Toothbrushing stops plaque building up. It isn’t just about moving some toothpaste around your mouth, though. You need to concentrate on the nooks and crannies to make sure you remove as much plaque and leftover bits of food as possible.
Brush your teeth for at least two minutes in the morning before breakfast and last thing at night before you go to bed. Never brush your teeth straight after a meal as it can damage your teeth, especially if you’ve had fruit, fizzy drinks, wine or any other food that contains acid.
This is because tooth enamel is softened by the acid and can be worn away by brushing. Instead, wait an hour after a meal before brushing your teeth to give your saliva chance to neutralise the acid.
It doesn’t matter whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush. They’re both equally good as long as you brush with them properly. However, some people find it easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.
The cleaning agents and particles in toothpaste help to remove plaque from your teeth, keeping them clean and healthy.
Most toothpastes also contain fluoride, which helps to prevent and control cavities. It’s important to use a toothpaste with the right concentration of fluoride. Check the packaging to find out how much fluoride each brand contains.
The British Dental Health Foundation gives the following advice on how to brush your teeth:
How to floss: Flossing is not just for dislodging food wedged between your teeth. Regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line. Take 12-‐18 inches (30-‐45cm) of floss and grasp it so that you have a couple of inches of floss taut between your hands.
Slip the floss between the teeth and into the area between your teeth and gums, as far as it will go.Floss with 8 to 10 strokes, up and down between each tooth, to dislodge food and plaque. Floss at least once a day. The most important time to floss is before going to bed. Floss before brushing.
You can use interdental brushes instead of flossing, especially if your teeth are very close together and you find it difficult to maneuver dental floss through the gap.
Plaque–disclosing tablets work by dyeing plaque either blue or red and can be very useful at showing you which areas of your teeth you’re not cleaning properly.
As the staining can last for some hours, it’s best to use these tablets at bedtime or when you are not expecting visitors.Make an appointment