We have provided you with a few questions and answers that we think you’d like to know. We are sure you have many more questions or concerns so ask your dentist at your next appointment. We are here to help in as many ways possible.
Why are my teeth so important?
Your teeth vary in shape and size depending
on their position within your mouth. These
differences allow the teeth to do many different
jobs. Teeth help us to chew and digest food.
They help us to talk, and to pronounce different
sounds clearly. Finally, teeth help to give
our face its shape. A healthy smile can be
a great asset and because this is so important,
it makes sense to give your teeth the best
How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?
It is easy to get your mouth clean and healthy,
and keep it that way. A simple routine of
brushing and cleaning between the teeth,
good eating habits and regular dental check-ups
can help prevent most dental problems. Although
most people brush regularly, many don’t
clean between their teeth and some people
don’t have dental check-ups. A few
small changes in your daily routine can make
a big difference in the long run. Your dentist
or dental hygienist can remove any build-up
on your teeth and treat any gum disease that
has already appeared. But daily dental care
is up to you, and the main weapons are the
toothbrush and interdental cleaning. (Cleaning
between the teeth).
What is plaque?
Plaque is a thin, sticky film of bacteria
that constantly forms on your teeth. The
plaque reacts with food, turning sugar into
acid, which then dissolves the enamel on
How can plaque cause decay?
When you eat foods containing sugars and
starches, the bacteria in plaque produce
acids, which attack tooth enamel. The stickiness
of the plaque keeps these acids in contact
with teeth. After the teeth are attacked
in this way many times, the tooth enamel
breaks down forming a hole or cavity.
How can plaque cause gum disease?
Plaque can harden into something called
calculus (another name for it is ‘tartar’).
As calculus forms near the gumline, the plaque
underneath releases poisons causing the gums
to become irritated and inflamed. The gums
begin to pull away from the teeth and the
gaps become infected. If gum disease is not
treated promptly, the bone supporting the
teeth is destroyed and healthy teeth may
be lost. Gum disease is the biggest cause
of tooth loss in adults and can lead to dentures,
bridges or implants.
Which type of toothbrush should I use?
Your dentist or dental hygienist will be
able to recommend a toothbrush to you. However,
adults should choose a small to medium size
brush with soft to medium multi-tufted, round-ended
nylon bristles or ‘filaments’.
The head should be small enough to get into
all parts of the mouth: especially the back
of the mouth where cleaning can be difficult.
Children need to use smaller brushes but
with the same type of filaments.
You can now get more specialised toothbrushes.
For instance, people with sensitive teeth
can now use softer bristled brushes. There
are also smaller headed toothbrushes for
those people with crooked or irregular teeth.
Some people find it difficult to hold a toothbrush,
for example because they have Parkinson’s
disease or a physical disability. There are
now toothbrushes, which have large handles
and angled heads to make them easier to use.
How should I brush?
Here is one method of
- Place the head of your toothbrush
against your teeth, then tilt the bristle
tips to a 45 degree angle against the
gumline. Move the brush in small circular
movements, several times, on all the
surfaces of every tooth.
- Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth,
upper and lower, keeping the bristles
angled against the gumline.
- Use the same method on the inside
surfaces of all your teeth.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of the
- To clean the inside surfaces of the
front teeth, tilt the brush vertically
and make several small circular strokes
with the toe (the front part) of the
- Brushing your tongue will help freshen
your breath and will clean your mouth
by removing bacteria.
How often should I
brush my teeth?
Be sure to brush thoroughly
with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice
a day, more often if your dentist recommends
it. If you keep getting discomfort or
bleeding after brushing go to see your
dentist about it.
How often should I
change my toothbrush?
cannot clean your teeth properly and
may damage your gums. It is important
to change your toothbrush every two to
three months, or sooner if the filaments
become worn. When bristles become splayed,
they do not clean properly.
Do electric toothbrushes
Tests have proved that
certain electric toothbrushes are better
at removing plaque. They are particularly
useful for people with limited movement,
such as disabled or elderly people, who
often find that using a normal toothbrush
does not allow them to clean thoroughly.
Electric toothbrushes can also be better
for children as they may be more inclined
to brush regularly because of the novelty
of using an electric toothbrush. Discuss
the idea with your dentist or hygienist
to find out if you would benefit from
using an electric toothbrush.
What should I do regularly
to care for my teeth?
Good dental health
begins with you. By following this simple
routine, you can keep your mouth clean
- Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
- Have sugary drinks and snacks less often.
- Use a small to medium size toothbrush.
- Use a toothbrush with soft to medium multi-tufted, round-ended nylon
- Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Use small circular movements to clean your teeth.
- Change your toothbrush regularly.
- Clean between your teeth using dental floss or wood sticks.
- Visit your dentist at least once a year.
- Look out for products with the 'British Dental Health Foundation Approved'