Oral Hygiene & Dietary Advice

the foods and habits that keep your smile healthy

Oral Hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth clean by removing the harmful bacteria, or plaque, that causes dental diseases. It consists of both professional and personal care and is essential in maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing decay (dental caries), gum disease, or gingivitis and periodontitis, and other dental disorders. macquarieDentists will educate you about good oral hygiene and the techniques best for your mouth, demonstrating the most effective brushing, flossing or other techniques designed for your individual needs. Knowing and using the correct technique is half the battle to achieving and maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing dental problems in the future.

brushing

Use a soft toothbrush positioned on the gumline where the teeth and gums meet. Angle the brush at 45 degrees to allow the bristles to gently clean under gums. Brush in small side to side jiggling motions on 1-2 teeth at a time. Brush the outside surfaces of the teeth, under the cheeks and lips, and also the inside surfaces next to your tongue and on the roof of your mouth. Also brush the chewing surfaces of all upper and lower rear teeth, the premolars and molars. This area is the only area in the mouth that can be scrubbed. You can also brush the top of the tongue to remove bacteria. Electric tooth brushes are effective if used brushing only a small area at a time and positioned as outlined above, but a manual toothbrush can be just as efficient when used correctly.

flossing tips

Break off a 50cm length of dental floss, ribbon or tape. Wind the ends around the longest, middle fingers. This leaves the index fingers and thumbs free to place the floss over the tips of these fingers and manipulate it. Try to keep about 1cm tight enough between your two hands to slide the floss between teeth. Position the floss at the junction between two teeth. To slide the floss through the junction, use a side to side ‘sawing’ motion with slight upward pressure on the top teeth and downward pressure for the bottom teeth. The floss should gently slide between the teeth. Do not force the floss since it will hit the gums and hurt! When the floss is through the junction and in the space between teeth, you need then to slide it under the gum as far it will go, and clean on the side of the tooth in an up and down action. Plaque is sticky stuff so don’t be too gentle! Imagine how much you clean with a brush, you need to clean just as much with floss to effectively remove plaque. You need to do this on two surfaces; i.e. the surface of the tooth in front of the floss and the surface of the tooth behind the floss. To reach your back teeth, it helps to close your mouth enough to soften cheek muscles.

interdental brushes

These are like small bottle brushes that fit between teeth and under gums and can be a very effective alternative to using floss. Our dentists will advise what is most appropriate for your mouth.

diet

Eating on the go and frequent snacking as well as the types of foods and drinks you consume effect good oral health. Acidic foods and drinks can ‘erode’ enamel from teeth if consumed too frequently or sipped over a long period of time and held in the mouth. Healthy foods that are rich in calcium and iron, like milk, cheese and meat as well as crunchy foods like apples, pears, carrot and celery sticks are good for strengthening tooth enamel. They also contribute to reducing plaque and tartar build-up and the development of cavities.

Saliva contains anti-bacterial properties and is the body’s natural defence against tooth decay, constantly washing away acids and replenishing minerals in teeth. Drinking fluoridated water after a snack helps to quickly neutralise acid from sugary soft and sports drinks plus snacks like lollies, cakes and biscuits, which can adhere to the surface of your teeth for some time after eating them.

macquarieDentists will assess your mouth and diet to help establish your risk factors for decay. We will then help you understand what you can do to help prevent dental problems You do not need to eliminate ALL the foods and drinks that can have a bad effect on teeth as even simple and small dietary changes, such as drinking more fluoridated water and substituting some more ‘tooth friendly’ choices in your diet each day can make a big difference.

oral hygiene for children

macquarieDentists stains the dirt or bacteria on your child’s teeth with a harmless dye so they can really see what the dirt looks like. We then show them the most effective brushing, flossing or other techniques designed for their individual needs, and each time we see them we review how they are managing and help them improve.

Best of all, we try to make it fun and take the pressure off Mum and Dad to nag them to clean their teeth! If they know and use the correct technique to clean their teeth, this is half the battle to achieving and maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing dental problems in the future.