Brushing teeth too hard

Tooth Myths Debunked – you have probably been doing it wrong!

You might have heard or learned a lot about brushing your teeth and how best to look after them – but the things we often learn or hear or even what we teach our kids about oral hygiene is not always factually correct.

Myth: you should Wet your toothbrush

You do not actually need to wet your toothbrush before you add tooth paste to it. If you wet your toothbrush for softer bristles, then you should just opt for a soft bristled toothbrush. If you wet your toothbrush to better lather the toothbrush, you should have enough saliva in your mouth to do this – there is no need to wet the toothbrush. Wetting your toothbrush can dilute the fluoride content in the toothpaste. If you really feel you must wet your toothbrush, use a minimal amount of water.

Myth: add a nice slug of toothpaste

Adverts are very misleading – when toothpaste is being applied to the toothbrush, the TV ad usually shows toothpaste being pushed out the tube and the length of the toothbrush, from end to end – the toothpaste worm. It is in the interest of marketers that we consume as much toothpaste as possible so that we end up needing to buy tooth paste more often. The truth is, we only need a pea sized amount to brush our teeth. Any more toothpaste than this, will not give you better results. It will only waste more money.

Myth: Cleaner teeth mean hard brushing

You should not apply too much pressure when brushing your teeth. Brushing too hard and vigorously will not get the teeth any cleaner then using a lighter stroke. Hard brushing could damage the teeth by eroding the enamel over time. By brushing hard, you may be increasing your chances of cavities because the enamel protects the inner part of the tooth and hard brushing wears the enamel away. Also, try to opt for soft to medium bristled toothbrushes. Very hard bristles can also damage the tooth enamel.

Myth: flossing is important

This has been debated in the recent years by dentists and professionals in the area. In the USA, flossing has been removed from the Dietary Guidelines issued by the ADA (American Dental Association). Public Health England also started reviewing their recommendations back in2016. The British Dental Association doesn’t particularly champion flossing or discourage it. It does however, recommend small single tuft tooth brushes which can help reach areas in between the teeth that conventional tooth brushes may not. Although strong evidence in favour of flossing is lacking, with no major study concluding it is important, it does not mean flossing is useless or that you shouldn’t floss.

Myth: chewing gum cleans your mouth

Not a replacement for brushing your teeth – chewing [sugar free] gum can have a protective effect on the teeth, but it does not actually clean them anywhere close to the way a good brushing would. The benefits of chewing gum are in the production of saliva. Gums stimulates more saliva to be produced which means your mouth can wash away acids from food and drinks that can erode the tooth enamel. If the gum Xylitol, it can help redouble the effects of saliva.

Myth: If I cut out sugar, I will avoid cavities

Sugar is bad for your teeth- we all know this. But crisps and crackers can also be bad for teeth, in fact they may be even worse. The starch content in these foods is high. Carbohydrates contain sugars and the sugars found in the carbs you take in when eating crisps, can damage the teeth.

Myth: avoid brushing gums if they bleed

This is a difficult one to explain. Bleeding is a sign of infection in the gum but sometimes actually getting your gums to bleed can help with the heeling process. If you notice your gums bleeding, don’t be afraid to brush them – you should always brush your gums along with your teeth anyway. In fact, brushing will help your gums heal, even if it means more bleeding. However, we do suggest you visit your dentist to see what the cause of the gum bleed is.

If you already new all this, hats off to you. We hope all our patients learn all there is to learn to help them maximise their oral health.

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Whitening teeth

A handful of quick and useful tips for whiter and brighter teeth

Professional whitening is a great way of enhancing the whiteness of our teeth, lightening stains and getting a nice, even tone. The results of a professional whitening of course are not always the same; they depend very much on how well we have looked after our teeth as well as the nature of our own teeth (which varies from person to person). The efficacity depends on several factors which can be both external (such as diet, medications etc) as well as genetics, structure etc.

It is important to note that whitening treatments will not keep your teeth permanently white and despite the fact that professional whitenings do no harm to the teeth, they may become less effective as years go by and on older teeth. Keeping away from certain foods and beverages can help keep your teeth white for longer. A dentist will be able to advise you on what type of whitening is best for you and what results you can expect.

Good oral hygiene & regular check-ups

We cannot stress just how important good oral hygiene is – not only for whiter, brighter teeth but also for better oral health. If it’s the pearly whites you have in mind, you may want to consider flossing, whitening tooth pastes or whitening strips. Importantly, keep your check-ups regular to ensure good oral health as well as cleaner teeth and avoid build-up of tartar or plaque. If you are looking for a dentist in Malta, then contact our clinic, let’s set up an appointment and discuss how to maximize your oral health.

Some products can stain your teeth

There are certain products we tend to regularly consume which could stain our teeth. Usually staining is caused by pigment substances in the drinks we consume that can adhere to the enamel or even penetrate the enamel thus staining the teeth.

Wine, coffee and other drinks

A glass of vino never goes amiss – but it is worth bearing in mind that both red and white wine can stain the teeth. If it is red wine, then chromogens are to blame. Chromogens are chemical compounds that can be readily converted into a dyes. The tannins in red wines (as well as other drinks we consume) can aggravate the problems as they actually make it easier for the chromogens to bind to the tooth enamel.

With white wine the issue is a bit different – white wine is often acidic and it is the acidity of the wine which can cause your enamel to erode and reveal what lies beneath it – the rather yellowish looking dentine. The dentine is not only a less visually pleasing yellow but also makes our teeth more sensitive.

Tip: Avoid brushing right after drinking wine as this can actually cause damage to the teeth. Read more about how to achieve the best results when brushing your teeth by clicking here.

You may also [wait for it] want to try drinking wine or any other drink that has the potential to stain with a straw. And finally, the less time the drink is in contact with your teeth, the more we reduce the chances of staining. Hence, if you enjoy sipping your wine, savouring it, swirling it in your mouth etc you are increasing your chances of staining.

The list: foods and drinks to avoid

Here is a non-exhaustive list of foods and drinks that have the potential to stain your teeth:

Coffee, tea, soft drinks, dark juices (such as cranberry, blueberry or grape), eating fruits that dark juices are made of, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, beetroot, some hard sweets (usually coloured ones).

Your teeth as they age

As years go by, wear and tear of the teeth causes tiny microscopic fissures and cracks. The cracks mean that any drinks or foods we consume can penetrate the tooth enamel more easily. Typically these deeply inset stains can challenging to remove.

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Medical Doctor

Are my teeth and gums healthy? A few checks you can do yourself

You should be asking yourself this question and take a quick look at the inside of your mouth from time to time. A few checks and you should have a fair idea of whether your teeth and gums are healthy or perhaps whether there may be some underlying condition which may require a visit to the dentist’s.

Look at your gums

We seem to invariably concentrate on looking at our teeth and how straight, clean or white they are, often ignoring our gums. People many times don’t realize just how important the gums, the tongue and our entire mouth actually is.  Healthy gums should not be any other colour but pink. If they appear too red or too white, then there could be a dental issue. You may find yourself wondering if your gums are the right “healthy” pink or not. Running your fingers gently on the surface of your gums should be a good check for you to carry out hand in hand with your gum colour check. If sliding your finger across your gums results in any discomfort, pain or bleeding there could be an underlying problem.

What about my tongue?

You should examine your entire mouth – oral health is called “oral health” because it is concerned with the overall health of all parts of the mouth not just the teeth. Your tongue should be pink (not white or crackled) and you mouth should feel moist which a constant flow of saliva. Saliva is important for a number of reasons – besides carrying out part of the digestive process, it also help flush and clean our mouths. If you suffer from a dry mouth, a condition known as xerostomia, you should definitely get it seem to. A dry mouth can be a side effect of some medications but it can also be a sign of an underlying condition like diabetes or Alzheimer’s. When brushing your teeth remember to also brush your tongue. Plaque build up also happens here and brushing will ensure a healthier mouth, preventing bad breath and a host of other potential issues.

What about my breath?

We may begin by keeping in mind that as nice and fresh as that minty after taste from mouth wash or toothpaste is, our mouths and breaths do not naturally smell minty. This said, a healthy mouth shouldn’t smell good or bad but rather neutral. Mouths that emit foul odours are indicative of something happening either in the mouth (perhaps tooth decay) or the stomach or in both.

Bleeding gums?

Gums can bleed from time to time, so a bit of blood is not usually anything to be concerned about. However, if you see that bleeding is consistent and happens with every brushing it might be time to visit us.  The number one cause of bleeding gums is built up plaque. You can begin by going over your brushing technique; you may not be using the correct motions or perhaps not actually brushing your gums but only your teeth (a common mistake we often hear about when talking to our patients). Brushing too hard can also cause the gums to bleed – keep light-handed, no need to for pressure or vigorous brushing.

Time to visit your dentist?

Now that you’ve read this, are you ready to make sure to keep your mouth healthy? Camilleri clinic is one of Malta’s leading dental clinics. Based in Sliema, we are a team of dentists available to guide you and help you achieve optimal oral health. We believe in long-term relationships with every one of our patients and strive to provide you with the level of treatment that we hope will leave you beaming or at least happy enough to return to your preferred dentist.

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brushing teeth

5 tips to brushing your teeth

Brushing your teeth is essential to long term oral health. Not only this, but if you aim to have whiter and cleaner teeth and not lose the confidence to smile, a few tips about how to brush teeth will go a long way.

Wait before brushing

People often run to brush their teeth straight after they eat – they often are compelled to do this because of an odd taste in their mouth or because they are conscious of unpleasant breathe – or perhaps just out of habit. We know that food consumption does cause bacteria to grow in the mouth but after eating or consuming beverages other than water, your enamel is at its softest which means you also more at risk of wear and tear. If you really feel you need to brush your teeth after a meal, wait 30 minutes to give your enamel time to harden.

Also remember to keep your consumption of sugary drinks and foods as well as those high in acids to moderate to low amounts.

Brush twice a dayBrushing teeth

Brushing too often is not good for your teeth as it could results in loss of enamel from the teeth. Ideally twice a day is fine. The aim of tooth brushing it to remove food and plaque from between the teeth. Not brushing will result in problems – erosion and cavities. Plaque will start to form which might require scaling and cleaning. Whilst Camilleri dental clinic can provide all types of dental treatment, we still believe prevention is better than having to resort to dental and oral treatments that are due to poor oral hygiene.

What else should I do?

  • Floss – this can help remove those nitty gritty particales tightly wedges in the deep recesses of your mouth.
  • Drink water – at least 8 glasses a day. This will help keep your mouth flushed clean and reduce acids and bacteria.
  • Follow a healthier diet with less sugar and acidic foods and drinks
  • Reducing length of snacking time
  • Replace toothbrush (around every 4 months)

Brush your teeth in the morning

Brushing your teeth in the morning is important as after a night’s sleep there is a build up of tarter. It also prevents or eliminates the dreaded morning breathe and gets your salivation flowing.

Brush at a 45 degree angle

Hold your tooth brush at around 45 degrees and use upward movements to lift out any food particles and debris from between the teeth – do not press when you brush your teeth as this can cause damage to the enamel over the long term.  Brushing should last around 2 minutes.

Steps to follow

  • Use a soft brush (although this is a preference, very hard bristles may discourage or inhibit proper brushing)
  • Clean the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth
  • Brush your tongue
  • Brush your gums
  • Do not rinse your mouth to ensure the fluoride in tooth paste gets absorbed by the teeth
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