Research has shown a link between gum disease and serious health problems, so look after your teeth
Look after your toothbrush: Rinse and dry it after every use to remove bacteria and store upright. Replace when the bristles are split or splayed. You should change your brush or electric brush head every three months, even if it looks pristine.
Use floss or an interdental brush: These will penetrate the crevices between your teeth.
Develop good brushing technique: Hold your brush at a 45° angle to the gum line for outer surfaces of your teeth, and tilt it vertically to reach inner surfaces, using small circular movements. Vary the place you start brushing so that the same teeth don’t suffer from your dwindling enthusiasm.
Brush often: Brush at least twice a day after meals, but not more than three times daily; it may do more harm than good.
Follow a teeth-friendly diet: Acidic drinks and foods (e.g. citrus fruit, pure fruit juices) and sugary products are major tooth-damage culprits, as are fizzy drinks – even diet versions contain high phosphate levels that damage teeth. Reduce the risk by saving them for meal times and using a straw, or make healthier fizzy drinks by combining sparkling water and sugar-free squash. Carbohydrates can damage teeth too, so think twice before tucking into pizza or crisps.
Prevention is better than cure
The NHS website lists dentists in your area and indicates which accept NHS patients: www.nhs.uk. Private dentists often offer payment plans, so ask about what’s included. Check opening hours suit you, read testimonials and ask friends and family for recommendations, too. It’s also worth checking their credentials and what other services they offer, such as implants, cosmetic dentistry or orthodontics.
Visit your dentist regularly: It could save you money – and pain – long-term.
Use dental products approved by a professional dental association: (e.g. the British Dental Association). Buy high-fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes to keep tooth enamel healthy and reverse tooth damage.
Respect your teeth:
Using them as bottle openers or to chew ice can cause tiny cracks that may be invisible now, but could cause decay or splintering later.
Get things straight:
Crooked or overlapping teeth can make good oral hygiene difficult, and some braces are now invisible. Ask your dentist for advice.
Give up smoking: Smoking stains teeth and reduces blood flow in the gums, making smokers more prone to gum disease and tooth loss.