Follow these simple steps to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Brush twice daily, especially once before bedtime. Make sure that all the surfaces (outer, inner and chewing surface) of teeth and gum are cleaned for effective plaque removal.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and after brushing spit the toothpaste out. Avoid rinsing the paste from your mouth after brushing as this will wash the fluoride away from your teeth.
- Floss or use interdental brushes once daily to clean between your teeth.
- Avoid eating sugary, sticky and acidic foods and drinks in between meals.
- Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods.
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Your dentist can spot and stop any problems with your teeth and gums at the early stages.
There are many things a dentist can spot during a dental check-up such as weakening older fillings, early signs of gum (periodontal) disease, periodontal disease, gum recessions, tooth and root surface decay, and many other oral problems that can affect your general health. Early detection will help treat the problem at the early stages and stop it from becoming more severe. Dentists can also look for early signs of oral cancer and other diseases that affect your general health.
During a check-up dentists may also take x-rays that will help them see cavities between the teeth and under old fillings, bone loss under the gums, and infections at the end of the root, the dentist will also use x-rays to help assess the shape of the roots before root canal procedures. You can also get a professional clean done by your dentist or dental hygienist to remove calculus - the hardened, calcified plaque -that is hard to remove from the teeth by brushing and flossing alone.
For more information visit the Healthy Smiles website at www.nzda.org.nz