Everything you need to know about dental health
When it comes to your dental health, it can be difficult to know exactly how to keep your whole mouth healthy. That’s why we got dentist Dr David Dunn from Macquarie Street Dental Centre in Sydney to answer some common dental health questions in the video above, to clear things up for us.
Can’t watch the video? Check out our Q&A with the expert below.
What’s the most effective method of brushing your teeth?
“Using an electric toothbrush, and most ideally a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, is proven to be most effective for plaque removal. This ensures that any deficiencies in technique or dexterity are mitigated by improved removal of plaque or biofilm [a film of bacteria] on the tooth surfaces between the teeth and underneath the gum line.”
What’s the difference between a sonic toothbrush and a regular electric toothbrush?
“The sonic motion is extremely gentle on the gums and teeth, and the built-in timer ensures adequate brushing time (two minutes). The sonic motion is also proven to be effective at breaking down biofilms remotely such as from between the teeth and below the gums – where a manual toothbrush is less effective. A manual toothbrush technique requires a very systematic approach and good manual dexterity, which for the young, elderly or for patients with complex dental reconstructions, can be difficult. Manual brushing with poor technique can lead to not only ineffective plaque removal, but irreversible damage to the gum tissues and your teeth, caused by the ‘scrubbing’ motion.”
Here at bh, we’re loving the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Rose Gold edition from the Sonicare range. Aside from the on-trend rose-gold colour, the great thing about this sonic toothbrush is its dual charging system. It has a charging glass that not only looks great on your bathroom counter but can also be used for rinsing after brushing. For when you're travelling, it comes with a charging travel case that charges via USB through your iPhone port, computer or TV outlet, making it super convenient no matter where you are.
What is gum disease and what can I do to prevent it?
“Gum disease is caused by bacterial-induced inflammation of the gums, leading to a bacterial plaque biofilm populating and maturing in a pocket formed between the gum and the teeth. This inflammation causes the gum to detach from the tooth, leading to a deepening of the pocket. Without removal of this biofilm deep below the gum, the process continues, leading to deeper and deeper pocketing and subsequent bone loss, especially in susceptible people, from around the teeth. Eventually the teeth can become loose, and can even fall out. Periodontal disease is the term used to describe this breakdown of the gum attachment and bone loss around teeth.”
What can I do to prevent gum disease?
“Gum disease is prevented by good dietary practice and appropriate home hygiene (twice-daily brushing with a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush and regular flossing) and regular professional care, including a minimum of twice-yearly professional cleaning/examination. This may be increased to three or four times a year if you are a susceptible patient, or have for example, complex restorative treatment that complicates home hygiene procedures.”
How can you avoid plaque build-up?
“You can't! Bacteria is found in all our mouths and forms the basis of plaque biofilm. Brushing twice daily with an electric toothbrush in conjunction with daily flossing to remove plaque from between the teeth is the basis of good oral hygiene, along with dietary considerations. Also, avoid highly refined carbohydrate diets and food and drinks that are high in sugar that encourage the formation of plaque biofilms.”
What are the best ways to keep your teeth looking white?
“Avoid highly staining foods and drinks such as black coffee and teas, curries, berries, etc. Or, at the very least, rinse with water immediately after consuming [these foods]. Smoking will also contribute to heavy staining of the teeth… Brushing teeth twice daily with an electric toothbrush will help to remove surface stains, and of course, professional in-chair or at-home teeth whitening procedures like Philips Zoom Whitening can remove intrinsic staining for a whiter, brighter smile.” Also, The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean has been clinically proven* to remove coffee, tea and red wine surface stains so you don’t have to go cold turkey on the foods you love.
Does coconut oil pulling really work to whiten and protect teeth?
“This is a natural health option which may be suitable for some patients [that are] more holistically orientated. There have been limited clinical trials and while it can't hurt you, it certainly should only be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.”
What's the best way to keep your whole mouth healthy?
“Proper home care with the right hygiene aids for your individual situation and regular preventative care with visits to a dental professional to treat any concerns immediately [are the best ways to keep your whole mouth healthy] – prevention is better than [a] cure!”
What should I look for when choosing a dentist and how often should I visit them?
“Ask friends or family members if they have had a positive experience with a dentist and, of course, trust your instinct! If you are seeing a dentist and find that you have continued issues caused by misdiagnosis or poor quality treatment, then you should judge if it’s best to continue your care, or perhaps look elsewhere. Pay attention to the quality and how up-to-date and modern the facility is, as well as the knowledge and helpfulness of the dentist and importantly, their supporting staff. Good communication and empathy is a critical part of a good practice and superior patient care. Never be afraid to ask questions, especially about options in your treatment and cost.”
*Colgan P, DeLaurenti M, Johnson M, Jenkins W, Strate J. Data on file, 2010
What are your top tips for a healthy mouth? Have you tried using a sonic toothbrush?