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Here are some one minute dental tips to help you find and maintain optimum dental health. These simple, yet effective techniques will help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

  1. Brushing your teeth twice a day, morning and evening, disturbs the plaque and bacteria on your teeth and at the gum line. It is an important part of your dental hygiene routine, to control gum and bone disease, and to minimize the chances of getting cavities. By adding an additional brushing for 1 minute at lunchtime, you will disturb, for a third time, the bacteria and stop plaque from forming on your teeth and causing damage.
  2. Every dentist knows that flossing is about as popular as shovelling snow on a cold, windy, winter day. Did you know that not flossing your teeth increases your chances of having a heart attack, high blood pressure or becoming a diabetic? Plaque and bacteria enters your bloodstream and sticks on the inside of your arteries, restricting blood flow and making your heart work harder to pump the blood around your body. Floss boldly goes where no toothbrush has gone before. Taking 5 seconds to floss between 2 teeth will take about a minute for your whole mouth. You only need to disturb the plaque AND you only need to floss between the teeth you want to keep.
  3. Toothpicks are a popular option and are commonly found on the front counter of many restaurants. If not used carefully and properly, toothpicks can cause damage to the gums. Sometimes, the tip of the toothpick softens and breaks off in the gum, which means you now need to visit your dentist to have it removed. A better option is using dental floss, but if you are going to use a toothpick, speak to your dentist about getting ‘soft picks’ to use instead.
  4. Recently, a friend emailed me the following question: “My boyfriend has veneers. What type of toothpaste should he use?” Veneers and crowns are made of porcelain, with a protective, shiny coating that makes them resistant to stain. Whitening toothpastes have abrasives that remove that coating. Once that coating is removed, the veneers and crowns are more likely to be permanently stained and tooth whitening products won’t re-whiten the porcelain in your veneers and crowns. Also, the abrasives in whitening toothpaste may make your teeth sensitive if you have wear on your teeth that exposes the dentin, or if you have gum recession, where the root is exposed. Take a minute to read the ingredients in the toothpaste you are planning to buy to see if it has abrasives. It is sufficient to use toothpaste with fluoride and no abrasives. If in doubt ask your dentist.

Sugared soda, pop and fruit juices are full of complex sugars. Bacteria in your mouth feeds on these sugars and produces acids that are responsible for tooth decay. Also, it is not how much you drink, but how often you have these drinks that is the best predictor of tooth decay. A tooth left in a sugared soda drink for a couple of weeks will disappear as the acid literally eats away at the tooth. Drinking water during the week is a more tooth friendly option, and drink pop on the weekend. Even better, everytime you drink pop give your teeth a light cleaning so that the bacteria do not have time to make their corrosive acids.

  1.  There are many healthy and tooth friendly snacks, such as cheese, apples and celery that will not damage your teeth. These foods neutralize the acidity that forms on your teeth due to the presence of plaque. Take the extra minute to eat a few slices of apple (with the skin on), or a small piece of cheese, instead of other convenient snacks, such as chips or cookies.
  2. Halitosis (bad breath) is not saintly. It occurs because there are bacteria left on the teeth and tongue that produce sulphur gases, making a stink bomb inside your mouth. Drinking water and eating chlorophyll filled vegetables (green vegetables) is a way to stop bad breath at the source. Taking one minute after a meal to brush your teeth and your tongue as well as drinking 8 glasses of water and eating your vegetables will not only keep your mother happy, but will also make sure that you don’t suffer from dragon breath!

Use these one-minute tips to make simple changes that will pay big dividends by helping you keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. Keep your friends close and not at a distance. And remember to visit your dentist regularly for a comprehensive oral exam.

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