Each year the Australian Dental Association hold a national health week promoting oral health. This annual event aims to have people reflect on their oral health habits. The 2019 project focused on the things we need to do to keep our teeth and gums healthy.
The first full week of August signifies the national Dental Health Week. So we have created a full recap on everything covered last week by highlighting five key tips.
Tip 1: Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth
We like to think we are pretty trendy here at Ethos Orthodontics, however when we use the term ‘floss’ we aren’t referring to the dance moves. Rather when we say floss, we mean cleaning between your teeth with soft dental thread.
Unfortunately, nearly 40% of people never floss or clean between their teeth. Flossing your teeth once a day helps to remove plaque and prevent gum disease, tooth decay and halitosis (aka bad breath). Just like brushing your teeth, flossing should not be rushed. Take your time and be diligent with your technique, follow a gentle side-to-side motion. If you are new to flossing or aren’t sure about your current method, speak to your friendly ethos orthodontist.
When you get braces for the first time, it can be easy to dismiss flossing as just being ‘too difficult’. If you are having trouble flossing using the traditional method, you can try using a Waterpik, oral irrigator, floss threader, or dental tape.
Tip 2: Don’t forget to clean your tongue
Tongue cleaning can easily be added into your normal oral health routine and can help reduce bacteria, bad breath and plaque buildup. There are several different methods you can use when it comes to cleaning your tongue; this includes using your toothbrush, tongue scrapers or mouthwash.
Tongue scrapers are often referred to as the most effective tool and are easy to use. You simply stick your tongue out and apply pressure to the scraper while also pulling it down the length of your tongue. A similar process can be used with a toothbrush, followed by spitting out any excess saliva.
Tip 3: Drink the recommended amount of water each day
Drinking water isn’t only great for your health, it also has many oral health benefits. Water is known to strengthen your teeth due to the benefits of fluoride, you can find this element in our water supply. The reason fluoride is so great is that it is a natural element and when mixed with enamel found in growing teeth, helping to prevent tooth decay.
Water is sugar and fat-free, making it the perfect drink to help wash down sugary food and drinks. Having a glass of water after drinking a soda, juice, sweetened tea, or sports drinks helps to eliminate unwanted sugars left behind on your teeth.
Tooth decay thrives off a dry mouth, therefore staying hydrated is the best way to stop decay in its tracks. Your saliva is your number one defence to fighting tooth decay as saliva contains calcium and phosphate.
Tip 4: Eat a well-balanced diet with crunchy fruit and vegetables
Consuming crunchy foods that also contain a large percentage of water are great for maintaining good oral health. These foods stimulate the flow of saliva and will scrub your tooth surfaces, brightening your smile.
Foods which are known to benefit your oral health include apples, pears, carrots, and celery. Snack foods such as crackers, chips and sweets have no proven benefits for your oral health and are linked to deteriorating your natural enamel.
Tip 5: Visit your dentist a few times a year
A recent survey revealed that 65% of Australians have not been to a dentist in the last two years. Your oral health is important, so we should all be visiting the dentist at least every 6 to 12 months to keep on top of your dental health.