Tom’s Toothy Tips

by Karen Shaw

Colne Life’s editor, Karen Shaw nips in for a brew and a chat with Dr Tom Friar at Skipton Road Dental Practice, and for a change, it won’t be her squirming in the dentist’s chair, it’ll be Tom!

For pristine pearly whites and great gum health, follow Tom’s Toothy Tips:

1. Become a master of interdental cleaning.

Brushing with a toothbrush alone misses approximately 40% of tooth surfaces. A full-sized brush is simply too big to get in all the nooks and crannies. It’s like having a shower but not scrubbing behind your ears and under your arms! Use interdental brushes or floss to clean the areas between your teeth daily for lovely, healthy gums. Many options are on offer, but I like TePe branded brushes. They do a whole range of styles and sizes to suit nearly anyone.

2. Use an electric toothbrush.

Studies show that an electric toothbrush is more effective in cleaning than a manual brush, and these days, buying a good electric toothbrush won’t break the bank. Usually, spending around £30-40 is plenty. You don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds. There are many good retailers to choose from. My personal favourites are Amazon and Argos. As a practice, we stopped selling electric brushes because we simply couldn’t compete with their cheap prices!

3. Use a fluoride-based toothpaste.

There are so many toothpastes on offer. It can be a bit overwhelming. Every toothpaste claims to do something different and has different ingredients. So, which one is best? Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this. However, I can say that the most important ingredient is fluoride. Fluoride works by strengthening your tooth enamel and preventing dental cavities. Look for a fluoride content of around 1450ppm for the best protection. The other ingredients are of lesser importance.

4. Minimise your frequency of sugar intake.

We know that the most important factor in causing tooth decay is the frequency of sugar in your diet. Even small amounts of sugar, if eaten throughout the day, will drastically increase the risk of dental cavities. This is because every time you eat sugar, your oral bacteria produce acid. This causes your mouth’s pH to drop. Your saliva is alkaline and restores the pH balance. But if you eat another dose of sugar, it sends the pH back to where it was. The result is a mouth environment which is continuously acidic. This is very damaging to teeth.

5. Visit your dentist regularly.

Tom is the principal dentist at Skipton Road Dental Surgery.

It’s an obvious one, but an important one! The early stages of dental disease are painless and tend to go unnoticed unless a professional checks you out. It’s only once tooth decay gets into the tooth pulp (where the nerves are) that you’ll get a toothache. Usually, at this point, root canal work or an extraction is needed. Gum disease can be hidden right up to the point that a tooth is almost ready to drop out, so it really isn’t as obvious as you think. A dentist can screen you for all these problems and help fix things while it’s still straightforward.

ColneLife Winter 23