HOW TO CLEAN TEETH PROPERLY
It’s not rocket science and you certainly do not need to invest in expensive gadgets and dental products. Simply follow our eight easy steps to cleaning your teeth to improve your dental health.
- 20-minute rule – wait 20 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. This gives your
- enamel time to harden again after that acid attack of eating
- Peas please – you only need to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
- All about the angle – hold your brush at an angle
- Brush strokes – brush all of your teeth from front to back, the top and the bottom. Brush up and down and round and round
- Roll off your tongue – don’t forget to brush your tongue
- When rinsing your mouth out – try to keep the toothpaste in your mouth without rinsing. This leaves the maximum amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth for the longest period of time
- Floss fresh – once a day use an interdental brush or floss to clean in between your teeth (this does not have to be at the same time as you clean your teeth)
- Washed up – once or twice a day rinse your mouth out with a fluoride mouthwash, ideally after a meal. Avoid using mouthwash after cleaning your teeth, toothpaste has a higher percentage of fluoride than mouthwash does, if you rinse with mouthwash after cleaning then you reduce the amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth.
Cleaning teeth with an electric toothbrush
Whilst it is not 100% necessary to use an electric toothbrush, most dentists recommend them to their patients. The good news is that you don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing electric toothbrush that breaks the bank. There are superb, cost-effective electric toothbrushes on the market making the benefits accessible to all. Here are our expert tips to help you make the perfect purchase.
Tip 1 – Look out for an audible timer to ensure that you clean your teeth for the correct length of time
Tip 2 – Has the brush got a pressure sensor? This helps prevent damage to sensitive gums
Tip 3 – Keep your eyes peeled for an oscillating brush head to get into all of the tiny gaps.
Finding a brush that ticks all three of these important boxes will ensure you are as efficient at cleaning your teeth as possible.
Spotlight on gums. If you decide to opt for a manual toothbrush, please take extra care not to use extreme pressure and be consistent with the amount of pressure you apply. Heavy hands often lead to receding gums (an electric toothbrush tends to be easier to clean with the same amount of pressure over your entire row).
How to clean teeth plaque at home
It’s almost impossible to watch a dental advertisement on television without emphasis on the dreaded ‘plaque build-up’. Plaque is a dental patient’s arch-enemy – but why does it occur and why does it cause such torment to teeth?
Plaque build-up on teeth is caused by your mouth’s biofilm. This biofilm is a sticky, thin layer covering your teeth. It is made up of bacteria which feed on the sugar in your diet. It’s one of the main reasons health experts advise the public to reduce their intake of sweet stuff.
The challenge is that this biofilm builds up in more difficult-to-reach areas, such as in between your teeth or on the tongue side of your teeth. As the biofilm gets thicker and thicker it turns into plaque, a hard substance which adheres to your teeth. This is in itself unpleasant but the long-term impact can be far more alarming. The plaque means that the acid-excreting bacteria are in constant contact with your teeth. As they excrete acid, whilst feeding on the sugar in your diet, your teeth can be attacked causing dental decay.
It’s no wonder dentists and health experts share the message about plaque and sugar loud and clear. It is crucial to keep plaque to an absolute minimum. The best way to do this is to follow a good oral hygiene routine – please see our previous section on how to clean teeth properly.
Need to remove plaque? There’s not a quick fix/home remedy. Let’s face it, plaque is extremely difficult to remove at home because it is so hard and stuck in your teeth. You could end up doing more damage to your teeth and gums. If the plaque builds up significantly, you will need to see a dental hygienist who can remove it using an ultrasonic scaling device. Leave this job to the experts for the best possible results.
How to clean teeth with braces
Do you wear dental braces? If the answer is yes, you’re probably looking forward to that moment when they’re removed and you can finally showcase your brand new smile. For this reason, it is just as important to keep your teeth clean as it is without wearing braces.
Did you know that plaque can build up very quickly around braces? Having a rigid care plan and oral hygiene routine whilst wearing braces is key to the successful unveiling of your new killer smile. There are four factors you’ll need to bear in mind:
Factor 1 – An electric toothbrush will help enormously if you have fixed orthodontics
Factor 2 – Using interdental brushes will also be important as you will probably not be able to get the floss in between your teeth due to the archwires
Factor 3 – In addition to the previous section on how to clean teeth properly, you can use a mirror every time you clean your teeth. This can be really helpful, ensuring you have cleaned all the way around your braces
Factor 4 – Ask your orthodontist for some special brushes which allow you to clean in difficult-to-reach areas. We find that round-ended bristle brushes tend to get the best results.
Are your braces and teeth really clean? After cleaning, your braces should look clean and shiny and you should be able to see the edges of the brackets. Ensure you rinse with a good quality fluoride mouthwash at least once a day.
How to clean teeth stains at home
Once again, prevention is better than cure. We strongly recommend avoiding teeth stains in the first place by maintaining a good oral health routine. If you find that your teeth stain, this may be because you have plaque which has built up. Going back to basics, keeping this plaque to a minimum will help keep your teeth looking bright and healthy.
The best way to keep your teeth clean and free from stains at home is to visit the hygienist first, have a professional clean and polish and then follow our steps listed previously. This will allow your teeth to be cleaned to their maximum brightness. All you need to do after is maintain them at home.
With so many products available, what’s the best advice on cleaning teeth stains at home?
- Try using a whitening toothpaste
- Try using a whitening mouthwash
Your gums are very sensitive. We do not recommend you try any other stain removal technique at home.
Oral hygienists are often a best-kept secret, with most patients only tapping into their dentist’s expertise when it comes to their teeth. A dental/oral hygienist is an important part of the dental team and could help you save lots of money at the dentist in the long run. Hygienists are specially trained to be dental health educators, helping you look after your teeth and carrying out deep cleaning. Most importantly, they can deliver results that can not be achieved at home.
What does a hygienist look for in your first visit? Your hygienist will typically score your dental health on a scale from 0 to 4, this is known as a basic periodontal examination (BPE). Each tooth is rated on this scale which allows you to track your dental health across each visit. The hygienist will use a probe around each tooth to determine pocket depth around each tooth.
Scoring is typically:
- 0 – No pockets >3.5 mm, no calculus/overhangs, no bleeding after probing
- 1 – No pockets >3.5 mm, no calculus/overhangs, but bleeding after probing
- 2 – No pockets >3.5 mm, but calculus/overhangs
- 3 – Probing depth 3.5-5.5 mm (indicating pocket of 4-5 mm)
- 4 – Probing depth >5.5 mm (indicating pocket of 6 mm or more)
How much do dental hygienists cost?
Visits to the dentist are normally more expensive than visits to the oral hygienist, at our practice, a 30-minute oral hygiene program appointment costs £58. It’s always good to remember that this is less than an average night out and the benefits last a lot longer.
Teeth cleaning appointments
How can you get the most out of your appointments? Teeth cleaning/oral hygiene appointments are best made at the same time as your visit to your dentist. Typically a patient will visit the hygienist for 30 minutes and then go on to have a routine dental health check with the dentist for 30 minutes afterwards. When it comes to having your teeth cleaned, this dual approach makes the best use of your time and budget.
Our London-based dental practice also offers Denplan Essentials, which includes:
- Routine care from your dentist including dental check-ups
- Dental x-rays
- Hygiene treatment
- Discounts on restorative care.
- One emergency treatment per year
Denplan Essentials is available for approximately £12 per month, this would include two checkups, x-rays and two hygiene visits per year, this ensures that you have regular access to teeth cleaning appointments with the most affordable payment method. It’s total peace of mind without the weight of a hefty bill.