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Dentist Reveals 10 Things You Can Do To Look After Your Teeth And Gums


Clinical Director and Lead Dentist at Paste Dental, Dr Alan Clarke, says, “Skipping your daily or nightly tooth brushing regime may seem like an innocent omission if pressed for time, or if that episode was just too good to pause, however, oral health is directly linked to overall physical health and well being. 

Respiratory infections such as COPD, pneumonia and bronchitis and cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, increased risk of strokes and fatal endocarditis are all affected by the bacteria living in your mouth.

Poor oral health is also linked to pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer and blood cancer, not to mention the oral and throat cancers attributed to tobacco-containing products.

So here are 10 easy steps you can take to look after your teeth and gums, optimising your oral and actually your physical health as well!” 

  1. Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth! 

Brushing at night time helps remove the plaque and bacteria that accumulate during the day. A dry mouth at night provides a great breeding ground for damaging bacteria. Take the upper hand and don’t let those bacteria have a chance to work! 

Also, your breath will be much fresher in the morning, something you and your loved ones will appreciate! 

  1. Flossing is as important as brushing! 

Flossing, and interdental cleaning (basically cleaning in-between your teeth) with either floss or interdental brushes is vital in helping promote healthy gums and indeed works to slow the progression of gum disease!

More than 700 species of bacteria mingle and party in your mouth! Some of these guests are welcome, behave and enrich the conversation, some are loud, annoying and ruin everyone’s fun.

Your toothbrush does a good job at helping remove some of these difficult creatures but it can’t reach 35%  of your tooth enamel. 

Interdental cleaning is a key way to reduce gingival inflammation and reduce gum redness, recession and early tooth loss! We recommend thorough daily interdental cleaning for those over 18, once a day,  building habits your 60-year-old self will thank you for. 

  1. Drink more water 

Acid attack on your teeth is a normal process after every meal, however prolonging that attack can cause increased damage to the enamel surface of your teeth! Water can act to flush and wash that acid away, protecting your teeth and the enamel surface. 

  1. Use Toothpaste – simple! 

Myth 1 – “I use Fluoride toothpaste, so I won’t get tooth decay!” 

Myth 2 – “Fluoride is harmful” 

Fluoride has positive effects on dental enamel and can act to strengthen teeth and reduce the activity of oral bacteria, but it certainly isn’t a miracle worker, with overconsumption also having negative effects!

Without getting into the fluoride debate – I would need a whole article on this subject alone, brushing twice daily and physically removing the bacteria and plaque at your gum line and on the flat surfaces of your teeth, will go a long way in helping protect and care for your teeth and gums! That we can certainly agree on!  

  1. Chew gum with Xylitol! 

Chewing gum containing xylitol has been shown to actively reduce dental caries! The oral bacteria S. Mutans produces polysaccharides which cause dental plaque to stick to teeth.

Xylitol acts to reduce these polysaccharides, reducing the effect of the bacteria and reducing dental caries and disease! How awesome is that! 

  1. Stop Smoking 

As a cosmetic dentist, I see the legacy of smoking on so many of my patients, desperate to rewind the years! Our advice, stop early, or better yet never start! 

Smoking harms the body’s immune system, which makes it more difficult for tissues to heal,  including those in your mouth. As a known risk factor for gum disease, oral cancer and poor post-surgery healing, we advise patients to take ownership of their health and will empower and help as best we can to support their journey to quitting for good! It will also prevent the staining of the teeth, tongue and smokers’ breath, no strong perfume will disguise it. 

  1. Cosmetic Dentistry is that for vanity? 

We often get asked, are we a general dentist/ a cosmetic dentist, what is the difference? For us healthy teeth are beautiful teeth and an ideal smile, is determined by you, not us! Some things we  will advise when approaching cosmetic or advanced restorative dentistry: 

• Find an expertly trained clinician – As a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry,

I encourage you to find a safe and well-respected clinician who is happy to chat about their craft, what has worked, and what hasn’t, and is willing to take the time to ensure you fully understand your dental options. 

• Cost isn’t everything – Expert dentistry in the UK is expensive, and a price comparison approach is  never a good way to begin for a bespoke service 

• Trust and aftercare are vital – Any good dentist or team will be willing to see you for years to come, planning and helping if and when failures occur. 

  1. Don’t use your teeth as tools 

Nope, not a bottle opener, not a pair of scissors, your teeth were designed to chew food, not to open plastic cartons or a bag or crisps, save yourself from expensive dentistry and reach for the kitchen scissors instead, your teeth will thank you! 

  1. Aged Garlic vs. Gum Disease 

Did you know that aged garlic can reduce bleeding in your gums and oral inflammation!- seriously! A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition in 2020, concluded that taking a daily supplement of aged garlic can reduce oral inflammation. Every day is a school day! 

  1. See your dentist at least twice a year 

Get ahead of the problems, take a preventative approach and let us screen for oral cancer, gum disease and dental decay before the damage progresses and the costs to treat skyrocket. 

Now with early detection of caries from AI technology, oral microbiome testing for harmful bacteria and a focus on patient education, we want to empower you to take control of your own health today.