Home Health & Wellness Beyond Brushing: Experts Explain Why and How Protect Your Dental Hygiene Is Essential

Beyond Brushing: Experts Explain Why and How Protect Your Dental Hygiene Is Essential

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Taking care of your oral health is essential for many reasons. Poor oral health can lead to a variety of problems, including cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and even tooth loss. These issues can be painful, costly to treat, and harm your overall health. With a staggering 7.7 million people on NHS waiting lists and many households across the UK struggling to register at a dentist, now is the time to up your preventative health game.

So, the preventative health experts at Westfield Health have shared their advice on looking after your teeth and gums to maintain a healthy mouth.

Brush your teeth twice a day – no skipping

Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do to maintain good oral health. Brushing stops the buildup of plaque, a film of bacteria that coats your teeth when not appropriately brushed, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay if not properly removed.

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time. You can use either a manual or electric toothbrush; they’re equally good if you clean all the surfaces of your teeth and use fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you brush all surfaces of your teeth, including the front, back and chewing surfaces.

Daily floss is your best friend

In the UK, less than 25% of adults floss regularly, and 1 in 3 people have never used dental floss before! Flossing is just as important as brushing, yet it’s often overlooked. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles between your teeth and under your gums. You should floss at least once a day, preferably before bed.

Tips for an effective floss

  • Use enough floss. Cut about 18 inches of floss and wind it around your fingers, leaving approximately two inches for use.
  • Be gentle. Guide the floss between your teeth gently back and forth, avoiding forceful pushing into the gums.
  • Curve the floss. Curve it around the base of each tooth, ensuring it reaches beneath the gum line.
  • Use a fresh section. Switch to a new section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth to prevent bacterial spread.

Eat your way to healthy teeth

Your diet plays a significant role in your oral health. Foods high in sugar and starch can contribute to cavities, whereas whole foods high in calcium can help strengthen your teeth. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

You should also make sure you drink enough water. Drinking water helps flush away bacteria and food particles in your mouth. It also helps keep your mouth hydrated, which is essential for maintaining healthy gums. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially after meals, to wash away any leftover food.

Visit the dentist as regularly as possible

Dentists help to prevent problems as well as solve them. They can spot issues, including the onset of gum disease and dental decay, that can be treated quickly if spotted early enough, so keeping your annual appointments up-to-date is essential.

People with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 12 to 24 months, as advised by the NHS. If your dentist recommends you visit more often, follow their advice. Dentists pick up early signs of problems, avoiding more significant issues in the long run.

What to do if you can’t afford or find a dentist

Are you struggling to find a local NHS dentist with availability? Or finding that going to the dentist is too costly? Then, a health cash plan could be your solution to a simpler dental life. With this, you can claim back money towards various healthcare treatments, including dental cover. This means you could begin a search for private dental practices that are better suited to your location and availability.

Without a health cash plan, dental treatment can be expensive and cause people to avoid the necessary care due to costs. Make your healthcare a priority by investing in your health, giving you peace of mind that when something comes up, you’re covered.

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