10 top tips in tweaking your oral hygiene routine

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Our Dental Hygienist/Therapist Abigail Whitney gave her top tips for healthy gums all year round with some small changes at home:

Establishing an efficient home care regime can positively impact the maintenance of a healthy smile. Sometimes it can be difficult knowing exactly where to begin. Below is a simple guide on getting to know your own mouth, and how you can tweak your regime to improve oral health.

Tip 1: ‘Get to know your mouth’

Use a hand mirror and get to know your own teeth and gums.

Tip 2: ‘Plaque attack’

Plaque is the same colour as teeth which makes it difficult to see. A great way to visualise this is using ‘plaque disclosing tablets’.

Be sure to apply vaseline to your lips before hand or they may turn purple! Disclosing tablets highlight old and new plaque in the mouth and can be easily brushed away.

You could use this method after brushing to assess how well you’ve brushed or as a fun game for children getting them to brush all the plaque away.

Tip 3: ‘Act it out’

If you’re not sure you’ve mastered the brushing technique, bring your tooth brush with you to your hygiene appointment. Ask the hygiene and therapy team to demonstrate the ‘Oral B power brushes’ in your own mouth during your hygiene appointment, the brush has a pressure sensor which flashes red when too much pressure is applied. This will give you the ‘feel’ of an electric toothbrush before you decide to purchase one.

Tip 4: ‘Start at the difficult areas’

Start your routine in the commonly missed areas, for example start brushing the surfaces of the teeth facing towards the palate or closest to the tongue. These are commonly missed areas, and energy levels are highest at the start of your oral hygiene routine.

Tip 5: ‘Don’t Scrub’

Don’t press too hard, over zealous brushing can contribute to gum recession. Use a ‘pen style grip’ on the toothbrush handle, the brushing motion should be carried out by the wrist not the arms and shoulders.

Tip 6: ‘Power to the brushes’

Powered brushes have been proven to reduced plaque and bleeding gums compared to a manual toothbrush. Don’t forget to clean in between! 40% of the mouth is missed through brushing alone, interdental brushes clean in-between teeth and are proven to improve the health of the gums.

Tip 7: ‘GPS approach’

Set yourself goals to achieve, with a simple plan which you can self monitor, for example:

Goal: Reducing you’re bleeding score by half in preparation for the next time you see the hygienist

Plan: 6 months until hygiene visit, work on brushing twice per day and using interdental brushes every other.

Self-monitor: Recap each week on brushing and interdental brushes, ask the hygienist the percentage of the bleeding score when you attend next to monitor your goal.

Tip 8: ‘Keep It simple’

Set yourself a simple, quick and efficient routine you can keep up with and maintain.

Tip 9: ‘Regularly re-enforce’

Life can be hectic sometimes and routines can often take a back seat, so don’t be too hard on yourself. The hygiene and therapy team are great motivators to help you get back on track with your interdental brush regime Tip 10: ‘Home care’

Your daily home care regime contributes to a huge 70% of your oral health, 30% is maintained by routine dental appointments.

Home care really makes a difference. Healthy gums = healthy heart = healthy YOU!