Improving and maintaining dental hygiene has never been more important for adults. Processed foods that are high in sugars and sweeteners and a shortage of dentists have contributed to the fact that eighty percent of adults have had to have at least one filling and thirty percent have some form of gum disease, according to the British Dental Health Foundation.

There are many things adults can do to ensure that their oral hygiene is maintained and many are cheap and fit easily into the daily routine.

Brushing your teeth is an obvious way to ensure good dental hygiene and prevent decay, plaque and bad breath. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Two minutes is the optimum time for cleaning as it is long enough for each face of each tooth to be cleaned but not so long as to damage the gums by over brushing.

It is important to change your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every two to three months to ensure that it is effective. Although rinsing your toothbrush after use will clean some bacteria, some will remain on the bristles. Toothbrush bristles become soft with use, so changing your brush regularly will help.

Eat Less Sugary Foods

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Cutting down on sugary foods and snacks, and brushing your teeth as soon as possible after consuming them, will help to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria that could cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Regular dental check ups and hygienist appointments will help to pinpoint any problems while they are still only minor, and a hygienist clean every few months will help to maintain a healthy mouth. Dentists should not only be visited in an emergency, with a broken tooth or a raging toothache, but as part of a regular routine.

Don’t Forget To Floss!

Flossing is a good habit to initiate, as the floss will remove any small particles of food caught between the teeth that may harbour bacteria. Flossing after every meal will keep your mouth fresh.

Rinsing with an alcohol free mouthwash after brushing will remove any bacteria and plaque that the brush can not reach, and help to ensure fresh breath.

Good oral hygiene is not only about cleaning your teeth and gums, as bacteria can also fester on the tongue. A tongue scraper will remove any build up and is best used after cleaning your teeth in the morning. Some modern toothbrushes have a tongue scraper on the reverse to save time and money.

Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water will not only improve general health, but also dental health. Preventing a dry mouth will stop bacteria building up which can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. Chewing gum after meals may also help to increase saliva production and prevent a dry mouth.

Some foods and drinks may be harmful to teeth by staining the enamel or by dissolving it with acid. Chemicals like tannins in drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine stain the teeth and dry out the mouth. Brushing your teeth immediately afterwards if possible will help to remove any stains. Fruit juices, although seemingly healthy, are also bad for teeth. The fruit acids and sugars in the juices are harmful and can dissolve the tooth enamel.

Eating cheese immediately after a meal is an old wives tale which has been proven to actually work. The cheese neutralises acid in the mouth which can attack teeth. It has long been known that milk is good for teeth, but eating cheese can cause an alkaline layer to form on the teeth, preventing the acid from reaching the enamel.

About the author: This post was written by Nick Davison for MapleLeaf Dental, Nick writes about a wide range of health related topics, including indiginous medicine and clinical research.

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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