It’s one of the first things we learn from the moment we have teeth; brushing and flossing is essential. However, a recent study from the AIHW showed that around 20% of adults have experienced toothache in the last 12 months and around 1 in 4 adults rated their oral health as fair or poor. So what are we missing?
This Dental Health Week, we’re taking you through the benefits of brushing, the basics of oral health and how to keep your whole mouth healthy.
Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
We know this seems obvious, but it’s easy to get lazy with brushing your teeth.
It’s important to brush your teeth twice a day which you may know, however, did you know that brushing for two minutes gets the best results? Research has shown brushing for one minute removes 27% of dental plaque, whereas two minutes of brushing around 42% of dental plaque has been removed.
Using a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is ideal for adults and kids, with only a smear required for infants and toddlers. Fluoride is essential for maintaining strong enamel and to help prevent tooth decay. This is especially true for children as fluoride helps to remineralize the surface of the tooth after they erupt, making them stronger and more resistant to acid decay.
Other notes on brushing
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles; brushing too hard can damage the surface of the tooth not to mention wearing your toothbrush out faster
- Brushing your teeth should be the last thing you do before you go to bed. Fluoride has a topical benefit by staying on the surface of your teeth, so eating or drinking after you brush reduces the effectiveness.
Floss floss floss
Flossing is often viewed as an ‘optional’ or ‘sometimes’ part of the dental hygiene routine, however, cleaning between your teeth (interdental cleaning) is just as important as your daily tooth brushing. However, research shows that 3 out of 4 Australian adults don’t floss regularly.
The good news is, there are great products on the market that can help making flossing easier. Water flossers, whilst generally not as effective as traditional dental floss, still help to remove food from between your teeth. Being easier to use, you’ll be inclined to pick up the water flosser more regularly which is better than nothing at all! Small brushes and ‘Flossettes’, small pics with a piece of floss across them, are also effective ways to remove food and plaque.
Other notes on flossing
- Floss before you brush; it’ll help break down other plaque in your mouth
- Your gums may bleed if it’s been a while since you’ve flossed but that’s ok; keep at it and it will improve over time. If it doesn’t, our professional team can help.
- Get kids used to flossing by doing it for them with a Flossette. Embedding it into their daily routine early is ideal.
Visit for regular check ups
Don’t worry if you’ve left it a little while between visits; heading to the dentist to get a check up is essential. The good news is, over half of all Australians aged 15 and over have seen a dentist in the last 12 months. Ideally, it’s best to get a checkup every 6 months to ensure any dental hygiene issues don’t become a bigger problem.
If you’ve been putting off a checkup at the dentist because it makes you feel anxious, you’re certainly not alone. We understand your fears and our friendly team take the time to make sure our approach makes you feel at ease.
For more on how we can help your smile, visit our website and book an appointment.