This is not the kind of article that will immediately grab your attention. I mean, it is about gums and teeth so who cares right? Right. So you can just skip this section you’ve got nothing to lose – but your teeth.
A brush up on brushing – Are you doing it right?
Let us start from the basics. What is plaque? It is a sticky film of bacteria that keeps forming inside your mouth. Though this bacteria is not harmful in itself, if it is allowed to remain on the surface of your teeth for more than 24 hours, it organizes into colonies and starts producing harmful enzymes.
So the key to keeping teeth and gums healthy is plaque removal. As long as plaque gets removed every 24 hours, the build up process never gets started. The best way to remove plaque is, of course, brushing teeth regularly. How often is enough? If anyone tells you that you should brush teeth after every meal, you can just let it in one ear and out the other. The worst thing you can do to teeth is brush them more than twice a day. Excessive brushing erodes your teeth, causing a breakdown of the entire periodontal structure and is a sure-fire path to a mouthful of crowns by your 40th birthday. So if you feel your teeth are extra sensitive, for example if they tingle too much when you are sipping cold water, it’s time you sat up and paid attention.
Use a soft toothbrush and change it often. An old toothbrush may succeed in getting the gunk off your teeth, but if the bristles are rough – which they will be before long, you will be causing more damage than good.
Brushing-are you doing it right?
Just because your grandparents teeth slept in a katori besides them, does not mean losing teeth is just a matter of time. If you look after them, you can still be buried at the ripe old age of 110 with teeth intact. It has been known to happen. But you have to first figure out if you are brushing your teeth right. Surprisingly, almost 75 percent of the population are doing it all wrong! The best way to brush teeth is to place the brush at a 45 degree angle and use short downward strokes. Gently does it. Use about ten strokes per section and keep brushing for at least 4-5 minutes. Don’t forget your tongue. Not only does that unsightly white coating look gross, but the tongue has bacteria catching grooves as well.
If your gums bleed while brushing, either you are getting something wrong, or you have a problem. Try being gentler on gums and give it a few days. If bleeding persists while brushing, it is time to give your dentist a call.
How do you know if your teeth are clean? After brushing, scrape your nail over the surface of your teeth. If it comes out clean, you’re fine. If a white film comes out, you have not done a thorough job.
Tear off about 10 to 12 cm of dental floss and wrap it around your middle or forefinger of each hand. Gently work it back and forth between two teeth till it slides past the tight spot. Be careful not to be too rough or your may slice your gum. Next, wrap the floss around your tooth and scrape it up and down. This removes stubborn plaque and polishes the surface. Repeat the process on each tooth till they are well and truly flossed. Rinse your mouth. You could brush your teeth before or after flossing, it does not matter. Some people prefer flossing first and then brushing the loose ends away.
Finally, make it a point to visit your dentist at least once in six months and get your teeth cleaned professionally to keep the tartar (plaque build-up) from accumulating.
Diet is of prime importance and yes, sugar is the bad guy. Didn’t want to hear that, did you? Sorry, there’s no getting away from it. Sugar attaches plaque to teeth so if you must indulge, wash your mouth afterwards. What you should include in your diet though is plenty of calcium, Vitamin B and C and proteins.
Besides a healthy diet, eat foods that require enough chewing. Teeth need exercise too! More importantly, chewing generates saliva, which restores calcium lost due to plaque.