Healthy teeth and gums: everything you need to know

We smile more than 232,000 times throughout life, so it’s worth looking after those pearly whites. Here’s how...

Brush basics

Worn-out toothbrushes are pretty useless: they won’t clean properly and can even damage your gums. So change yours every two to three months – and yes, that goes for electric toothbrush heads, too.

Flossing 101

• Hold the floss tightly, leaving no slack between your thumbs and forefingers.
• Stick to a pattern (eg, start at the top and work from left to right), so you’re less likely to miss teeth.
• Curve the floss into a C-shape against your tooth when it reaches your gum line.

• Forget the back of your last tooth.
• Shove the floss into your gums – ouch! Use a gentle rocking motion.
• Fret if you get bleeding gums to start with – it’s normal if you haven’t flossed before. But check in with your dentist if it doesn’t ease off after a few days.

Did you know?

It’s not just cakes and soft drinks that are high in sugar (a cause of tooth decay) – watch out for sauces and marinades, too. And chew sugar-free gum after eating to increase saliva flow, which can help protect teeth from sugar-produced acids.

Gum disease watch-outs

It’s not always painful, so you may be unaware you have it. If you have these symptoms, call your dental practice for advice:
• Red and swollen gums
• Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
• An unpleasant taste in your mouth
• Loose teeth that can make eating difficult.

So long, pong

In a recent study, 57% of people said Covid-19 and wearing a mask has made them more aware of their bad breath. Ew! Try these odour busters. Spritz: CB12 Spray in Mint. Scrape with Dentek Orabrush Tongue Cleaner and swill with Waken Mouthwash in Strawberry & Mint.

Should I use a mouthwash straight after brushing my teeth? 

No! According to the NHS, you shouldn’t use mouthwash (even a fluoride one) right after, because it’ll wash away the fluoride that’s left on your teeth from your toothpaste. Choose a different time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch, instead.

Whitening wonders

These will help supercharge your smile, however you choose to whiten…

The pen:
The Glo32 Advanced Whitening Stilo for on the go.

The polish:
Brush with Boots Charcoal Whitening Tooth Powder (32g).

The strips:
Spotlight Oral Care Teeth Whitening System (28 strips & 100ml toothpaste).

The trays:
BlanX O3X Supreme White Trays
(10-pack), promise up to 4x brighter teeth.

The toothpaste:
Colgate Max White Ultimate Catalyst Toothpaste
tackles deep stains.