We all know that we should brush our teeth twice a day – don’t we? Are you ruining your smile by ignoring other factors that affect your teeth?
Hidden sugar in your food
You eat way too much sugar and you don’t even realise it. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t drink orange juice at all. Whole fruit is full of fibre, which means the sugars aren’t as accessible. Juicing fruit destroys the good stuff, which means you may as well wash down your cereal with a can of Coke. It’s the same for smoothies. Stick to water or tea and get your five-a-day the proper way.
Mouthwash containing alcohol
Alcoholic mouthwashes are very good at killing bacteria. They’re not as good at distinguishing good bacteria from the plaque-causing kind. Antibacterial versions are equally undiscerning. That’s bad news for your heart as well as your smile. Switch to a flouridated, teetotal version instead.
You rinse too soon after brushing – what you gargle is only as effective as when you gargle it. The fluoride in toothpaste coats your teeth and protects them from decay. When you rinse with mouthwash straight away, you wash that defensive layer away. Instead, stow a bottle in your desk drawer and use it an hour after lunch, to freshen your breath through the afternoon. Or wait a while after brushing before your use it.
You can actually brush too much
Brushing your teeth buffs away the stains that can discolour them. If you brush for longer than two minutes, more than twice a day, or bear down too hard on your teeth, you can brush away the enamel as well. If you want to top up after eating, chew sugar-free gum instead. It stimulates saliva, which acts as a natural antibacterial to help keep your teeth white.
Don’t forget to floss
You need to floss. There was some debate a while ago but that myth was debugged. Your brush can’t reach around a third of your tooth surface. If you don’t floss, this becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Not only does this cause decay but also receding gums. Receding gums are the first sign of tooth loss. Floss straight after brushing, to pull leftover toothpaste between teeth and double the protection.
How old is your toothbrush?
You keep your toothbrush for too long. When your dentist tells you to replace your toothbrush or brush head every three months they aren’t trying to sell you a new one. When the bristles are cut at the factory, they’re left jagged. They’re rounded off before being packaged, but over time this forgiving surface wears away. You then end up with sharp bristles that can strip your tooth’s dentin and enamel. Replace yours before the bristles lose their shape to prevent the damage.
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