Tips For Healthy, Happy Teeth, Courtesy Of My Scottish Dentist

Tips For Healthy, Happy Teeth, Courtesy Of My Scottish Dentist

   I have a gruff scottish dentist who has a funny sense of humour -- the last time I went for my check-up he straight-facedly convinced me that my wisdom teeth (that I had recently had removed, and a which was basically horrible) grew back. Yes, I believed him and panicked! Apart from that, he re-taught me to brush and floss, and actually bullied me into flossing on most days (gasp!). He has worked for the US army, and is apparently good at making people obey him. On most evenings at home, I look at the floss and asses my level of tiredness: if I can honestly answer 'yes' to the question: "am I dead?" I don't floss. Most days I do. And I very much encourage you to! Tooth problems are painful and expensive -- if you are living in a country that doesn't have health care, not flossing now can bankrupt you in the future.

  Whenever I visit my dentist, he basically keeps up a monologue of great teeth-care advice, which I thought I'd share with you. Here are some tips for strong, healthy teeth; courtesy my dentist:

* Use a soft brush. If you live in Germany, use the softest brush you can find, because German "soft" brushes are same as "medium" brushes in other places. Soft bristles get into all the crevices, and don't damage your teeth.
* If you only have time to either brush or floss, floss
* The purpose of brushing and flossing is not to remove the rests of food, but to move bacteria around and disrupt their growth. Now you see why flossing is so important -- the bacteria in those crevices usually never gets disturbed, while those on the surface of the teeth get regularly moved around when eating and drinking.
* Most people brush wrong and floss wrong.
* Almost everyone flosses wrong. You're suppose to go under the gum! The media also shows people doing it wrong. Here is a good instructional video:

* This is the best way to hold the floss: it gives you a lot of control. 
* If you are not very dexterous with your fingers (or are flossing a child's teeth), try using a floss holder (the reusable kind! The single-use ones are a waste of cash and bad for the environment).
* When you brush, concentrate on the part where the gums touch the teeth
* The teeth that most people don't brush thoroughly are the back teeth, and the front teeth on the lower jaw.
* Most drugstores sell these colour pills that you swirl in your mouth after brushing -- they colour any spots that you misses bright blue! It's a great idea to buy some and find out which spots you miss when brushing. 
* Wait 30 minutes after eating to brush, as a lot of food is acidic and weakens the enamel. In half an hour the pH balance of the mouth returns to normal. 
* Electric brushes are good, especially if your motor skills aren't terribly good. The cheaper ones are as good as more expensive ones. Again, find the softest brush possible.
* Electric brushes are also great to clean the teeth of small kids, since it's often hard to manouver around in those little mouths. Obviously, don't let small kids use electric brushes by themselves.

    How are you with flossing regularly? Any more teeth-care tips to share?

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