Never Share A Toothbrush (and Other Top Dental Tips!)

Today’s blog takes a look at some common mistakes that we make when looking after our teeth

Anyone who has visited the dentist and hygienist at our Purley practice will know the general ‘rules’ about how to look after their teeth well.

Diligent brushing and flossing, along with hygienist and dentist visits and a tooth friendly diet should give you a very good chance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Although these are certainly the building blocks of good oral health, there are also a number of what might be considered more ‘minor’ factors which, especially when combined, can also make a significant contribution to keeping your teeth in good health.

Your toothpaste

There are a bewildering range of toothpastes now available, and this blog is not the right place to discuss each type in detail. For the purpose of today’s blog, it is sufficient to say that whatever toothpaste you use, you should make sure that it contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and helps to protect it against decay.

To maximise this protection, we need to look not only at improving how we brush, but also what to do after we have brushed. Many of us probably brush well and then spit, before finally rinsing our mouths out with water. The truth is that this final rinse removes a lot of the fluoride from your tooth surface. Try not to spit afterwards for a while and allow the toothpaste to remain on your teeth instead.

Mind when you brush

There can be a temptation to brush our teeth immediately after we have eaten. Although this may seem to be a natural thing to do, it is actually a mistake to do so. After we have eaten, or have drunk a sugary drink etc, the enamel on our teeth softens slightly before gradually remineralising. During this period, which lasts for approximately an hour or so, the enamel on our teeth is softer and brushing during this time is likely to be harmful to the enamel.

Instead of brushing straight away; after you have eaten, allow around an hour or so before doing so.

Don’t brush too hard

Some of us are probably brushing as we were told to do as youngsters. Especially if we still use a manual brush, this is likely to involve ‘scrubbing’ our teeth to keep them clean. Even with strong enamel, this is damaging and can cause erosion as well as gum recession. If this is combined with brushing them straight after a meal (see above), the damage is likely to be more extensive. If you aren’t sure how to brush your teeth correctly; rather than ‘google’ it, we recommend that you make an appointment to see the Confidental Clinic hygienist who will be able to offer guidance on how to improve your oral health regimen, including better brushing and flossing techniques.

Don’t share your toothbrush

Not only will sharing your toothbrush with other members of your family wear it out much faster, but it is also a likely way to spread infection between family members. Make sure to make your toothbrush your own and never share with others, however close you are. If there are several members of the family especially, try to buy different coloured toothbrushes so that it is easy to distinguish which one is your own.

Even if you do keep your toothbrush for yourself alone, it can still be a tool for spreading infections if you have had the flu or other viral or bacterial infection. Brushing your teeth when you have the flu means that when you brush again, following your recovery, you may well become reinfected via your toothbrush. We would advise you to dispose of your toothbrush, or the head of your electric brush, when you have had the flu etc, and replace it with a new one to avoid reinfection.

Toothbrush storage

Especially if your toilet is in the same room as where you brush your teeth, you need to be extra vigilant over where you store the brush. Leaving it exposed and close to the toilet means that every time someone flushes it, some bacteria (and other matter!) are likely to be airborne briefly and may well land on your toothbrush. We don’t really need to go into any more detail, as we are sure you will appreciate. Suffice to say that if you do store your brush close to the toilet, you should move it a safe distance away.

These additional ‘top ups’ as to how you look after your oral health could make all the difference. They are easy to apply, and, combined with regular checkups at our Purley dental practice, will help to keep both teeth and gums in great shape.

Appointments to see one of the dentists at the Confidental Clinic can be made by calling us on 020 8660 8923.