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There are a lot of good, every day things you can do to not only reduce the risk of dental problems but also strengthen and protect your teeth.
Naturally, the most important habit to adopt is a regular schedule of dental check-ups. Most of us should visit the dentist every six months for a professional clean and a check to see if there are any problems the dentist can treat before they become real issues.
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By flossing your teeth before you brush, it helps to remove food and plaque trapped between your teeth and makes it easier for your toothbrush to remove any remaining particles. Put simply, flossing first gives you a better clean.
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Interdental brushes are like toothpicks with bristles on one end and are an alternative to floss. They are especially useful for ‘reaching’ under bridges where crowns or caps are joined together, or cleaning under braces where wires or brackets join the teeth and prevent access for floss. The bristles of the interdental brush will adapt to the shape between the teeth. Gently insert the brush between the teeth or crowns and guide them in and out of each tooth gap 5 or 6 times.
Although a toothpick is not a replacement or alternative to flossing, in a pinch, one can be used to dislodge food trapped between your teeth. When using a toothpick it is extremely important to be very gently to avoid puncturing or injuring the gum. Also, too much pressure could cause the toothpick to break and become trapped below the gum line, creating a different problem.
Your results can only ever be as good as your tools. If your toothbrush is worn or the bristles become frayed, it needs replacing. Ideally, a toothbrush should be replaced every three months or so. Make sure the head of your toothbrush isn’t left where it may gather germs or bacteria, always rinse it thoroughly after brushing to remove any bacteria-harbouring particles and always replace your manual toothbrush after an illness to avoid recycling the germs back into your system. Electric toothbrush heads can be different so consult the manufacturer’s instructions.
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We’ve known for years that dairy products, or other foods high in calcium, help develop stronger teeth and bones. That’s why it’s a good idea to eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin D, as this promotes the absorption of calcium into the body. But that’s only the beginning. Cheese also contains casin and whey protein, which helps keep tooth enamel strong by reducing the demineralisation that can weaken or ‘dissolve’ the protective surface.
We focus a lot on the teeth and gums, but the tongue just as important. Always brush or scrape your tongue – many toothbrushes come with a tongue scraper on the back of the head – to scrub away bacteria or other particles or compounds that can contribute to bad breath.
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