Dental professionals despair every time patients come in with a gum problem or are at risk of decay simply because they did not follow prior advice given. Then you wonder why halitosis just won’t leave you alone, or why you have a cavity the size of Cirencester or Stow-on-the-Wold.
Despite the increase in sales of oral hygiene products in the UK, this does not directly translate to clean teeth and mouths. It is one thing to buy a product; it is another to actually use it.
You know that brushing at least twice a day is the standard recommendation of dental professionals to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. In theory, removing all the plaque in the mouth by brushing will protect it for good. In reality, however, most people can’t get rid of the build-up entirely — not even the dentist.
DIY Whitening and Braces
DIY products are becoming popular in the UK for all the wrong reasons. Any Victoria orthodontist will tell you that, by law, only qualified professionals are allowed to carry out tooth whitening and orthodontic treatments.
Do any of these special procedures and you could end up with a worse problem than before.
It does not matter if you use a manual or electric toothbrush, what matters is you are reaching the right surfaces, which is ideally just under the gums. A few incidents of bleeding while brushing can be ignored, as this often means you are getting to the right place with the bristles. If you are terribly concerned with the type of brush, choose a soft one as this reaches the teeth’s nooks and crannies better.
Your favourite brand of mouthwash is okay only as an adjunct to brushing and flossing, not as an alternative.
Fluoride mouthwashes are ideal for protecting the mouth against decay, and chlorhexidine ones are useful for patients with severe gum diseases, but only if these are recommended by the dentist. Sugar-free gum can eliminate plaque acids and protect against decay, but these aren’t recommended for long term use. It’s still best to minimise your sugar intake.
Scraping the Tongue
Either sold as a separate product or comes at the back of many toothbrushes, the idea behind tongue-scrapers is that these remove the bacteria and other build-up on the tongue to prevent halitosis. Its effectiveness has not been definitively proven — bad breath still depends on a number of factors, not just the bacteria on the surface of the tongue.
More than products, a visit to your dentist or a dental hygienist regularly should be part of your oral hygiene care routine.