The newest thinking on skin health suggests that washing with soap every day is not so good, as it depletes the beneficial bacteria that provide protection. This is good news for your skin, but so far it does not copy across to your mouth. There, you need to remove bacteria, not ignore them.
We have hundreds of different strains of bacteria in our mouths, and most are harmless. Some also play an important role; others go a bit mad on the sugars and starches that we eat. Take Streptococcus mutans, for example, this is the critter that is the root cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
Strep mutans bacteria just love sugars and starches and when they feast, they proliferate. You can feel them building up in sticky layers on your teeth. What goes in must come out, as they say, so Strep mutans excretes acids, right onto your teeth and gums. It’s like bathing your teeth in lemon juice day in, day out. There are bound to be consequences.
No wonder if you don’t clean your teeth, your tooth enamel gets corroded and your gums get sore and inflamed and can start to bleed.
You can’t get rid of oral bacteria altogether but, if you practise a good dental hygiene routine, you can keep levels of this corrosive bacteria at bay.
This means you need to brush your teeth twice a day. Once when you get up and again when you go to bed. Use a soft-bristled brush and some fluoride toothpaste, which strengthens your tooth enamel. The aim is to brush gently so that you do not wear your tooth enamel away.
You also need to floss once a day. There is a trick to flossing and you can get the dental hygienist here at Sandown Dental & Implant Clinic in Belfast to show you how to do it. You need to get under the edge of the gums between the teeth to remove any plaque that is building up there.
You need to see the hygienist twice a year for a scale and polish to remove any build-up of plaque and tartar.
If you do all that, your dental hygiene will be in great shape.