It is easy to get your mouth clean and healthy, and keep it that way.

A simple routine can help prevent most dental problems, Follow our 10 tips below for an overview of how to keep your teeth strong and healthy and how you can improve your oral and overall general health.

1. Nutrition

what you put in your mouth can affect the health of your teeth and gums. Choosing the right foods early in life can be especially beneficial throughout your whole life. Your mouth is full of germs and bacteria (plaque) that thrive on the starches and sugars produced that are found in the food you eat. When you don’t remove the plaque an acid is produced that attacks your enamel and eventually causes decay. Choosing foods that are low in sugar and starches will reduce the acids produced.

2. Floss

Whichever ‘gizmo’, gadget or bit of tape you choose to use – will do nothing to reduce your risk of tooth decay or gum disease if you don’t use it properly. Majority of the population that do use floss on a regular basis do not use it correctly. I liken bad flossing to trying to clean a pool with a scrubbing brush. If you don’t clean between the teeth, you’re cleaning only 60 per cent of the tooth’s surface. To effectively remove plaque, you need to hook the floss like a C around the tooth, so it hooks out the plaque from between the contact points of the teeth. The dental profession has been pushing it for 20 years, yet we’ve got only five per cent of the population to do it — because it’s fiddly. Most dentists recommend interdental brushes — small brushes that can get right below the gum line. They are much easier to use, and get into the curves of teeth so it’s easier to clean each side of the tooth.

3. Regular dental visits

There are two reasons people do not visit their dentist regularly. One is ‘The Nervous Patient’. A bad experience and fear of injections are the two most common reasons for this nervousness. And then there’s the ‘patient dreading the pain to hip pocket’. However, spending money on maintaining your oral health now will save you big bucks in the end, and your teeth will thank you for it by staying put!

4. Grinding and clenching

You have a 3 o’clock deadline and your boss just throws more work at you. Clench! You’re concentrating so hard on that cross-stitch you’re going cross-eyed. Grind! Now not all of us know that we do this. Sometimes it happens while you sleep. Clenching and grinding can make you wake up in the morning with sore facial muscles and can also crack, chip and wear your teeth. Not many people know that your dentist can help with this. If you experience any of these problems, ask you dentist how they can help.

5. Smoking

You don’t have to be a genius to know that smoking is bad for your general health but did you know that smoking reduces the blood flow to your mouth, resulting in greater chances of developing periodontal disease and oral cancers. Not only that, if you are a smoker and have any type of surgery or dental treatment, smoking reduces the ability of revasularisation (healing) of bone and soft tissue. Plus don’t forget the bad breath, stinky clothes and yellow teeth.

6. Chewing Gum

If you watch television you know that chewing gum after meals produces saliva flow, but did you know that chewing gum can actually improve your alertness by 10% by improving blood flow to the brain according to a recent study in Japan. So besides neutralizing acids and cleaning your teeth, chewing gum improves motor skills. Happy chewing!

7. Soften your toothbrush

You should never use a hard toothbrush. Hard toothbrushes cause abrasion to your enamel, which then exposes your dentine making your teeth appear more yellowish. Rinse your toothbrush with hot water before using it to soften the bristles.

8. Change your toothbrush

Changing your toothbrush is vital in keeping your oral hygiene in a good condition. Toothbrushes should be changed every 3 months due to the ineffectiveness after this. Also your mouth is full of bacteria, which transfers to your toothbrush after every use. And did you know that 80% of bacteria found in your mouth is not on your teeth? They are in the hard to reach places and soft tissues in your mouth such as the tongue cheeks and gums.

9. Use a straw

When drinking every dentist’s worst nightmare – soft drink or soda; use a straw. Using a straw will bypass the acid to your teeth. You still need to rinse your mouth with water after drinking these nasties, and if you are regular consumer you should use fluoride toothpaste and see your dentist for regular check-ups.

10. Limit snacks

If you eat 3 meals a day with no carbohydrates or sugar in between meals, then no need to read on. However, if you are like most of the population and cant resist a bit of snacking between meals then continue reading. The more snacks with sugar you have between meals (fruit, juice, sugared coffee, soft drinks etc.) the more holes you are likely to get. If you are a compulsive grazer it is important that you remember these 10 keys to keeping your teeth strong

Tips for brushing

Brush at least twice a day. If you can, brush after every meal. Brushing removes plaque, a film of bacteria that clings to teeth. When bacteria in plaque come into contact with food, they produce acids. These acids lead to cavities. To brush:

• Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on the head of the toothbrush, use a soft toothbrush.

• Place the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.

• Move the brush across the teeth using a small circular motion. Continue with this motion cleaning one tooth at a time. Keep the tips of the bristles against the gum line. Avoid pressing so hard that the bristles lie flat against the teeth. (Only the tips of the toothbrush clean the teeth.) Let the bristles reach into spaces between teeth.

• Brush across the top of the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Make sure the bristles get into the grooves and crevices.

• Use the same small circular motion to clean the back of the upper and lower teeth, the side that faces the tongue.

• To clean the inside of the bottom front teeth, angle the head in an up-and-down position toward the bottom inside of the mouth and move the toothbrush in a small circle.

• For the inside of the top front teeth, angle the brush in an up-and-down position with the tip of the head pointing towards the roof of the mouth. Move the toothbrush in a small circle.

• Give your tongue a few gentle brush strokes, brushing from the back of your tongue forward. Do not scrub. This helps remove bacteria and freshens your breath.

• After brushing your teeth for two to three minutes, rinse your mouth with water.

• Replace your toothbrush with a new one every three to four months.

Tips for flossing

Floss once a day. Flossing gets rid of food and plaque between the teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. If plaque stays between teeth, it can harden into tartar, which must be removed by a dentist. To floss:

• Remove about a 45 cm (18-inch) strip of floss from the dispenser.

• Wind the floss around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving a 2.5cm (one inch) section open for flossing. Floss the top teeth first, then the bottom.

• Place the floss in your mouth and use your index fingers to push the floss between the teeth. Be careful not to push too hard and injure the gums.

• Move the floss up and down against the tooth and up and around the gum line. The floss should form a C-shape around the tooth as you floss.

• Floss between each tooth as well as behind the back teeth.

• Use a clean section of floss as needed and take up used floss by winding it around the fingers.

About Viva Dent

Vivadent is one of the leading Dental Clinics in Maldives. The clinic was established in 2012 to adhere to the highest standards in safety, hygiene and customer service in Dentistry.

Dr. Satheesh BDS

Dr. Rajkumar MDS (Orthodontist)