We all know that bushing twice daily and flossing regularly is recommended by dental professionals but what about the best time to brush, when to use a mouthwash, how much toothpaste to apply and the best breakfast choices to keep our teeth and gums healthy? These are all questions that need answering before we start our day.
Start your day the right way by practicing a good oral hygiene regime every morning. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can help to switch off those sleep hormones, wake you up and prepare you for the day ahead. Establishing a good daily routine will not only keep your teeth sparkling and your breath fresh but it will also help to prevent long term oral and general health problems.
Even if you brush your teeth really well before bed, you still need to clean first thing in the morning. That’s because when we sleep, we switch off some of our plaque fighting mechanisms so the bacteria in our mouth is able to grow at a much quicker rate than during the day. This is one reason why it’s common to experience furry teeth and bad breath first in the morning. The furriness you can feel is actually living bacteria.
Choose a toothbrush, ideally electric, with medium textured bristles. This will ensure the bristles are firm enough to remove plaque but soft enough not to scratch the gums. Brush for at least 2 to 3 minutes ensuring you reach the gum as well as the tooth. Brush before breakfast to provide the teeth with fluoride protection ahead of eating or drinking. If you want to freshen up after eating either rinse with some water or chew on some sugar free gum. Try to avoid brushing immediately after eating as some acidic foods commonly consumed at breakfast can temporarily soften the enamel.
Fluoride is a mineral commonly added to toothpaste because it is known to prevent tooth decay. It works by strengthening the enamel and protecting it from acid attacks throughout the day. Make sure you choose a toothpaste containing fluoride and apply it to your dry toothbrush before thoroughly brushing it around your teeth. Spit out the excess and don’t rinse afterwards, this will allow the fluoride minerals to be absorbed for maximum protection.
Plaque bacteria likes to find dark, warm, sheltered areas where it can be left to bread. In our mouths those areas are in between our teeth. That means we have significantly more plaque bacteria between our teeth where our toothbrushes can’t reach. Flossing or using aids like interdental brushes is an essential part of cleaning our teeth properly. This should be done every time we brush to ensure no bugs are left behind.
The human tongue acts as a host for most of the bacteria in our mouths. Have a look at your tongue first thing on a morning. - that yellowish coating you see is a collection of food debris, bacteria and dead cels all of which contribute to bad breath. Gently cleaning your tongue either with your tooth brush or with a tongue scraper will help to promote fresh breath, reduce the risk of gum disease, enhance taste and boost your immunity & digestive health.
Routinely using a mouthwash isn’t considered an essential part of your daily oral healthcare routine unless it has been specifically recommended for you by a dental professional. Strong mouthwashes used too often can alter the microbiome in the mouth by killing too much of the good bacteria. Choose carefully and use sparingly is the general advice. If you want to use a mouthwash, use it at a separate time to brushing for instance in the middle of the day. Never use immediately after brushing. Always choose a mouthwash containing essential oils and avoid those containing chlorhexidine as this will stain the teeth.
Excessive consumption of sugar leads to tooth decay and frequent consumption of acidic food & drinks is associated with erosive tooth wear but that’s not where the importance of diet ends. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection which can contribute to gum disease. Proper nutrition also helps saliva to fulfil its function and maintain a healthy ph balance by reducing the acid in your mouth that weakens enamel. The act of chewing is really important for stimulating saliva production so choose breakfast that is low in sugar and requires lots of chewing like whole grain low sugar cereals, plain yoghurt, nuts, seeds and fresh fruit. Try to avoid high sugar spreads and refined carbohydrates.
Almost all dental disease is preventable including tooth decay and gum disease. Establishing a good morning routine and sticking to it every day will help to prevent disease and keep your mouth and body healthy for the rest of your life.