I always wonder if it would help making a general post about dental care tips so here goes. (For reference, I am able to provide this guidance under supervision usually in a hospital setting, so this information is correct and expected of me when treating patients).
Brushing 2x day is important, even once a day if you can, do it before you sleep because thatâs when youâre not swallowing and flushing out your mouth so plaque stays stagnant and causes trouble.
Use a fluoride toothpaste - it is the single most impactful component in our modern hygiene ritual from the past 40y that has reduced the amount of caries we see in patients.
Spit, do NOT rinse after brushing. Not even with mouthwash. Just spit the excess toothpaste out. Trust me. Youâll get used to it after 2 days!
Please floss. Find the best way for you - use floss, flossettes or the tepe brushes. 1x a day is the optimal amount, before you sleep. 40% of plaque is between the teeth!
A Waterpik cannot replace floss, it can feel nice but you need to mechanically scrape away plaque and bits of food stuck in there.
If you can, use an electric toothbrush cause it can be helpful with timing and pressure sensing.
2 minutes of brushing is a lot longer than youâd think. Have a go at timing it and see what you find :).
Make sure youâre replacing your brushes/brush heads every 3 months or once the bristles fray.
Keep in mind the amount of pressure youâre placing when you brush - you donât need a lot otherwise youâll traumatise your gums.
If you wish to use a mouthrinse, you can at any time other than brushing (unless the rinse is prescribed). The reasoning for this is the fluoride content is significantly lower and will essentially wash away the toothpaste fluoride youâve just applied, rendering it meaningless and your teeth are unprotected. You can have a look at the packaging- most toothpastes are around 1400ppm whereas mouthrinse is 350ppm.
Avoid charcoal and whitening toothpastes. Theyâre too abrasive and will wear away your teeth if you use them. If you really want to use a whitening toothpaste, do it 1/week and avoid foods/drinks that stain e.g. coffee, wine etc once youâve used it.
Charcoal blocks fluoride uptake in the teeth so seriously avoid it. Itâs not going to help.
Donât forget your tongue! Scrape it with your brush or you can get tongue scrapers. The tongue is a reservoir of bacteria and can replenish unfavourable bacteria species population after brushing, leading to some bad breath.
If you find your mouth is quite dry, you may have xerostomia which could be caused by a number of things. It is a common side effect of many medications so keep this in mind and drink water :). Saliva is really helpful in maintaining the health of your mouth so we want to make sure weâre maintaining that role!
SPD additions based on other comments and what Iâve read around the subject so far.
1. Been reading and for those with SPD, Silicone brushes are becoming more common and are sometimes found to help patients with SPD or aversion to the nylon bristles in conventional toothbrushes.
Thereâs also oral swabs, 3 sided toothbrush, 360Â° brushes or suction brushes to help reduce the foam/build up in the mouth. You could also spit whilst brushing to replicate this.
2. Using other flavours of toothpaste e.g. bubblegum or fruits to avoid the minty taste of most toothpastes or using different forms e.g. toothpaste tabs, mousse or gels which feel different to conventional SLS toothpastes. Make sure they still have fluoride.
3. Performing other tasks whilst brushing to distract from the sensations, also not being in the same environment like the bathroom to brush your teeth so that youâre not as stressed.
4. Using a weighted blanket or noise cancelling headphones at the dentist could also work at home.
5. Using a video or song to time yourself and get more relaxed when brushing.
6. Try building up the toothpaste amount so none, a smear and then .5 pea size then full pea size over time to get accustomed to the feeling.
i have a couple more tips for issues that i learned about the hard way, and are much better to prevent than treat.
firstly, when you brush, make sure youâre brushing all the way to the back of your last molars.Â
i thought i was brushing well, but between the tight space at my mandible joint and my gag reflex, i just wasnât getting those rear molars and i started to develop gum disease just in those back four teeth. now i have gum pockets back there and i have to be very diligent in brushing there every time.
second, grinding and clenching is serious business.Â
youâve probably heard that grinding is really bad, but i had no idea that my clenching was a big deal until my dentist told me i had actually fractured one of my own teeth by clenching my jaw in my sleep, and if it got any worse at all iâll need a crown on that tooth.Â
i got a really expensive night guard (though still much cheaper than crowns) that i wear every time i sleep, but there are a variety of cheap over the counter dental guards available. if you clench, pleaseÂ take it seriously and wear a dental guard to sleep.Â
yes, itâs fucking annoying, but you get used to it, i promise. the first few times i wore it, i managed to spit it out in my sleep despite it being extremely snug, but now i barely even notice it. my mother had to get a bunch of crowns, and believe me, you donât fucking want crowns.