According to the Oral Health Foundation, at least one in three adults in the UK has some form of tooth decay, while one in four do not brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. While regular dental checkups are also important, taking care of our teeth starts at home. Exclusively with Express.co.uk, Bupa Dental Care’s dentist – Silviu Cartas – spoke to some of his top tips for maintaining strong and healthy teeth – including things to avoid.
He specifically advised against rinsing the mouth after brushing with both water and mouthwash.
Cartas said: “People tend to rinse their mouths after brushing.
“However, this causes the removal of fluoride from the teeth, meaning it does not benefit the teeth by strengthening the minerals in the enamel.
“That’s why you should spit, don’t rinse and don’t use mouthwash after brushing, because mouthwash contains less fluoride than toothpaste.
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“A more helpful habit is to use these fluoride rinses another time during the day or follow your dentist’s or hygienist’s instructions.”
He further explained: “Toothpaste has active ingredients that take time to release/adhere to the teeth.
Rinsing after brushing removes these ingredients and their benefits.
“Antibacterial/anti-cavity toothpaste deposits an adhesive polymer on the tooth (a protective shield); rinsing immediately after brushing thins it and eventually removes it.
You may have heard your dentist say, “Floss only between the teeth you want to keep,” to remind you of the importance of flossing. Interdental cleaning, as it is also called, and regular brushing should always complement each other, although most patients only focus on brushing.
Using these techniques together will ensure that you cover more of the surface of your teeth, reducing the long-lasting effect of the acids on hidden surfaces.
Storing the toothbrush
Keep your toothbrush holder away from the toilet and sink. Did you know that flushing the toilet can create an aerosol effect, spraying germs through the air?
Closing the toilet lid can help, but keeping toothbrushes as far away from the toilet as possible can reduce the amount of bacteria that land on them.
In addition, studies have shown that toothbrushes kept in the bathroom have traces of stool.
A healthy, balanced diet can help reduce the harmful effects of the acids that come into contact with your teeth – most people don’t know how certain foods can neutralize the acids in your mouth.
Changing your toothbrush
If you don’t change your toothbrush regularly, brushing your teeth will be less efficient and harmful bacteria will develop again.
Not everyone knows how often to replace their toothbrush and not sure how to tell when their toothbrush needs to be replaced.
Check the wear of your bristles and replace them regularly. The advice is every three to four months for electric toothbrushes, but this can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
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