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The cause of the two main dental diseases (Gum disease and Tooth decay) is Plaque the sticky bacterial layer that grows in our mouths in the absence of good Oral Hygiene.(OH) Plaque is a biofilm ( Think of it as "Bug soup" - horrible I know, but a good description) In order to prevent dental disease this biofilm needs to be disturbed thoroughly and regularly.
A visit to the Hygienist does not just remove the hard deposit (commonly known as tartar) and those pesky stains from too many cups of tea or coffee but also disturbs the biofilm in those hard to reach areas which are difficult to access yourself. However, the rest of the time, disrupting this biofilm is up to YOU, using your toothbrush and other aids designed to get to the places a toothbrush cannot fit (after all you are with your teeth daily …we are not!)
If you wish to use a Fluoride mouthwash do this at another time during the day not after brushing as you are not gaining any extra benefit, then and will also have washed off all the fluoride toothpaste too.
The present situation means a lot more time at home for the vast majority of people and the temptation to snack more than usual. Unfortunately, constant snacking on refined carbohydrates (basically anything tasty like cakes biscuits sweets, white bread crisps etc) supplies the bacteria in our mouths with a food source so they can thrive and attack our teeth and gums.
It takes up to an hour after eating for the pH (acid/alkali level) in the mouth to return to normal, the saliva in our mouths dilutes and washes away the acid and in doing so helps to protect the teeth. If we snack again within that time frame the tooth surface will not have recovered and will have an increased vulnerability. If this pattern occurs repeatedly dental caries (tooth decay) will occur.
As we age or maybe have to take medication that reduces salivary flow causing a dry mouth, the protective function of saliva is reduced so a high standard of Oral Hygiene is even more important.
No one is perfect all the time, we all like a treat but trying to keep these treats with, or immediately after a meal and avoiding constant grazing on sugary foods will go a long way to avoiding dental decay and gum disease.
KEEP WELL everyone and keep smiling... sunshine is good for your teeth!
Thank you, Angie, that is such a helpful reminder for us all.
Page last updated 06/04/20