We all know that flossing is the star of the show when it comes to oral health. But a new study in The Journal Of The American Dental Association found the key to good flossing is to match your floss to your teeth.
TIP: If you have rough fillings, use waxed floss. If you have bigger spaces between your teeth go for braided floss. Lucky enough to have normal teeth? Go with unwaxed floss, as friction will pull out more plaque, according to guidelines by the American Dental Association. When the string squeaks, you know plaque is gone.
2. Choose your cup of tea wisely
If you think you’re being virtuous by forgoing a cup of black in favour of a fruit tea, think again. New research has found the acid in fruit teas can be three times more damaging than orange juice, the enemy of healthy teeth. Lemon and blackberry teas were the worst culprits in the study, carried out by the University of Bristol Dental School.
TIP: A cup of black tea can be good for your teeth because it contains compounds called polyphenols, which attack plaque-forming bacteria and suppress plaque accumulation. Choose green tea if you’re worried about staining – it works well.
New research shows cranberries contain a compound that stops bacteria clinging to teeth, blocking the formation of plaque. Cranberry tea also makes an excellent mouth rinse, according to the study by the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York.
TIP: If you’re on the run and can’t brush your teeth, eat some cranberries. But remember – many cranberry drinks are loaded with sugar, which could eradicate the benefits.
4. Say yes please to more cheese!
If your meal isn’t complete without a sweet, it’s worth remembering that sugary things make the pH level of your saliva nosedive, transforming the plaque on your teeth into an aggressive, tooth-dissolving acid.
TIP: If you follow your dessert with some cheddar, your pH level will remain steady, according to a study by Nutrition Review.
5. Pause before you brush
If you’ve got a chocolate habit and alleviate the guilt by brushing your teeth after eating, it’s time to reassess. Your mouth is normally alkaline, but after eating or drinking, it becomes acidic, causing the enamel surface of your teeth to soften. Brushing them at this point means your teeth are more vulnerable to damage.
TIP: Wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing for alkaline levels to normalise.
It’s not just your teeth that need looking after. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease. This is because bacteria from the mouth gets into the bloodstream where they encourage fatty deposits to cling to the inside of the arteries, limiting blood flow.
People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease than those without gum disease. And there are strong links between oral heath and a range of other serious health conditions, including respiratory disease, strokes and diabetes.
TIP: Reduce your risk by brushing your gum line as well as your teeth.
7. Pick a good mouthwash
Be warned: not all mouthwash is a bonus to your oral routine. A recent study in the Australian Dental Journal found that mouthwashes containing alcohol are linked to an increased risk of mouth cancer. The theory is that alcohol makes it easier for cancer-causing carcinogens to permeate the mouth lining. Be aware that mouthwashes can contain as much as 26% alcohol.
TIP: Opt for alcohol-free brands, such as Dentyl pH, available from Clicks and pharmacies, from R65 for 500ml.
DISCLAIMER: You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.