10 Oral Health Mistakes We All Make

Pretty young woman brushing her teeth in the bathroom at home.

by Dr Richard Marques, Wimpole Street Dental

Dr Richard Marques, Wimpole Street Dental

Dr Richard Marques

1 No matter how well care you take of your teeth, you should still visit the dentist every six months. They can detect problems you might not be aware of and treat them before they become an issue.

2 Multitasking whilst brushing to save time can mean your teeth don’t get the full cleaning they need. Make sure you brush for two minutes in front of a mirror so nothing gets missed.

Pretty young woman brushing her teeth in the bathroom at home.

Pic: iStockphoto

3 Ignoring a chipped tooth, however minor, can affect the structure of the tooth and lead to additional chips and cracks. If it’s badly chipped, it could also require more serious treatment – like root canal.

4 When you’re dehydrated, your mouth becomes dry and creates a haven for bacteria to multiply rapidly. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your oral health tip-top.

Young woman drinking pure glass of water

Pic: iStockphoto

5 If you’ve had corrective braces, neglecting your retainer can un-do all the hard work they’ve done. Don’t forget to wear it for as long as recommended by your orthodontist – and keep it clean!

6 We all know smoking is bad for our health, and that includes our mouths. From bad breath and stained teeth to gum disease and potential tooth loss if not treated properly, make sure you ditch those cigarettes now!

7 If you don’t allow your toothbrush to air-dry after brushing, bacteria can multiply rapidly on the moist bristles. Be particularly careful to dry the head before placing in your travel case.

8 Using wooden toothpicks as a substitute for dental floss is risky as they can easily splinter and cause gum sensitivity. They’re also not very sanitary and can’t reach right between the teeth like regular floss can.

9 Mouthwash that contains alcohol can actually dry out the mouth, leaving it more susceptible to bacterial growth and bad breath. Stick to alcohol free rinses for a healthier smile.

10 As you sleep, your mouth produces less saliva, meaning bacteria multiplies quickly. Skipping your morning oral hygiene routine means the bacteria is hanging around in your mouth all day, so don’t do it!

For tips on sensitive teeth . . .

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!