Ask an Expert: 5 Ways to Help Maintain a Healthy Smile (Dr Ho)

Dr Christopher Ho is an Oral-B expert and Sydney-based dentist. Here are his basic tips on how to maintain a healthy smile:

Invest in a power toothbrush

Power toothbrushes such as the Oral-B Triumph 5000 (pictured) and Oral-B BLACK use oscillating-rotating technology that is proven to remove up to twice as much plaque as a manual brush[1]. These power brushes also help to monitor excessive brushing that can lead to gum recession and wear down tooth enamel, as the microchips embedded in the brush heads and handles communicate with a wireless display unit which signals when you are brushing too hard.

To ensure you’re brushing for the dentist-recommended two minutes, the brushes emit a little vibration every 30 seconds, so you know when it is time to move to the next quadrant of the mouth. As dentists, we see a major improvement in patients’ oral health using this kind of innovative technology.


Avoid snacking on sweet treats

As a general rule, try to reduce sugary and starchy foods from your daily diet, as both sugar and starch can easily stick to your teeth, producing acids which can cause decay. If you do have a penchant for sweet treats or sugary drinks however, try to concentrate them to one time of day instead of snacking on sugar all day long and leave at least 2-3 hours between meals.

This gives the saliva in your mouth time to neutralise the effects of sugary foods, help plaque prevention and repair tooth enamel. One acid attack is less damaging than frequent attacks.

Drink plenty of water

Make sure you drink plenty of water during the day and evening, especially after sugary foods and drinks, as this will reduce the amount of acid that causes tooth decay and helps keep the mouth clean. When we are hydrated there is more saliva to neutralise acids which can lead to tooth erosion.

Opt for tap water whenever you can for the added benefit of fluoride which helps protect tooth enamel from decay and promotes healthy teeth. If you find drinking water all day a little dull, you could also drink green tea which contains polyphenols; antioxidant plant compounds that prevent plaque from sticking to your teeth. It also has potential for reducing bad breath as it inhibits the growth of the bacteria that causes odour.

Be sure to floss

While brushing twice a day for two minutes is essential, it’s also really important to floss on a daily basis to remove the plaque left between teeth which can cause cavities and bad breath. It’s especially important to floss after eating meat. If the stuck meat fibres are left overnight without cleaning, the fibres may petrify and release an acid which acts on the tooth causing it to decay and cause gum problems.

Schedule regular visits to the dentist

A regular check-up every six months will help identify potential issues earlier and a professional clean will help remove built up plaque.

[1] Klukowska M, et al., Comp Cont Ed Dent 2014; 35: 702-706

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