1. Cancelling Your Dental Check-Ups
“No matter how good care you take of your teeth, you should still visit the dentist every six months,” Dr Marques tells us. “They can detect problems you might not be aware of and treat them before they become an issue.”
And as he explains, there’s a big difference between dentists and hygienists, so ensure you’re on track with all of your appointments: “A dentist’s key role is to diagnose any problems related to teeth and treat them, whereas a hygienist’s job is to remove any kind of soft and hard scale from the teeth, along with educating their patients about good oral care routines.”
2. Multitasking Whilst Brushing
According to Dr Marques, trying to multitask whilst brushing your teeth can mean they don’t get the full cleaning they need. “Make sure you brush for two minutes in front of a mirror so nothing gets missed,” he advises. “Any more and you can wear the teeth away, but any less the teeth and gums may suffer.”
3. Ignoring A Chipped Tooth
“Ignoring a chipped tooth, however minor, can affect the structure of the tooth and lead to additional chips and cracks,” says Dr Marques. “If it’s badly chipped it could also require more serious treatment such as a root canal.”
He also advises to watch out for thinning enamel and small chips, which could be caused by teeth grinding while you sleep: “If this is the case for you, your dentist will be able to fit a night guard for you to wear, which will help prevent further damage.”
4. Not Staying Hydrated
When you’re dehydrated, your mouth becomes dry and creates a haven for bacteria to multiply rapidly, so take heed of Dr Marques and drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your oral health tip-top.
And his top tip? “Make sure you drink through a straw: by doing so the liquid will bypass the teeth, giving you a better chance at avoiding both damage and sensitivity.”
5. Forgetting To Wear Your Retainer
“If you’ve had corrective braces, neglecting your retainer can un-do all the hard work they’ve done,” Dr Marques says, urging those who have to wear it for as long as their orthodontist recommends. He also stresses it’s essential you keep your retainers clean.
“We all know smoking is bad for our health, and that includes our mouths,” says Dr Marques. “From bad breath and stained teeth to gum disease and the potential tooth loss if not treated properly, so ditch those cigs.”
7. Putting Your Toothbrush Away Wet
This tip is vital reading for those holidaying (or even stay-cationing) this summer. Dr Marques says it’s vital to ensure your toothbrush is dry before placing it back in a cosmetic bag or travel case: “If you don’t allow your toothbrush to air-dry after brushing, bacteria can multiply rapidly on the moist bristles.”
8. Using Wooden Toothpicks
Been given a wooden toothpick alongside your restaurant bill? You may want to avoid it. “Using wooden toothpicks as a substitute for dental floss is risky as they can easily splinter and cause gum sensitivity,” says Dr Marques. “They’re also not very sanitary and can’t reach right between the teeth like regular floss can.”
9. Using Alcohol-Based Mouthwash
“Mouthwash that contains alcohol can actually dry out the mouth, leaving it more susceptible to bacterial growth and bad breath,” Dr Marques explains, revealing alcohol-free rinses are the best option for a healthier smile.
“Use a mouthwash that is high in fluoride and will help strengthen tooth enamel, but that does not contain harsh or abrasive chemicals including alcohol,” he says. “This is also far better than rinsing with tap water which washes the toothpaste and fluoride away.”
10. Skipping Your Morning Brush
As you sleep, your mouth produces less saliva meaning bacteria multiplies quickly, therefore skipping your morning oral hygiene routine means the bacteria is hanging around in your mouth all day. “Don’t skip it,” Dr Marques urges.
He also recommends waiting at least half an hour after eating breakfast, or drinking your morning coffee, before brushing. “This will give the enamel a chance to re-harden,” he says. “Brushing too soon could actually push acids deeper into the teeth which can cause erosion.”