This series of dental life hacks will reveal everything on how to keep teeth healthy for a lifetime, from stopping the ageing process to avoiding cavities. In the words of Steven Bartlett, I hope no one is reading this, but if you are, please keep this to yourself.
Welcome to the Diary of Marylebone Smile Clinic one of the best cosmetic dentist in London, located at 66 Harley Street.
In terms of teeth, this refers to the wearing down of the edges and general untidiness that seems to affect teeth in middle age. How to avoid it – well we recommend wearing a retainer every night indefinitely. Before you stop reading, hear me out!
A retainer is a thin plastic shield that hugs the teeth and is custom made to your teeth. Owing to its rigidity, it stops your teeth moving, but also stops any bad effects from night time grinding. The first benefit is that your teeth will not drift and move. This is something that occurs in everyone, albeit very slowly and contributes to poor dental aesthetics later in life. A retainer halts this in its process.
Secondly, the less contact your teeth have outside of normal chewing, the less wear and tear you can expect.
Whitening is the typical ‘dentist’ answer, and although we are biased, it’s absolutely true that the most natural and effective whitening systems are bleach or hydrogen peroxide based. As long as you can bear the sensitivity (it’s temporary!), you can maintain white teeth for life. The only catch is that you MUST retain your enamel, which is the white hard shell around each tooth.
The Daily Express recently published our thoughts on nonprofessional whitening here.
Sometimes called holes, rot, caries, decay, gob rot. All these terms refer to the same thing, which is the breakdown of dental hard tissue by the action of sugar and bacteria. How to avoid it? It’s not a clear answer as there are several points to note:
- Limit your sugary intake to 3-4 exposures per 24 hours
- After a sugary food/drink, rinse or drink plain water to dilute the sugar
- Use a fluoride based toothpaste, with at least 1000ppm concentration, twice daily
- See a dentist at regular intervals to screen for decay and optimise oral health
- Request ‘fissure sealants’ and ‘fluoride varnish’ to reduce your risk further
- Ensure you get your teeth straightened to reduce risk
- If soft teeth run in your family, be extra vigilant with the above
Often neglected and poorly understood, bacteria can also destroy gum tissue, making teeth wobbly and eventually lost! We must be careful on this, and consider that dental treatments are great, but they will never be as good as a natural tooth. Preserving what we have is paramount, and the keys are:
- Brush teeth properly with a soft bristled toothbrush twice per day, including brushing teeth before bed
- Angle your tooth brush towards the gum for optimum dental hygiene
- Use an electric circular toothbrush
- If you have a manual toothbrush ask your dentist for tips on technique – this includes for cleaning your tongue!
- Use an interdental brush of the correct sizing – once per day and seek advice with your dentist
- See a dental hygienist regularly, but not too much!
Dentine hypersensitivity has been researched into oblivion in recent years, and it seems we still do not fully understand exactly why we all have varying experiences with sensitivity. I will save the scientific details for another time, but the remedies are here!
- Avoid extreme temperatures, remember our teeth are not really designed for ice cream and boiling coffees
- Sensitive toothpastes – choose one and stick to it for several weeks to see if it is effective. They all have different modes of action, so you may need to try a few to find yours
- CPPACP – This is a compound that is marketed as Tooth Mousse, and is an excellent desensitiser – use it within your retainer for a couple of hours or overnight for maximum benefit.
6) Types of toothpaste
There are broadly three-four types:
- Sensitive (also fluoridated)
We recommend only using the top two, that is fluoridated or sensitive toothpastes to maintain good teeth. These are protective and not too abrasive like the whitening or smoker’s toothpastes. Avoid non-fluoridated toothpastes at all costs. There is only one or two active ingredients in toothpastes – that’s fluoride.
Toothpaste tabs follow the same principles as above, but they are delivered in a different form.
Consider that if you are eating something hard or tough, consider cutting it into smaller pieces first. Your back teeth are much better designed for heavy loading that the front teeth. Apples and fruit we typically bite into with our front teeth, however, the acidity and frequency we eat these foods can cause acid erosion. If you can, try to cut into smaller pieces first to maintain healthy teeth.
Drink carbonated and fruit juices with a straw – the idea being that the drink contacts your teeth less so than via a glass or cup. Alcoholic drinks can be both sugary and fizzy – so consume with moderation and use a straw where available.
Thumb suckers and pen biters! Some of the most avoidable damage that occurs to teeth is from using your teeth as a third hand and/or as a tool. Teeth are not designed to cut sticky tape and they should not be chewing on anything other than food. Habit breaking techniques are available through dentists and although it might be difficult to stop, it will help your teeth stay intact over a lifetime.
Contact sports include Football, Hockey, Rugby, BJJ, Karate, Krav Maga and many others. Be sure to have a custom sports guard made that you can wear on your upper set of teeth only. This cushions the force of your lower jaw impacting your upper, increasing the chances you will save your teeth. The damage can be catastrophic in sports accidents, and our advice is to never let the risk of your teeth stop you playing sports – but go into it protected with a sports guard. Remember sports guards are part of your oral care, just as a toothbrush is at home.
These are made from varying compositions but it is usually a thermoformed acrylic in 3-4mm thickness.
10) Be aware of fads
Every so often, someone will cast doubt into whether we should be using fluoride, or silver fillings or even flossing. Stay true to tried and tested methods that ensure dental health. It is not a subject that needs reinventing every decade, so when the next influencer or health guru encourages a radically different approach, think twice!
Healthy teeth can be maintained with the principles we have discussed alongside some expert assistance from your dentist. Usually, a dentist can accelerate your progression to healthier teeth/gums, but the first steps lie with you in looking after yourself day-day.
Some of what we have advised in this article for keeping your teeth healthy might seem like common sense, and some of it is a well-guarded secret of dentistry. Read it again to learn twice as much.
If you happen to be struggling with any of the above, our cosmetic dentists are at hand to help at Marylebone Smile Clinic.
How to improve the health of teeth?
Avoid sugary intake to 3-4 times per 24 hours. See a dentist regularly to assist in checking for cavities and that your home care is sufficient. Each individual has their own susceptibility to dental health issues, so a personalise approach is required – there is no one approach that suits everyone.
How to make teeth stronger?
Thorough and regular oral hygiene at home coupled with seeing a dental hygienist frequently. Use a fluoridated toothpaste twice daily and wear removable retainers every night. Consider using CPP-ACP within the retainers every so often to help the remineralisation process.
How to improve dental health fast?
See a dentist fast! Depending on your specific health situation, you will require an examination and diagnosis before carrying forward a treatment plan. Speed is not always possible in healthcare, and much of this is in your hands as to how closely you follow your dentist’s instructions.
That being said, if you are very motivated and ready to change your habits, we have seen amazing results in a matter of a few weeks.
How to get the perfect teeth?
Straight, neat, white teeth that are absent of any disease are usually a good goal to set. Once you have achieved dental health, optimising the aesthetics of a smile is an in-depth process that needs attention to detail and a bespoke approach. Many opt for porcelain veneers or composite bonding as they allow flexibility and almost complete control over the end result.
Perfect is a subjective term and how your teeth sit within your lips, jawline and face overall can be critical. Seeing a cosmetic dentist can achieve this but be sure to do your research on the results of a dentist in their Smile Gallery.
Want to know more?
Get in touch to enquire about our services or to book an appointment.