All of us have been told at some point at school, by our parents or by the dentist that it is very important to brush your teeth. Most dental experts encourage us to brush them twice a day for two minutes each time but why is this so important and does it really help our teeth?
When we eat foods, consume beverages or smoke, our mouth and teeth come into contact with an array of different chemicals, bacteria and sugars. These can all damage teeth and lead to dental problems if not removed by brushing. Teeth are naturally covered in a transparent layer of bacteria called plaque. When sugar comes into contact with plaque, the plaque secretes an acid that gradually wears down teeth which leads to cavities forming. In order to get rid of this layer of plaque and remove the sugars, it is necessary to brush your teeth with a good brand of toothpaste.
For smokers, the amount of chemicals, tar and poisons in tobacco smoke can stain teeth, cause bad breath and lead to oral (as well as many other types of) cancer. For smokers it is a good idea to brush your teeth regularly to combat bad breath and also remove some of the harmful chemicals smoking leaves in the mouth. It is also recommended that smokers use special whitening toothpaste as it greatly helps to tackle staining and discoloration of teeth caused by smoking.
Aside from brushing your teeth, it is also important to floss regularly. Flossing gets plaque out from in between teeth which is where it can often lie unnoticed. Many dental flosses contain chemicals that help destroy plaque and help prevent cavities.
For some people using a mouthwash as part of your daily routine can also be of great benefit. Around 10% of people build up tartar quickly. Tartar is essentially plaque that has hardened, it is more difficult to remove and can lead to cavities forming and gum disease. Using mouthwash containing fluoride and also using fluoride toothpaste can help fend of tartar build up. It is also important for people who build up tartar quickly to regularly visit their dentist. The dentist will be able to remove tartar and give the teeth a good clean.
Cosmetic dentists often recommend specialist toothpastes to people depending on their circumstances. There is a great array of toothpastes available on the market such as whitening, sensitive and smoker’s toothpaste. For people with sensitive teeth – whitening specialist sensitive toothpastes should be used. Brands such as ‘Sensodyne’ or ‘Colgate Sensitive’ can really help patients with sensitive teeth. These toothpastes work by blocking the channels to the nerves from reacting when the tooth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
It is most important to visit your dentist regularly as well as brushing your teeth correctly. Make sure you have a check-up at least once a year.
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