You’re never too young or too old to improve your dental health. And poor dental hygiene doesn’t just lead to problems with your teeth and gums; it can affect your self-confidence and even stop you from smiling.
In addition, poor dental health is often associated with serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and stroke.
Despite this, the state of our nation’s teeth is getting worse through improper maintenance and lack of care.
Terrifying Tooth Facts
For example, did you know that:
- One in four adults don’t brush twice a day
- Brushing only once a day means you’re 33% more likely to develop tooth decay
- One in ten people admit they regularly forget to brush their teeth
- 42% of adults use just a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth
- Less than 1/4 of adults use dental floss or interdental brushes regularly
- Only 31% of adults use mouthwash
With these poor dental hygiene stats, it's therefore unsurprising that:
- Four-fifths of the population has at least one filling, and on average each adult has seven fillings!
- 31% of adults have tooth decay and 74% of adults have had a tooth extracted
- 48% of the population is unhappy with their teeth, with discoloured teeth being the main reason for concern (64%)
- Only 9% of men and 11% of women have oral health that is rated as excellent
- 1/3 of all children starting school show signs of tooth decay, and tooth extractions are the biggest reason why children are admitted to hospital for a general anaesthetic
- 40% of children do not visit the dentist each year!
[Source: Oral Health Foundation, 2018]
So, what can you do to prevent poor dental health?
Small changes can help look after our dental and overall health.
We'd advise parents supervising toothbrushing until their child is at least seven years old, and checking they are still brushing properly every now and then. Even teenagers may need reminding, especially as they often like sugary drinks, sweets and alcohol, which can cause cavities.
We have created a useful guide that shares tips for good dental health. Armed with helpful and easy-to-implement tips for you and your family, simply click the link below to download.
So, here are our six simple steps that can be followed by all ages to help improve your and your family’s dental health:
Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day. Tilt your brush at a 45° angle and use gentle, circular strokes, paying extra attention to the gum line and hard-to-reach back teeth. We generally recommend a medium bristled brush with a small head; many people find an electric toothbrush effective and convenient.
In addition, your toothpaste should contain at least 1450 ppm fluoride as this helps protect teeth from cavities and makes teeth stronger.And you must spit the toothpaste out, rather than rinsing it, to avoid washing it away.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria and sugar that sticks to the surfaces of your teeth and gums. Plaque bacteria can build up, causing dental decay, calculus (tartar) formation and gum (periodontal) disease.
You cannot remove it with washing or rinsing, but it can be removed with brushing and flossing. Use dental floss or small interdental brushes to clean in between your teeth to the gumline.
Click here to watch one of our hygienists, Gill, show how best to clean your teeth.
Use a mouthwash containing fluoride to keep your breath fresh and help prevent tooth decay. But don’t use it straight after brushing your teeth, or it will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth. Choose a different time to use a fluoride mouthwash, such as after lunch, to ensure you get most benefit.
Whether you use the rubber brush on the back of your toothbrush head or invest in a professional tongue cleaner, removing the bacteria that builds up on your tongue will reduce bad breath and boost your overall dental health.
Remember to eat a good varied diet with plenty of calcium as it’s essential for building healthy, strong teeth. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, broccoli, soya, nuts and bread made with fortified flour are all great sources.
It's also important to remember that Sugar has been identified as a major factor in dental decay, so we advise reducing sugary food and drinks to meal times only. And remember that sugar occurs naturally in fruit and fruit juice too!
Make time for your dental check-ups, as often as advised by your dentist; you may also be recommended to see a hygienist regularly. At Elmsleigh House our team of hygienists, Ellen, Gill and Adrienne, work closely with you to monitor the health of your mouth and deep clean your teeth.
This helps to prevent and treat gum disease, and they'll show you how to maintain good dental hygiene at home by giving advice on practical skills, such as teeth cleaning and flossing.
For more information on how to improve dental hygiene for your family, download our free dental care guide >>
If you need to book a dental hygiene appointment, or wish to discuss any aspects of your family's dental health, please contact the Welcome Team on 01252 713797 or request an appointment online.