Neutral Bay Family Dental

116 Military Road,  Neutral Bay, NSW 2089,  02 9908 4028
Within the Neutral Bay Medical Centre

Oral Hygiene

Keeping your teeth and gums health is important to stop future decay, gum disease and maintaining your overall health. It also keeps them looking their best and prevents bad breath!

Good oral hygiene means:

  • Teeth are clean and free of plaque and debris
  • Gums that are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush, floss and eat
  • No bad breath!

Our recommendations
  1. Brush for two minutes twice a day

    How to brush:
    • On the outside and inside surface of your tooth, we recommend using the bristles of the brush to making little circles on the tooth surface. Try to aim the bristles at a 45 degree angle towards your gum line so it sweeps up plaque along the gum border whilst you do the circular motions. On the biting surface of your tooth brush back and forth to remove debri stuck in the tooth grooves. Brush each tooth surface in a systematic fashion so no areas of your mouth is missed. Be careful to not ‘overbrush’ but using a toothbrush with too hard bristles or scrubbing too hard especially on the side of your teeth. This may lead to gum recession and toothbrush abrasion where you actually brush away part of your tooth making these area sensitive and unsightly.
    • You should also gently brush the top of your tongue with your toothbrush or tongue scraper to remove decay, gum disease and bad breath causing bacteria as they like to hide here too.
    Which toothpaste?

    There are many toothpaste on the market. We recommend using at least a fluoride toothpaste that is age specific. The fluoride in the toothpaste will help heal and prevent early decay. Fluoride has been clinically proven to reduce decay. It is used topically to strengthen tooth enamel and remineralize weakened teeth. Spit out any excess toothpaste after brushing, but don’t rinse. This leaves a film of toothpaste over the teeth. For people with sensitive teeth, a fluoride toothpaste with potassium nitrate or arginine may help reduce sensitivity. They work by creating an insulating layer that reduces pain signals to the nerve of your teeth. Click here to find out the causes of teeth sensitivity. Many people often ask about whitening toothpaste. Generally these may contain some whitening ingredients in low concentrations and/or abrasives which only clean superficial stains off your teeth. It is best to come in and let Dr. Lynette Lim assess your situation before committing to these toothpaste as the whitening effect may be disappointing for your goals, or the abrasives may cause more damage than good.

    Which toothbrush?

    We recommend any toothbrush with soft to medium bristles. Electric toothbrushes can be useful especially for those with less manual dexterity. Many electric toothbrushes have an inbuilt two minutes timer so are an easy way to ensure you follow the two minute brushing recommendation.

  2. Floss daily.

    Your toothbrush bristles are unable to get completely between your teeth. Any food that gets stuck there or plaque that grows into the area that is not disrupted becomes stagnant and can be the cause of a future cavity or bad breath!

    How to floss:

    Floss can come come flavourerd, in multifilament, single filament, waxed, unwaxed, tape or like a string and can come in pre-taught handles. It really dosen’t matter which you use, as long as you use it daily. Use the one you find easiest.

    Interdental brushes are an alternative floss. They are little brushes that clean between your teeth like floss but are more suited if the space between your teeth is large or you have had gum disease or recession causing the space between your teeth to increase over time. With wider spaces between your teeth, interdental brushes are more efficient compared to floss at removing any debri. They come in various sizes, you want to chose the largest size that fits though comfortably- to small, reduces efficiency, too big can damage the teeth and gums. Interdental brushes are also useful for cleaning between braces!

    Water picks, Water flosses, water irrigators, air flosses, etc…. you may have heard of these recent alternatives devices to flossing when cleaning between your teeth that use air or water to clean between your teeth. They do a great job of flushing food and debris out from between teeth, under braces and under and around fixed bridges. Unfortunately, they DO NOT remove plaque like floss does because effective flossing literally “wipes” the sticky plaque off teeth these devices can only “rinse” these areas.

  3. Visit us twice a year for regular check ups and professional cleaning.

    Some areas can be impossible to keep constantly clean on your own and maybe missed. We help you clean these areas meaning less future decay and your older fillings will last longer if properly maintained.

What about mouthwash?

Mouthwash is most useful for those with high decay or gum disease risk. Or if you have an acute gum infection. There are two main types:

  1. Antibacterial Mouthwash
    It works be reducing the number of bad bacteria in your mouth which causes these diseases
  2. Fluoride Mouthwash
    Once again, the added fluoride helps strengthen and mineralized teeth

Mouthwash however is not a substitute for brushing or flossing. If you do use a mouthwash, follow the manufacturer's instructions as overuse with some products can cause temporary staining of teeth- however if this does occur these can easily be removed with a professional clean.

Unfortunately there is no best toothpaste, toothbrush, magical floss or mouthwash. It all comes down to good old physical removal of plaque to reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Diet Advice for oral health

No surprises for guessing this one, but reduce sugar intake. Decay causing bacteria love sugar. Sugar makes the grow and thrive, thus increasing your risk of getting holes Limit snacking. It is better to eat larger balanced meals than constantly snacking. Each time you eat, decay causing bacteria eat producing acid as their by product. The acid attacks your tooth and can cause a hole. Fortunately, our saliva neutralizes/buffers the acid attack. But this process takes about 20 minutes before the acid is weakened. Frequent snacking means your mouth is constantly exposed to decay producing acid Following on from the last point, chewing sugar free gum helps to promote increase salivary flow thus helps neutralize and wash away the nasty bacteria acids Reduce consumption of acid foods and beverages. Just like bacteria acid, acid from our diet can soften and damage our teeth. Teeth erosion caused by dietary acids is not uncommon in those that drink a lot of soft drinks or chew or suck on citrus foods for prolonged amounts of time. If you do have something acidic, try and drink water or rinse with water afterwards

Dr. Lynette's Profile Picture By Dr. Lynette Lim