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Polishing up on dental hygiene

Good dental hygiene is your best weapon against oral diseases, including gum disease and decay. If you’re looking to protect your smile and brush up on dental hygiene, here are some top tips to take on board. 

Brushing advice

Brushing your teeth is essential for removing food debris and harmful bacteria before they combine with saliva to create plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colourless substance, which clings to your gum line and the surfaces of the teeth. When you eat and drink, the bacteria found in plaque feed, and this causes them to release acids, which attack and weaken the protective enamel and irritate the gums. To prevent plaque formation, it’s crucial to brush the teeth twice a day, every day. When you clean your teeth, take your time, be gentle and cover every individual tooth surface. You should brush for at least two minutes each time. If your brush doesn’t have a timer, you can set an alarm on your phone or even brush along to a song. 

Studies show that electric toothbrushes remove plaque more effectively than manual brushes. There are several makes and models available, and you can now buy electric toothbrushes for less than £20. It’s really important to brush gently to protect the enamel. If you brush too aggressively, this can increase the risk of erosion. If you’re using an electric toothbrush, you shouldn’t have to exert any additional effort. Simply hold the brush and guide it around your mouth. Dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral, which helps to lower the risk of tooth decay by strengthening the enamel.

Flossing and interdental brushing

When you brush your teeth, you can cover most of your mouth, but you can’t reach every part with a toothbrush. This is why flossing and interdental brushing are beneficial. Interdental brushes are small, hand-held brushes, which are designed to remove debris and plaque from the tiny cracks between the teeth. Flossing involves passing dental floss, also known as tape, between your teeth. Ideally, you should either floss or use interdental brushes on a daily basis. It is common for the gums to bleed the first few times you floss if you’ve never done it before, or you haven’t flossed in a long time. If bleeding persists, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease. 


Many of us have grown up with an oral hygiene routine, which involves brushing and then rinsing the mouth out and spitting. Rinsing the mouth after brushing can actually be counterproductive, as it removes fluoride from the surfaces of the teeth, preventing it from doing its bit to strengthen the enamel. After you’ve brushed, avoid rinsing. If you use mouthwash, it’s best to wait at least an hour after brushing. 


Maintaining good oral hygiene is the most effective way to keep dental dramas at bay. To protect your teeth and lower the risk of gum disease, brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, clean between your teeth daily and avoid rinsing after brushing. It’s also critical to make sure you see your dentist on a regular basis. Experts recommend at least one check-up every 12 months.

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