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The Perfect Smile Starts with Good Dental Hygiene

Updated on April 16, 2014

The Perfect Smile Starts With Good Dental Hygiene.

Lets face it, who doesn't want the perfect pearly white smile? No celebrity comes without one these days, and with the advances of dental cosmetics it is something that is now available to everyone. But what people forget is that the perfect smile really does begin with good dental hygiene. Any cosmetic treatment done when the patient has poor oral hygiene is very likely to fail, as you need healthy gums and teeth to withstand the treatment on your teeth. And dentist work isn't cheap in this day and age so you could save yourself big bucks just by following some simple tips to maintaining good oral hygiene.

Ive been a qualified Dental Nurse for five years now and have seen alot of teeth in all kind of different conditions. It's amazing how many people don't know the basics of oral hygiene, such as how to brush your teeth properly, to brush twice a day, what floss is, and the attack of sugar on the teeth. This mostly comes down to a lack of education of dental hygiene and it's importance. People seem to think of looking after their teeth as a chore, too busy to brush in the morning, or too tired at night, and this is why I think it's important that good dental hygiene is encouraged by parents so that their children start looking after their teeth from day one, and continue to do so throughout their lives. Brushing regularly could even add years to your life, as there are now links between gum disease and heart disease. So it pays to keep you teeth in tip top condition!


Brushing your teeth twice a day is essential, once in the morning and once again at night time, ideally just before bed, or after all your meals and drinks. Using an electric toothbrush with 3000 revs is most ideal, as most of the hard work is done for you and they really do clean well when used correctly. The front and back of teeth should be brushed, and then the fissure surfaces. This is all to prevent the build up of bacteria in your mouth that can cause cavities. We all have bacteria living in our mouths, and everywhere else on our bodies, and when we eat sugary foods the bacteria feeds on the sugar and produces an acid, which then attacks the teeth. This bacteria is called plaque, which is a gooey film covering your teeth. The attack is most prominent for up to 30 minutes after eating a sugary snack, so if you're going to eat something sugary then eat it all at once. This is a mistake parents often make, letting their child space out their sweets. If they're going to eat sweets, which, lets face it what kids don't, let them eat them all at once, and then get them to brush their teeth afterwards. This will most definitely help to minimise decay, as you are leaving less chance of leaving anything sugary in the mouth for the bacteria to feed on. It doesn't mean you can't ever enjoy sugary foods, drinks or sweets again, just be aware of the attack on your teeth afterwards, and brushing after that snack or meal will minimise any harm to your teeth. Foods and drinks to look out for are fruit juices which are very acidic to the teeth, fizzy drinks, toffees and boiled sweets. Toffees can stick to fissures in your teeth which will cause decay, and sucking on a sweet is increasing the time of the acid attack. It's is also definitely advised not to give children fruit juices in a bottle. This also increases risk of decay. A tip for children and adults is to drink your juice through a straw. This allows the drink to have less contact with the teeth. Also be cautious of sugar-free products, as many of these also contain chemicals such as aspartame, which is an artificial sweetner that has been linked to causing cancer and tumours.


Flossing your teeth is just as important as brushing, as food and plaque can easily stick between the teeth and in those hard to reach places. Flossing enables you to remove the food and prevent acid attacks inbetween your teeth, which are common problem areas. To floss you just need to hold the floss at either end using both hands, gently slide inbetween your teeth and pull through. Floss can be used between front and back teeth, where spaces are tight. Some people may have bigger spaces between their teeth, and if this is the case floss won't be of much help. To clean in bigger spaces between the teeth I would advice using inter dental brushes, which are little brushes on the end of a little handle. The brush is flexible so can be bent and moved for easier access. They also come in different sizes so you can use them for all spaces, big or small. They are available from most supermarkets or pharmacies.

Keeping the gingiva clean

The gingiva, or gum as it is more commonly known, is often forgotten about, but it is just as vitally important to keep clean. When brushing your teeth also brush over your gums, and also over your tongue using small circular motions, to remove any build up of bacteria. Do not press too hard, you do not want to damage the gums. Gum disease is such a common problem these days, and as I said above this has been linked to heart disease. It is believed that bacteria underneath the gum line can seep into the blood stream and travel to the heart and other organs causing harm. A way to combat the build up of tartar, which is plaque that has hardened, is to have regular scale and polishes, either every 6 months or yearly. The Dental Hygienist would do this for you using a scaler that vibrates very quickly, enabling the hygienist to remove tartar from below the gumline, and anywhere else that is needed. They would then polish your teeth for you, which can remove many stains caused by culprits such as tea, coffee, red wine and cigarettes. Alot of people are pleasantly surprised by the benefits of regular scale and polishes.

Mouth Washes

There are many mouth washes on the market claiming to do this and that, but the best mouth wash comes down to personal preference. I wouldn't advice letting your child use mouth wash as they may end up swallowing some, and some contain fluoride which could be harmful to your child if swallowed in large quantities. Mouth washes really don't do much apart from help remove bits of food stuck between the teeth and make your breath small nice. Mouth washes containing chlorhexidine can stain your teeth, which can be removed with a scale and polish, but it's not advised to use on a daily basis. This kind of mouth wash is useful for gingiva infections, but not for daily use. The best mouth wash I could recommend if you do want to swill is salt water. The salt temporarly alkalinizes the mouth, which is the opposite environment that bacteria likes to live in. The salt is also helpful for sore gums. Again, not advised for children for risk of swallowing.

DON'T SMOKE!! Smoking can cause serious damage to your gums, receeding them quicker than non-smokers. And once that gingiva is lost it can never be replaced. That is why smokers are more likely to have gum disease as the toxins and chemicals in cigarettes have a devastating effect on the gums, as well as other parts of your body! Smoking will also stain your teeth and make your breath smell.

Looking after your teeth and gums is just as important as looking after any other part of your body. Remember that when the adult teeth go there is no getting them back. I hope you find this article interesting and useful and can follow some tips, as having the perfect smile really does begin with good dental hygiene!


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    • getdpg profile image

      Deepa 4 years ago from USA

      Good stuff , know more about the dental hygiene and Oral care visit to and read about 100% healthy mouth and Oral care products

    • GJ56 profile image

      GJ56 7 years ago

      Hi Michael, Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you found it useful : )

    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 7 years ago from Scotland

      Hi GJ56, A really good article with a lot of common sense and facts included.

      Great stuff. Michael.