What lurks between your teeth – and how to get rid of it!
A quick brush of your teeth is all very well, as far as it goes, but what about getting in at those nasties hiding among your teeth – or between your teeth and gums.
Simply by running your tongue around your mouth, you can often feel small pieces of food lurking in an out-of-the-way spot in your mouth.
But for every piece of food or debris that you can feel, we guarantee you that there are lots more that re too small for your tongue to find – but they’re there nevertheless, and causing damage if you don’t take action.
And even if you regularly brush your teeth, you need to be aware that the brush is intended for the general surfaces in your mouth, the front, back and biting surfaces of your teeth.
Any good workman will tell you that there’s a tool for every purpose, and when it comes to sorting those bits of debris that hide between gaps, you need a special tool.
Fortunately, if you visit any supermarket or chemists’ you’ll find no shortage of tools to help you. Some of them are particularly clever from an engineering perspective, but in our opinion, there are two tools that stand head and shoulders above all the rest.
We’re talking about floss and interdental brushes, of course. As far as we’re concerned, using these two in tandem will sort the vast majority of problem areas you’re likely to come across.
And a word of caution here about removing food particles from between your teeth. We regularly see people poking themselves with a toothpick and feel like tapping them on the shoulder and asking them to stop. You can cause a lot of problem to the soft gum tissue of you’re a little too aggressive with the wooden pick.
The benefits of flossing
Flossing has been around the longest, so let’s examine this tool first. It genuinely is one of the most important gifts you can give to your mouth, as the thin floss gets into parts that are almost impossible to reach with any other tool.
We accept that it takes a bit more time than simple brushing, and you have to work to get the floss into the right areas, but trust us when we tell you that it’s hugely beneficial in making sure that nothing is left in your mouth that shouldn’t be there.
If you’re not a regular flosser, doing it for ten days straight could soon turn it into a habit, and once you’ve experienced the super-clean sensation that flossing gives you, there’s every chance that the habit will be continued for life.
And remember that microscopic food particles that have started to rot are one of the causes of bad breath, so there’s an extra premium for you if you remove them – fresh breath confidence.
What about if I wear braces?
Clear braces are a brilliantly successful way of straightening your teeth in a very short period (usually around 6 month), but they can potentially provide an extra hiding place for bacteria or small food particles.
Clear braces have come down dramatically in cost in recent years, so there’s every chance that someone in your family will end up using them at some stage or another. If any youngsters end up with them, make sure that they understand the importance of being extra thorough in cleaning around the braces.
P.S. If, at any stage, you don’t understand a term we use in our blogs, here’s a useful glossary of terms from the Irish Dental Association – http://www.dentist.ie/your-oral-health/glossary-of-dental-terms.5622.html