We all know the advice for healthy teeth – brush twice a day and don’t eat too much sugar.
So why do we sometimes need a filling when we visit the dentist?
The truth is, there’s much more to preventing tooth decay than the guidelines suggest.
Here’s the advice you need to know from Malta’s leading dentists.
An apple a day might not keep the dentist away
Fruit may be good for your health, but it can often be bad for your teeth. Dried fruit, fruit juice and honey contain natural sugars that can cause tooth decay, while citrus fruits are high in acid and sugar which promote decay.
Some Maltese dentists recommend that children under three should only drink water and milk, and should steer clear of fruit juices and squash.
Brush up on your skills
How you brush makes a big difference. The mechanical act of brushing removes the very sticky dental plaque — a mixture of bacteria, their acids and sticky by-products and food remnants.
Taking two minutes to brush your teeth is a good target for removing plaque and you should brush at night and one other time daily.
The whitest teeth are not the healthiest
We all want a dazzling smile, but teeth are not designed to be pure white.
They naturally yellow as we age, and although we should look after them, bright white teeth could be a sign of excessive fluorides or even calcium deficiency.
Spit, don’t rinse
At night, you produce less saliva than during the day.
Because of this, your teeth have less protection from saliva and are more vulnerable to acid attacks.
Once you’ve brushed, don’t rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash – you’re washing away the fluoride!
This can be a difficult habit to break, but can reduce tooth decay by up to 25 per cent.
Baby toothpaste may not always be best for little ones
Some brands of baby toothpaste don’t contain enough fluoride – a mineral which helps reduce tooth decay. Most Maltese dentists advise that parents should look out for kids’ toothpastes that contain at least 1,000ppm fluoride.
Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, spit don’t rinse, eat and drink nothing after brushing, and don’t have sugar more than four times daily. Easy!
Read more: Dental Association of Malta