Every industry has those few precious nuggets of inside information that can make your life easier. From free airline upgrades, to making an elevator go directly to your chosen floor, we're all looking for an edge. So what do dentists know that you don't? Here's my list of pro tips for your teeth...
1. Don't rinse out your toothpaste. When you're done brushing, just spit out the excess toothpaste rather than rinsing with water. You'll be left with a thin film of toothpaste on your teeth, which will maximise the effect of the fluoride and will also help sensitive toothpastes to work more effectively.
2. Use an electric toothbrush. There's good evidence to show that you get a better clean from an electric toothbrush than with a manual one. Not only that, it's quicker and easier. Get hold of a rechargeable one so you don't need to worry about replacing batteries, and make sure the head has a round oscillating action for maximum benefit.
3. Floss when you feel like it. As long as you're flossing a minimum of once a day, it doesn't matter when you do it. You don't need to floss when you've just brushed your teeth. If you're anything like me, mornings can be rushed and flossing is one of the first things to be dropped. Floss when you've got time, be it in the shower, last thing before bed, or waiting for the photocopier at work.
4. Drink tap water. If you're on scheme water, then chances are the water from your tap has a regulated, optimum level of fluoride in it. Having that regular, tiny amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth throughout the day can reduce your risk of getting decay. So don't fork out loads of money for bottled water, save your money and save your teeth. If you don't like the taste of tap water, then a simple filter like the ones you put in a jug will not filter the fluoride out.
5. Watch out for acid. We all know that eating lots of sugar is not good for your teeth. Sugars are turned into acid by the bacteria in plaque, which then dissolves your teeth. That's what tooth decay is. Eating and drinking acidic things just cuts out the middle man. Limit your consumption of things like fizzy drinks, (even sugar-free versions), citrus, vinegar, strawberries, and tomatoes to avoid acid damage to your teeth.
6. Stay loose and relaxed. If you can make your mouth an easy place for a dentist to work in, treatment is quicker and simpler for everyone. One thing that can make a big difference is simply keeping your lips and tongue relaxed instead of tight. Don't try to "help" by moving your lips and tongue out of the way. It's much easier for the dentist to hold your relaxed soft tissues to the side, than to get in a wrestling match with a disobedient tongue.
Those are some of the secret tips that dentists use in their own lives, but sometimes forget to pass on to their patients. Now you too can brush, floss, eat and drink like a pro!