Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I brush my teeth?

The main reason we brush our teeth is to remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that grows on their surface. Plaque bacteria feeds on the particles of food that we consume every day, allowing acid build-up around the teeth. The acid build-up then leads to cavities. Bacteria also causes bad breath.

When should I brush my teeth?

At least twice a day – before bed, and in the morning. An ongoing area of disagreement is whether you should brush before, or after, breakfast. It depends on what you have eaten.

Do I have to use toothpaste?

Brushing protects against gum disease, but it’s the fluoride in toothpaste that prevents tooth decay. Because of the foods we eat, our teeth are constantly demineralising and remineralizing; if fluoride is present during the remineralisation process, it gets incorporated and strengthens the teeth. For this reason, adults should look for a toothpaste that contains at least 1,350ppm fluoride, and steer clear of alternatives such as bicarbonate of soda, which are too abrasive to be used for tooth-cleaning.

When should I rinse my mouth with mouthwash?

Using a fluoride mouthwash straight after brushing is fairly pointless: you’re flushing away fluoride and replacing it with more of the same. Where it can come in handy, however, is in topping up fluoride levels in between brushing your teeth– particularly if you’re at high risk of cavities.

Why should I floss my teeth?

Plaque accumulates between the teeth, as well as on their surfaces, and this is difficult to remove using a toothbrush alone. The risk here is gum disease, which in its early stages manifests as bleeding when you brush.

Is chewing gum good or bad for teeth?

Sugar-free chewing gum is generally a good thing for teeth. For one thing, it stimulates saliva production, which buffers the acid that erodes teeth. It can also help dislodge particles of food from the teeth.

Do I really need to visit my dentist every six months?

It suggests that children under the age of 18 should see a dentist at least once a year, because their teeth tend to decay faster. For adults who are not experiencing any problems with their teeth, though, every 24 months should be adequate.