We have a strong focus on preventative dentistry, which means helping you to have healthy teeth and gums by having an effective daily oral healthcare routine, following a healthy and dentally appropriate diet, and visiting us for regular check-ups. Preventative fluoride programmes and fissure sealants are examples of preventative treatments.
At your check-up, our dentists assess your risk of getting caries (tooth decay) or gum disease in the future. There are many factors that contribute to these tooth diseases and apart from restoring existing damage in teeth and gums, our dentists will focus on trying to prevent further damage. The factors involved in a risk assessment for caries are: the frequency of carbohydrate intake, the carbohydrate content in diet, the amount of plaque, the number of mutans streptococci and lactobacilli (The bacteria that are mainly responsible for caries), whether a fluoride programme is in place and the rate of saliva secretion and the saliva’s buffering capacity.
Periodontitis (Gum disease)
The main factors contributing to periodontitis (gum disease) is poor oral hygiene which allows oral bacteria to harden on your teeth to become calculus (tartar). Although periodontitis is a bacterial disease, a variety of factors affect the severity of the disease. Important risk factors include smoking, poorly controlled diabetes and inherited (genetic) susceptibility.
Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste not only helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, it can also prevent bad breath.
- Put a pea-sized blob of fluoride toothpaste on your toothbrush
- Using small circular movements, brush your teeth starting at the back on one side and working your way round methodically to cover all surfaces: those towards your cheeks, those towards your tongue and those on which you chew.
- Don’t forget the hard-to-reach wisdom teeth. You may need to angle your brush in from the opposite side of you mouth to get behind the wisdom teeth.
- Brush along the gum line as well as the teeth themselves
A toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles is best as you run less of a risk of damaging your teeth and gums by brushing too hard. An electric toothbrush can help to improve removing plaque as you don’t need to concentrate on doing circular movements, only positioning the brush in the correct position. Don’t forget that you will spend just as much time brushing with a manual as an electric toothbrush. It should take about 2 minutes to brush your teeth.
Mouthwashes are not generally necessary unless your dentist has recommended one for your needs. You may be recommended a fluoride mouthwash if you have an increased risk for caries. An antibacterial mouthwash is sometimes recommended for a week or two after extractions or as a compliment to brushing if you have gum disease.
We recommend Oral B Satin Floss or Glide as they are plastic coated and slip easily between teeth no matter how crowded they are. Use a 30 cm long piece of floss and wind it round your fingers to get a short stretch of floss taut between your fingers. Saw the floss down between the contact point of two teeth, being careful not to push too hard so that the floss cuts down onto the gum. When down below the contact point, slide the floss up and down on each of the tooth surfaces and then pull it up. This should be done between all of your teeth before you brush and preferably once a day in the evening. If you find it difficult to get the floss secure in your fingers, buy floss sticks which have the floss already strung onto a plastic D-shaped holder. When you first start flossing, your gums may bleed. Don’t worry about this – as you get better at flossing and as your gums become healthier, this will reduce.
Sometimes we recommend the use of interdental brushes (Tepe brushes) which can be an effective alternative to flossing.