Stock up on everything needed to keep your teeth clean and healthy
This includes enough toothpaste in the house so that everybody can brush their teeth at least twice a day and a good quality toothbrush, as well as mouthwash and interdental cleaners. Be sure to change the toothbrush when it becomes worn and soft as this won’t be as effective, and it is amazing how much better a new toothbrush feels. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to change your toothbrush every 3 months.
In regards to mouthwashes, they can improve your dental health but they should not be used after brushing. This is a common mistake, once you have brushed your teeth it’s important to spit out the excess toothpaste and NOT rinse, rinsing straight after brushing reduces the effect of the fluoride in the toothpaste and prevents it from doing its job. Using a mouthwash in the middle of the day, when it might be difficult to brush, is always a good idea.
It’s also important to clean between the teeth with either floss or other interdental cleaners.
Examine your diet and try to reduce your sugar consumption
As with your general health, sugar is bad for your dental health. With regards to dental health it is not only the amount of sugar but also the frequency with which it is consumed. Most people reach for a healthy snack throughout the day, such as a cereal bar or “fruit” snack but don’t realise these types of treats sometimes contain huge amounts of sugar, so always be sure to check the label before consuming as they can be terrible for your teeth
Try out a new and more effective brushing technique
There are four important things to remember about brushing your teeth in order to be most effective:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste with at least 1350 parts per million or at least 1000 parts per million for those aged younger than three.
- Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste but just a smear on the brush for the under threes.
- Brush for two minutes. Although this doesn’t seem like a long time, it can seem longer when you’re brushing your teeth, so having a timer helps and there are apps which will help you and many electric toothbrushes have built in timers too. Brushing for two minutes ensures you’re reaching all surfaces of the teeth.
- Brush at least twice a day, and definitely last thing at night, being sure to spit out excess toothpaste and not rinse!
Call your dentist to schedule your next appointment.
Access to NHS dental services has improved substantially over the last 10 years and all children can be seen for free under the NHS, although many people still believe this is difficult. It can still be a problem in a few areas but last year over 95 per cent of people who tried to make an appointment for NHS care were successful.
Advice to parents looking to take their child to the dentist would be, if you are nervous yourself, try not to show your children, or even get somebody else to take them. Children pick up habits very quickly from their parents but a visit to the dentist is nowadays a far less worrying experience than it used to be.
Teach your children how to brush their teeth properly
You should brush your child's teeth as soon as they start to appear; this can be as early as six months and you can get small toothbrushes especially for toddlers.
Good habits developed early will last your child a lifetime, so you should help your children with brushing until they can do it well themselves. It can be a great idea to brush together with your children so they see it as something routine and normal.