10 Things Your Dentist Wishes You Knew

STELLAR Promotion: Drs Lisa and Vanessa Creaven of Spotlight Whitening spill all.

Teeth. When it comes to self care they often fall way down on the to-do list. Sure you brush them morning and night, and if you’re a type A kinda person you might even floss, but, being honest, how much do you really look after them beyond the bare minimum?

Truth is, teeth are pretty important, not just for aesthetic reasons but for your overall oral hygiene too. We spoke to Drs Lisa and Vanessa Creaven, founders of the Irish-owned oral care and teeth whitening brand Spotlight, to get the lowdown on what your dentist wishes you knew.

Brush your teeth twice a day for three minutes at a time

Brushing is the only effective way to reduce plaque build-up and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. We recommend brushing for three minutes, even if your teeth feel clean after one! You also need to replace your toothbrush every three months.

Don’t forget to brush your tongue

Bacteria loves to grow and build up here and it is the number one cause of bad breath. Mouthwash and mints will help mask this of course, but if bacteria is alive on the tongue it needs to go to avoid tooth decay!

Flossing is not a myth – promise!

Flossing is something that some of our patients think is a bit of a myth but in fact it’s one of the key things that makes a difference. Brushing your teeth is only half the battle to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Flossing once a day is a great way to remove plaque in those hard to reach places. We would say flossing is more important than mouthwash!

Avoid sugary foods and drinks (fruit included)

Foods labelled ‘low calorie’, which may appear healthy are often loaded with sugar. We all love our treats every now and again but just be sure to pay particular attention to brushing after consuming sugary things to stop a sugar attack on the teeth. Fruit is also full of sugar so beware! Consuming large amounts of these foods can lead to tooth decay or erosion which exposes your teeth to sensitivity.

Know what’s in your oral care products

Look for products that contain fluoride and casein phosphopeptide as they reduce plaque build-up, strengthen your enamel, help make teeth more resistant to acid attacks, and prevent tooth decay. Mouthwash is a great way to fight bad breath but be sure it doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol is a drying agent and will reduce or eliminate saliva, which we need to keep our mouths fresh and flush away any bad bacteria. The most effective time to use mouthwash is during the day and not directly after brushing your teeth!

Avoid staining your teeth

Dark coloured liquids such as tea, coffee, and red wine contain tannins which leave stains on your teeth. If possible, drink these through a straw (an environmental friendly one, of course) and if all else fails, you could always invest in our Teeth White Pen – it’s very easy to use, actively dissolves stains, and is a staple in our handbags.

Be wary of whitening fads

Have you ever heard of a dentist recommending charcoal or baking soda to whiten your teeth? No, of course not! Try avoid using anything gritty that sticks to your teeth like baking soda or charcoal – yes, they can remove stains, but these are abrasive, meaning that they act like sandpaper and damage the tooth’s enamel in the process.

Dry mouth = danger zone

Keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least two litres of water a day to produce saliva and avoid your mouth becoming dry. Saliva acts as your mouth’s antiseptic and helps to prevent decay. Without it, excess food particles and bacteria will not be washed away leaving you with bad breath and your teeth will become more prone to decay.

Avoid smoking

Not only does smoking give you yellow teeth and make a person more prone to gum disease and inflammation, it’s also the number one cause of oral cancer. If you’re a smoker it can be hard to give up, but if you are looking to improve your oral health then it’s best to kick the habit. Speak with your dentist and he/she will provide you with plenty advice and support. Smoking is more harmful to teeth than not brushing at all!

Regular check-ups

You should visit your dentist for a dental exam at least every six months. Dental check-ups are just as important as any other health care check-ups and screenings. Remember if you are an anxious patient, don’t let this stand in your way of visiting your dentist, as they are here to help you not hurt you! Many dental issues are treatable and can be avoided if they are caught at an early stage. Dentists can identify problems quickly and prevent them from becoming more serious too – so book your check-up today.

Spotlight Whitening is a range of oral care and teeth whitening products including whitening strips, a pen, toothpaste, male strips and a kid’s toothpaste (with all proceeds going to ISPCC Childline). For more information or to purchase, head to spotlightwhitening.com

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