Plaque is a film of bacteria that builds up and coats your teeth if you don't brush them properly. It is the build up of plaque which contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. Tooth brushing and cleaning in between teeth stops plaque building up around your teeth and gums.
Brush your teeth for about two minutes twice a day, once should be last thing at night before you go to bed and on one other occasion every day.
Make sure you brush all the surfaces of all your teeth, which should take about two minutes. Remember to brush the inside surfaces, outside surfaces and the chewing surfaces of your teeth, holding your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle pointing towards the gum line.
Children need to be helped or supervised brushing their teeth until they're at least seven years old.
It's important to use a toothpaste with the right concentration of fluoride. Check the packaging to find out how much fluoride each brand contains.
Most importantly, making sure you thoroughly clean your teeth at least twice a day is more important than the type of brush you use.
For those who choose to use a manual toothbrush, for most adults, a toothbrush with a small head and medium bristles are best.
An electric brush can be recommended for some individuals depending on their own mouth, for example whether they have implants or bridges to look after. If your dentist recommends an electric brush, choose one with an oscillating or rotating. An electric brush provides a large amount of cleaning action with very little movement needed from the user, although you do need to position the brush correctly.
There are several dental items now available to clean in between your teeth, the most popular are floss and interdental cleaning brushes.
Interdental brushes come in various sizes. It may be helpful to ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct sizes for your mouth.
Hold the interdental brush between your thumb and forefinger. Gently place the brush through the gap between your teeth. Do not force the brush head through the gap. If the brush splays or bends then it is too big - you will need a smaller brush head for this space.
Many people use a mouthwash as part of their daily oral health routine.
Some mouthwashes contain an anti-bacterial ingredient to help reduce plaque and prevent gum disease. Mouthwashes may also contain fluoride to help prevent decay, and all will help to freshen your breath and wash away bits of food.
Should you choose to use a mouthwash for general use, it is very important to use it at a DIFFERENT time to brushing with toothpaste, so you do not rinse the toothpaste away straight after brushing.
If you are considering a more specific mouthwash to help with a specific condition, please ask your dentist for advice.