Atlas Healthcare
Abate Rigord Street, Ta' Xbiex
T: 21 322 600 | E: denplan@atlas.com.mt
 
Dental wellbeing tips

How often should I brush my teeth and for how long?
Clean your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste containing 1350-1500 parts per million of fluoride and don’t rinse after brushing. 

How often should I floss my teeth?
Flossing is an effective way of cleaning plaque from between your teeth so should be done on a daily basis. Special mini brushes are alternatives to floss and can be gently pushed between your teeth.

How often should I brush my tongue?
The tongue tends to be self cleaning; it has a movable surface and is constantly covered in saliva so bits of food don’t hang around for long. Your teeth are also covered in saliva but since they are hard and immovable, the food is more likely to latch on. For people who feel they have a problem with bad breath, tongue brushing may help.

When is the best time to brush?
Many people have acidic foods or drinks at breakfast such as orange juice or grapefruit that can temporarily soften the top layer of your tooth (the enamel) and brushing straight afterwards could remove this surface layer and over time lead to loss of enamel. So it is best either to brush before breakfast or wait for thirty minutes afterwards, by which time the softened layer will have hardened up again. Ideally brush your teeth after meals too and definitely before bed.

How does tooth sensitivity come about?
The top layer of your tooth (the enamel) has no nerve endings in it. However the bulk of the tooth inside (the dentine) contains numerous nerve endings and is highly sensitive. The enamel acts like an insulator and if it becomes worn away, the dentine can become exposed and teeth can become painful with hot or cold drinks. If the gums have shrunk back to expose the top parts of the roots of the teeth this can also cause sensitivity.

Why do I get mouth ulcers?
Some people are naturally more susceptible to mouth ulcers. In some cases frequent ulcers may indicate an underlying medical condition, for example people who are anaemic are more likely to suffer from them. Ulcers that persist for more than two weeks should be checked out by your dentist.

Will smoking and drinking effect my dental health? 
People who smoke and drink are 30 times more likely to contract mouth cancer with tobacco and alcohol thought to contribute to around 80 per cent of cases.

Why do some people never get cavities?
There is plenty you can do to prevent cavities. Flouride toothpaste has a huge impact on reducing the risk of decay developing. Perhaps the biggest influence is diet. By consuming sugary foods and drinks on a regular basis the chances of getting cavities is greatly increased. Remember when teeth first grow they are healthy. Adopting a thorough daily cleaning routine using fluoride toothpaste, avoiding sugary foods and drinks and having regular checkups will help keep your teeth healthy.

What should I do if I have a toothache?

  • Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly

  • Rinse the mouth vigorously with luke-warm salt water (body temperature). Don’t use very hot or cold salt water as this may make things worse

  • If the face is swollen, apply a cold compress and seek help from a dentist as soon as possible

  • Avoid lying down as this raises the blood pressure and increases pain

What should I do if a tooth is knocked out?

  • Find the tooth and only handle the top, not the root

  • You can rinse the tooth but do not clean or handle it unnecessarily

  • If possible, gently put the tooth back in the socket but don’t force it as the root could get damaged

  • You should then gently bite on a soft piece of gauze or cloth

  • If it’s not possible to put the tooth back in the socket then put it in milk, saline or even saliva (e.g. by holding it between your teeth and your cheek) as it’s important that it does not dry out

  • See a dentist immediately. If you can see a dentist within two hours there is a good chance the tooth can be saved.