through all the options with you first.
About our expert trader
Our expert: dentist Anisha Patel
Dentist Anisha Patel works at Which? Local recommended Bhuva Dental in Pinner, Middlesex.
Reviewers have praised Bhuva Dental for offering a friendly and thorough service.
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