Oral hygiene is incredibly important. Over the course of the day, as we eat and drink, tiny particles of food will become stuck in our teeth and between the gaps in our teeth. If these particles are not cleaned, they will begin to rot and decay, leading to bad breath, and then to bacteria in the mouth. This can lead to a build-up of plaque, a sticky substance that coats the outside surfaces of teeth, and eventually tartar, which discolours the teeth. The ultimate consequences of bad oral hygiene are gum disease and tooth decay, which are unsightly, painful and can lead to tooth loss, affecting speech function and the ability to eat as normal.
Brushing and mouthwash
Brushing your teeth regularly is essential. Fluoride toothpaste should be used, as fluoride helps to strengthen teeth by binding with the enamel. Brush thoroughly, being sure to cover all tooth surfaces – front, back and the biting/chewing surface – but do not brush too vigorously as this can damage sensitive parts of the mouth. In addition, use an antiseptic mouthwash. As this liquid is swilled round the whole mouth, it works in addition to tooth brushing, to reach parts that a brush cannot. Mouthwash like this helps to remove the bacteria that cause plaque.
Flossing also helps to remove debris and bacteria that can ultimately lead to plaque or tooth decay. Flossing is important in addition to brushing, as it cleans the gaps between teeth, where a brush cannot reach, and so food is liable to get stuck here. Use a length of floss held between fingers of each hand, and gently curve it around each tooth, moving it from side to side to clean, down to the gumline. Be sure to cover both sides of each tooth, top and bottom. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash should be used daily, preferably in that order, to ensure your teeth are kept as healthy as possible.
The food we enjoy feeds all of our body, including our teeth and gums. Our oral and overall health is determined by the type of foods we choose to eat. At Clifton Dental Studio, we often get asked about the best type of diet for healthy teeth.
We are all made different, some with health conditions or faster metabolisms than others. Our health status and food tolerances or allergies may impact the kind of foods we eat. Therefore, we suggest some general markers as dietary options for healthy teeth.
Avoid foods high in sugar and acid
Foods with high sugar and acid content, such as fizzy drinks and certain sweets, may cause the saliva in the mouth to become acidic, eroding tooth enamel. As the structure of the tooth erodes, cavities form and the tooth may become weaker and more susceptible to fractures. The sugar and acid may trigger bacterial colonisation in the mouth that leads to tooth infections and possible gum disease. By avoiding high sugary and acidic foods, tooth decay and gum disease is less likely to develop.
Eat balanced and versatile meals
To get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need for healthy function, we need to eat a balanced and versatile diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Processed foods are more likely to contain ingredients that may in the long run be harmful to health. Eating fresh foods keeps all of the body strong, including our teeth and gums. Drinking enough water hydrates the skin, lips and gums. Eat softer foods as needed, like with dentures.
Get enough calcium
Our need calcium for healthy density and strength. Calcium-containing foods, such as dairy products, keep teeth strong and less vulnerable to breaks. For a hygiene appointment with us why not contact us today at Clifton Dental Studio in the city of Bristol.
Clifton Dental Studio offers a comprehensive range of general dental services in addition to preventative treatments, including hygienist services. We are proud to promote healthy, happy smiles and we try to encourage our clients, young and old, to live by the motto ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Our amazing hygienists
We are fortunate to have excellent dental hygienists in our team and they provide a range of highly beneficial treatments for patients of all ages. Seeing a hygienist is incredibly important for patients with existing oral health issues, such as gum disease, but it can also really benefit those who have good oral health.
For younger patients in Bristol and beyond, we offer preventative services, such as fluoride varnish and fissure sealant treatment. Fluoride is applied to the teeth to strengthen the enamel and reduce the risk of cavities, while fissure sealant treatment provides a protective barrier to prevent food debris and bacteria getting lodged in the tiny pits on the tooth surface. Both of these treatments are completely painless and they only take a few minutes.
For adult patients, we offer intensive, highly effective cleaning treatments, bad breath clinics and treatment for gum disease. We are also on hand to offer advice about oral hygiene at home, giving up smoking and healthy eating.
Our hygienists work alongside our dentists to provide the best standards of care for patients with gum disease and we do everything we can to ease symptoms and halt the progress of the condition as quickly as possible.
How often should I see a hygienist?
If you have existing oral health issues, for example gum disease or halitosis, it is advisable to see a hygienist on a regular basis and your dentist will recommend frequent sessions. If you have good oral health, seeing a hygienist can still be advantageous and we generally recommend an annual hygiene session.
Employ proper tongue cleaning techniques to instantly freshen breath
Morning breath is only ever acceptable in the morning, in that space of time between waking up and heading to the bathroom to brush your teeth. But every day, a reported 45 percent of people in the world suffer from chronic bad breath, or halitosis.
Halitosis is caused by a combination of certain foods, dry mouth and bacteria found in the mouth. Most halitosis is a result of bacteria found in the mouth. The best way to treat bacteria-caused halitosis is with thorough cleaning of the entire mouth.
A variety of products exist to help keep halitosis under control, including mouth wash, chewing gum, breath mints and toothpaste. Utilising these tools and incorporating another tool, the tongue scraper, is a proven method for eliminating halitosis.
If you suffer from halitosis, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, dentists suggest. In addition, brushing your tongue will help with halitosis. You can do this with your toothbrush or with a tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers can be purchased individually or they can be found on the undersides of some toothbrushes.
Thorough and regular flossing will also help prevent halitosis as this will remove lodged food that has been wedged between your teeth. Mouthwashes with low alcohol content that contain chlorine dioxide are also effective at eliminating halitosis, as is paying a visit to your dental hygienist frequently.
Tongue cleaning is a proven method for eliminating and preventing halitosis as it directly removes bacteria from the mouth. When cleaning your tongue, you should clean as far back on your tongue as you can. Be advised, this may make you gag the first few times you do it, but over time, your gag reflex will lessen.
As discussed, you can purchase a tongue scraper to aid in removing bacteria from your tongue. A tongue scraper is a plastic strip that can be fashioned to form a loop. You place the loop on your tongue and pull gently, scraping it across the surface of your tongue until the scraper comes off. It will bring any bacteria present on your tongue with it. Repeat this step until you have removed all the bacteria you can. Finish the process by thoroughly rinsing your mouth with mouthwash.
If you noticed a cut bleeding on your arm, you’d probably do something to stop it immediately. However, many people ignore bleeding gums and this is why gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in British adults. The reality is that gum disease is preventable, and all you have to do is spend a few minutes each day giving your teeth and gums a bit of TLC to battle bleeding gums and prevent early tooth loss.
About gum disease
Gum disease is a very common oral disease, which is usually caused by plaque. Plaque is the sticky film made when food debris combines with saliva and bacteria. Plaque irritates the gums and when you eat, the acids released by bacteria also erode the enamel, increasing the risk of sensitivity and decay.
Thankfully, there is a very easy way to prevent plaque from forming and this involves devoting just five minutes of your day to your teeth and gums. Brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day helps to remove bacteria and food deposits from the mouth before plaque can develop, as well as ensuring your teeth look sparkly and clean.
Spotting the signs of gum disease
The most noticeable symptom of gum disease is bleeding when you brush, but you may also notice that your gums feel swollen and sore and they may also look redder.
If you notice the warning signs of gum disease, contact us so that you can see your dentist as quickly as possible.
Often, it will turn out to be nothing, but if you do have gum disease, seeing a dentist early ensures that it can be treated as early as possible. Gingivitis, the mild form of gum disease, is much easier to treat than periodontal disease, the advanced form of gum disease.
A general oral hygiene routine is said to involve brushing, flossing and using mouthwash, however, to really ensure that your mouth is completely clean you may want to incorporate tongue cleansing into your regime.
Why clean my tongue?
The majority of bacteria in your mouth is found towards the back of the tongue, which means that even when you have brushed and flossed every inch of your teeth bacteria can soon return, making its way from your tongue.
How does a tongue scraper work?
A tongue scraper is a simple device, made up hard plastic, which you run across the surface of the tongue. The scraper then pulls away the debris and harmful dental film that rests across the tongue. Doing this every morning and especially in the evening will help prevent bacteria from the tongue from tainting the rest of your mouth.
You can also use special brushes or just a general toothbrush (kept separately from the toothbrush you use on your teeth) to brush away the harmful bacterial film.
Tongue scraping is also a great idea if you wish to keep you breath smelling fresh, as the bacteria on your tongue is the main cause of bad breath.
What else should I do to keep my mouth fresh and clean?
Another underrated dental hygiene habit is flossing. Flossing removes the debris and plaque that has settled between the teeth, which brushing alone is unable to reach. If this debris is left to settle it can lead to numerous oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.
If is therefore important to do more than just brush your teeth, in order to keep a fresh and healthy mouth.
Most people rinse their mouth out with water or mouthwash, or both, after they’ve finished brushing their teeth and spat out the toothpaste. But should you? There are now a large number of people, including a lot of dentists, who believe rinsing the mouth after brushing shouldn’t be done and needs to be expelled as a natural routine of dental hygiene.
To rinse or not to rinse
It’s something that is simply accepted by many people, that you rinse after brushing. But when you sit down and think about it, it makes sense not to. Spitting out the toothpaste once you’re done brushing and leaving the residue on the teeth not only keeps your mouth fresh but means the fluoride in your toothpaste continues to work after you’ve finished brushing and this is exactly what many dentists are now saying.
Many companies that make and sell toothpaste are also preaching the same message. Colgate has stated that leaving fluoride on the teeth can allow the toothpaste to continue to work up until your next meal.
Are there other views?
If you were to follow up reading this article with a look into other people’s views on the internet you would discover an ongoing debate between those who believe in rinsing and those who don’t. Despite many dentists advising to not rinse, a large number of people still stick by the idea of rinsing. This can be true for some toothpaste with very high fluoride concentrations, such as whiteners and smokers’ toothpaste, or toothpastes with other added chemicals which could damage teeth if there is prolonged contact.
It should be stressed however that these toothpastes are not common orthodox toothpastes and are usually prescribed or specialised types.
Many people may assume that visiting a hygienist is only necessary when you have gum disease, but this is not the case. A visit to the hygienist can be hugely beneficial for all patients, even those with excellent oral health. Now, you can book appointments with a dental hygienist directly so there’s no need to go through a dentist first.
Why should I consider seeing a dental hygienist?
Dental hygienists have advanced training in providing dental hygiene services, including scale and polish, fresh breath clinics and preventative dental treatments and seeing a hygienist on a regular basis can help to cut your risk of developing decay and gum disease. Hygiene sessions can also give your teeth a healthy radiance and boost whiteness by removing surface stains.
What is a scale and polish?
Scaling is a process used to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and the gum line. Your dental hygienist will use specially designed instruments to remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth and then polish them, giving them a lovely brightness and a smooth finish.
Cleaning treatments provided by dental hygienists are much more powerful and effective than brushing at home and you will really notice the difference after your session. Surface stains will be banished, leaving your smile looking much brighter and more attractive and your teeth will feel lovely and smooth; your chances of developing oral diseases will also be significantly lower.
Is a scale and polish painful?
The procedure is not painful, although it may feel a little odd at first when your hygienist starts to remove the plaque from the teeth. There is no recovery time required and you won’t feel any pain when you get home.
If you’re interested in hygiene treatments or you would like to book an appointment with one of our excellent dental hygienists, call the clinic today!
Most people are aware of the importance of cleaning their teeth, but have you ever spent time cleaning your tongue? Your tongue harbours thousands of bacteria and cleaning it on a regular basis helps to reduce the risk of decay and gum disease, as well as ensuring that your breath is fresh and clean.
Why is it important to clean the tongue?
Bacteria tend to gather around the tongue (especially at the back) and brushing your teeth alone is not sufficient to get rid of the bacteria and plaque in your mouth. Rinsing with mouthwash can be beneficial but you should also spend a couple of minutes cleaning your tongue. We recommend using a flexible plastic device used to scrape bacteria off the tongue.
Around 80 percent of cases of bad breath are linked to bacteria on the tongue and these bacteria can spread to other parts of the mouth, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease. Using a tongue cleaner removes bacteria from the tongue, eliminating bad breath, a problem that can be embarrassing, and helps you to enjoy good oral health.
Smoking and Your Tongue
Some smokers find that they develop a thick film over their tongue as a result of smoking. Using a tongue cleaner can remove this film, improving the odour of the breath and helping to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Advice about oral hygiene
If you need any advice about oral hygiene we are always on hand to give tips about brushing, flossing and rinsing, provide information about healthy eating and help with giving up smoking. We can also recommend oral hygiene products at Clifton Dental Studio in Bristol.
This winter, we’re determined to get rid of gum disease for good and we’re encouraging all our patients to keep up to date with regular check-ups and take steps at home to reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease that causes irreversible damage to the gums and affects the stability of the teeth. Periodontal disease affects the bone tissue, which holds the teeth in place, eventually causing them to come loose. Periodontal disease usually develops when gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, is left untreated.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by harmful bacteria that release plaque acids that irritate the gums and result in them becoming sore, swollen and tender. Plaque acids are released by bacteria, which gather in the mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene. The risk of gum disease is also increased by smoking. Diet can also increase the risk of developing gum disease and we strongly recommend a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks on a regular basis.
Preventing gum disease
Good oral hygiene is the best form of defence against harmful bacteria and we recommend brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time, flossing and using inter-dental brushes. We also advise patients to stick to regular 6 monthly check-ups and to be vigilant for the warning signs of gum disease. Symptoms to look out for include inflammation, soreness and redness in the gums and bleeding gums. Advanced symptoms include an unpleasant taste in the mouth, loose teeth and the development of pockets between the teeth and gums. We also encourage our patients to keep an eye on their sugar intake.
If you notice any signs of gum disease, it’s really important to see your dentist as early as you can. Leaving gum disease untreated increases the risk of it becoming more serious and causing permanent damage to your teeth and gums.