If you want optimal tooth health, then there’s a few basic things you need to do every day- and rinsing your mouth with water isn’t one of them.
If you ignore your oral health, do so at your own peril. While everything might seem ok, cavities may be slowly growing. Look after your teeth today to avoid dentist’s bills and discomfort in the future.
Luckily, basic oral health is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
- Brush morning and night
Brushing your teeth is essential to remove plaque. This is a mix of food particles and acids that attract bacteria. If this plaque is on your teeth for long periods, it can damage the outer layer of the tooth, weakening the enamel with tiny microscopic holes. Over time, the holes get larger and travel further into the tooth, causing pain and requiring fillings.
Brushing twice a day disrupts the process, stopping plaque formation and keeping your teeth clean and healthy. Ensure your toothbrush has soft bristles so you don’t damage your teeth and gums. If you struggle to effectively clean your teeth, consider an electric toothbrush.
When brushing, use proper technique. It takes about two minutes to clean the teeth properly. Use your brush in an up-and-down motion rather than sideways sawing, as this better removes food and also is less likely to damage the gums.
At night before bedtime, remember to floss. It removes the plaque and bacteria that get stuck between the teeth, stopping enamel damage. It’s essential to floss daily- and as a very wise dentist once said, you only need to floss the teeth you want to keep.
- Don’t rinse your mouth with water after brushing
Fluoride is the essential ingredient in toothpaste. This fluoride replaces minerals in your teeth that may have decreased over time. Once you’ve brushed, that fluoride continues to be active for up to 12 hours. This reduces tooth decay by a significant 25%. This is especially important at night, when your mouth produces less saliva and your teeth have less natural protection. So, if you rinse your mouth with water after brushing, you’re washing away the teeth-strengthening benefits.
What about mouthwash?
Unfortunately, mouthwash will also wash away that all-important fluoride. The same as rinsing with water, mouthwash takes away all the helpful benefits of the toothpaste and leaves your teeth open to damage overnight. While it does leave your mouth feeling minty fresh, it’s not helping your oral health. If you must, mouthwash before you brush.
What if your teeth are already damaged? Can you repair tooth decay?
Other than fillings that remove the decay to stop it spreading, there is no way to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay. Once the holes are there, the damaged can’t be reversed. This is why it is so important to have an excellent oral care routine.
If you have a toothache or see grey areas on your tooth, painkillers may help in the short term, but you need to visit your dentist for a cavity filling. But the best way to have great teeth is to look after them. Brush, floss and don’t rinse your teeth after brushing for beautiful, strong teeth.