The main strategy available to all patients is a great home dental care routine. Official home oral care guidelines are based on clinical studies and proven research and observations. It is true that general recommendations may be sufficient for most patients, dentists may also suggest additional guidelines for individual patients in order to ensure the best results and as a preventive strategy.
Following the correct care at home is vital to your oral health and can greatly reduce or prevent the requirement for intervention in future. Patients need to spend the correct amount of time with due care and attention on their brushing routine, which should ideally include flossing. This will minimise the risk of enamel wear, cavities and periodontal disease. Your dental office will schedule the appointments you need – dental appointments only take up an hour or two per year, where as the proper home care takes daily consistent action which adds up to around 30 hours across a full year. Therefore it is important that this is quality time and not rushed in any way.
Dental associations such as ADA and BDA advise on three areas that should be discussed with patients. These are general recommendations which is relevant to the majority of patients, personalised recommendations which are personalised in order to meet the needs of individual patients where there is a greater risk of cavities and gingivitis. Thirdly lifestyle considerations to enhance dental and general health.
In summary general recommendations advise patients to ensure that they brush their teeth two times per day with fluoride toothpaste. If a patient is wearing orthodontic braces they will need to brush more often, this is generally four times per day, ie after each meal and using specialised toothbrushes. Patients should also clean between their teeth daily, this should be done at least once per day, it is not necessary to do this more than once per day. Patients should follow a healthy diet with reduced sugar sweets treats puddings or snacks. Patients should also attend regular checkups and cleanings.
Personalised recommendations offer additional advise to patients with increased risk of gum disease. The use of mouth wash can be considered or also the use of toothpaste with additional antimicrobial benefits. Fluoridated mouth rinse can also be used. For patients who find flossing difficult, interdental cleaning brushes and tools may be more suitable. If patients need better plaque removal, they can use a power toothbrush for this purpose.
Thirdly, lifestyle considerations recommended by the ADA and BDA include avoiding direct to consumer products such as home whitening or home straightening devices. Drinking fluoridated water is encouraged, quitting smoking is also encouraged for dental and general health benefits, and it is also advised that patients avoid oral piercings due to the greater risk of infection.
By following the above guidelines, patients can ensure that they improve their dental health, general health and achieve the best possible smile. A smile is your asset and can boost your confidence greatly. Follow this advice and ensure your family also follows this advice for the best possible results.