Many of us don’t know the ins and outs of taking care of our teeth properly. Probably, because the teeth expert (aka the dentist) isn’t most people’s favourite place to visit. So while you work up the courage to commit to regular dentist visits, here are the basics of what you need to know about dental care and how to do it right:
Your body produces less saliva at night and saliva is one of the main defences against oral disease. Dentists recommend that you brush at least once in the morning and once at night for maximum cleanliness.
Use fluoride toothpaste. Children over 6 months need fluoride while their teeth are developing. Check toothpaste labels for the fluoride content. The general accepted amount of fluoride is 0.7-1.2ppm.
Flossing is an extension of brushing and can clean up to 35% of the plaque off your teeth. ‘You should floss before you brush,’ advises Dr Winston van Wyk, a Joburg dentist. He explains that when you floss, you loosen the plaque and brushing afterwards gets rid of all the unwanted plaque left behind.
Mouthwash doesn’t replace brushing or flossing. When choosing a non-prescription mouthwash, go for an alcohol-free one that won’t dehydrate your saliva glands. Rinse, gargle and spit. Don’t wash out your mouth with water afterwards; it overrides the antibacterial effects.