Monday, 27 February 2012

How well do you clean your teeth?

You brush twice a day for two minutes but is that enough?  No matter how carefully you brush your teeth, unless you clean the spaces between them thoroughly, you could still be at risk of gum disease
Whilst brushing your teeth thoroughly will help keep plaque at bay, it may not remove food, bacteria and other matter trapped in the spaces between your teeth (the 'interdental' spaces) and this, in turn, can lead to periodontitis, or gum disease.  Left untreated, this can cause gum recession or even tooth loss later in life.

There are a number of different ways of cleaning the space between your teeth:
  • Floss.  Inexpensive and widely available, this is the traditional method of interdental cleaning and is available in either rolls or mounted on small plastic frames.
  • Interdental brushes.  TePe is the best known and offers brushes in a range of sizes to suit different spacings between teeth.  Other brands are available and whilst major multiples stock limited ranges, your dentist may offer a wider choice of sizes.
  • Water jet.  A number of manufacturers offer these including WaterPik and Phillips Sonicare.  These work by 'shooting' a high pressure water jet between your teeth.  Whilst initially much more expensive than floss & brushes, in the long run, they can save money as there are no ongoing costs.
When using these, if you notice persistent bleeding or unpleasant odours or tastes, you should see a dentist straight away.  The AllClear dental practice in Croydon stocks a large range of interdental cleaning products and can advise on their usage.

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