5 ways to look after your teeth

Our teeth are so susceptible to long-term damage that they require more care than any other part of the body. Here are five basic ways to ensure your teeth stay healthy.


Brushing is fundamental for keeping your teeth clean. Brushing removes plaque, which is a film of bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth decay. Brush for about two minutes, once before you go to bed and once during the day. Make sure to brush thoroughly, including the back, front and tops of your teeth. After you’ve finished brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste but don’t rinse with water or mouthwash, because rinsing will wash away any beneficial fluoride left over from the toothpaste. So remember: spit don’t rinse!

Dental Floss

Flossing doesn’t just dislodge food stuck between your teeth. It also removes plaque that forms along your gum lines. Floss before brushing, so that the toothbrush can brush away any dislodged food and plaque. Use about 30-45cm of floss, and only hold about a couple of inches of floss between your hands at any one time. You should slip the floss between your teeth as far as it will go, and stroke the floss up and down about 8-10 times between each tooth. Never use toothpicks to remove food between your teeth as this may damage your gums and lead to an infection.

Visiting the dentist

Everyone should see a dentist regularly, no matter their age or the health of their teeth. This is because a dentist can catch any problems early, making them easier to treat. For example, a dentist might notice you’ve been grinding your teeth, in which case you can wear a mouth guard at night. The frequency of your check-ups depends on your age and the health of your teeth and gums. Adults should typically go anywhere between three months and two years.


Brushing, flossing and regular dentist check-ups are usually enough to keep your teeth in tip-top shape, but you can also use mouthwash as an extra precaution. The NHS recommends fluoride mouthwash, because fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. Most toothpastes contain fluoride but many mouthwashes don’t, so be sure to read the ingredients. Try not to eat or drink for half an hour after using a fluoride mouthwash. A common mistake is to use mouthwash after brushing, which washes away any helpful fluoride left behind from the toothpaste. Instead use mouthwash during the day, such as after a meal.

Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks

When you were little, your mum probably told you that sugar is bad for your teeth. Of course she was right, as always! She probably knew that sugar causes bacteria in your mouth to produce acid, which attacks your enamel and causes decay. One tip is to only eat sugary treats as desserts at mealtimes, because this will reduce the amount of time your teeth are under attack. You can also chew sugar-free gum after eating sugar, because this will produce saliva and neutralise the acidity produced by the bacteria. Only use sugar-free gum though!

Of course one of the best ways to look after your teeth is to let us help you. Call 01432 274749 to book a visit with one of our lovely dentists.

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