Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene is essential to overall health. In fact, our mouths are the main point of entry for countless bacteria every day. The HELVIDENT team shares its advice on how to prevent cavities, gingivitis, bad breath and other illnesses.
1 - Brush your teeth twice a day
In theory, it's advisable to brush your teeth after every meal to remove plaque. Over time, this plaque develops into tartar, which requires scaling by a dentist. In practice, however, it's very difficult to brush 3 times a day. The World Health Organization recommends brushing your teeth in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after dinner. Be careful, as certain acidic foods can weaken enamel. It's best to wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing.
2 - Choosing the right toothbrush
The first step is to buy a toothbrush that's right for you. Some are designed for adults, others for children. Generally speaking, we recommend using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. This way, you'll be able to clean all the nooks and crannies of your mouth, as well as the spaces between your teeth. Remember to change your toothbrush every three months for optimum efficiency. This is a strictly personal accessory.
3 - The correct brushing technique
We advise you to brush your teeth in front of a mirror to better master the brushing technique. Follow the same order to make sure you don't forget any area of your mouth. Brush the upper and lower jaw separately. Brush in a circular, rolling motion from gum to tooth. Brush at a 45-degree angle. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, as this can irritate your gums. Electric toothbrushes are a good alternative to manual toothbrushes for achieving the ideal rotation.
4 - Respecting brushing times
To allow the active ingredients in the toothpaste to take effect, you need to brush your teeth for 2 to 3 minutes. To make the time seem shorter, listen to music. The ideal brushing time is that of a song.
5 - Using fluoride toothpaste
Good oral hygiene also requires the use of fluoride-enriched toothpaste (between 1000 and 1500 ppm), except for children and adults who have contraindications. This trace element strengthens the crystalline structure of enamel and helps prevent the onset of plaque or cavities. Manufacturers offer a range of toothpastes for every need: whitening, anti-tartar, for sensitive teeth or fragile gums, for example.
6 - Interdental cleaning
Dental floss is an effective way of removing food residues trapped between teeth. The bristles of a toothbrush are generally unable to reach these interstices. Simply cut 30 to 40 centimetres of dental floss and pass it gently between each of your teeth to avoid injuring the gums. You can do this at least once a day. Dental floss holders are also available for easy handling.
7 - Use of oral hygiene accessories
There are other oral hygiene accessories to complement tooth brushing. These include interdental sticks or brushes, which are particularly useful in cases of of prostheses (see our dedicated page) or loose teeth. This allows you to clean small spaces that are inaccessible with a brush. There are also water jets or pulsators that remove food waste by means of pressure. Mouthwash (preferably alcohol-free) can be used to rinse the mouth after brushing. Finally, you can use a plaque developer to assess the presence of plaque. All these products help you to thoroughly clean your oral cavity.
8 - Stop snacking
To preserve the health of your oral cavity, we strongly recommend that you refrain from snacking between meals. This bad habit creates an acidic environment in the mouth. The result: bacteria multiply, making it easier for cavities to form.
9 - Chewing sugar-free chewing gum
No time to brush your teeth after lunch? The emergency solution is to chew sugar-free gum. This will increase the production of saliva, which corrects the acidity of the mouth and protects against bacterial attack. The other alternative is to bite into an apple. This fruit cleans the surface of the teeth without getting stuck in the interstices.
10 - Regular consultation with an oral hygiene professional
To prevent cavities and dental pathologies, it's essential to consult a dentist. This specialist examines your oral cavity, performs scaling and diagnoses problems in good time. Adults should visit at least once a year, children twice. It's the last thing you need to do to keep your smile beautiful and your mouth healthy.
HELVIDENT welcomes you to its dental centers in Lausanne, Aigle and Fribourg in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Our team of dentists performs all standard and specialized dental procedures.