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Oral Hygiene Blog

Here a Binley Woods Dentistry we put a huge emphasis on the home care patients undertake as we want to make sure you are doing all you can to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Whilst our dentists will always be happy to give you advice at your routine examination appointment, we have also put together a few key points in case you need a refresher throughout the year.

What is Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene concerns the health of our mouths, from care and maintenance to preventative measures. Good oral hygiene practices help to limit dental problems, such as decay and gum disease, and helps to manage existing problems too.

What does the dentist do for Oral Hygiene?

At each examination appointment your dentist will look inside of your mouth and assess its health. This is done by checking the health of the teeth for signs of decay and mobility and using x-rays to check for “shadows” which can signal hidden decay, and also bone loss which contributes to tooth mobility. They also check the gums for plaque build-up (which occurs throughout the day and at night too) and signs of recession-which is where the gum shrinks back from the teeth.

By completing these checks dentists are able to warn you of any areas that could become problematic and catch areas that have developed an issue that needs addressing. Our dentists will talk to you about their findings by pointing them out in the mirror or on x-rays and will discuss treatment options with you if anything is needed.

If they find no problems, then you will get a well done instead!

What can patients do for Oral Hygiene?

Patients will always be given advice on improving their oral hygiene routine if it is needed, which covers your diet, brushing routine and general habits.

Primarily, we recommend that patients limit their sugar and acid intake throughout the day. This is because sugars and acids are known to stick to teeth and cause decay, especially if consumed in excess or as snacks. Try and limit sugary snacks and fizzy drinks and remember that just because a product has “no added sugar”, it does not necessarily mean it is sugar-free! There are a lot of natural sugars and acids to be aware of, especially in fruits and sauces.

We also recommend that you limit your alcohol and smoking intake. This is because alcohol and tobacco can increase the risks of many oral health problems, such as mouth cancer, gum disease, decay and bone loss which can lead to tooth mobility. By keeping alcohol intake below 14 units per week, and limiting or even quitting smoking altogether, you are doing the best you can for not just your oral health but your general health too.

Our biggest recommendation is a good oral hygiene routine at home, which includes brushing for two minutes twice daily and cleaning interdentally (such as with floss and tepes). By undertaking interdental cleaning and then brushing your teeth, you are removing the debris and plaque that can build up on and in-between your teeth before brushing them.

Brushing first thing in the morning- around 30 minutes before you eat breakfast- removes the build-up of plaque that has occurred overnight (especially important if you sleep open-mouthed!), and also ensures your teeth are not weakened by the presence of plaque when you eat your breakfast. Remember, plaque is not friendly and hardens over time, so the sooner it is removed the better!

Brushing last thing at night removes all the plaque and debris that has built up throughout the day. Removing these deposits prevents the sugars and acids from sticking to your teeth overnight and attacking them and causing decay, and therefore helps to protect your mouth whilst you sleep- which is its most unguarded time of the day!

Did you know?

Many patients have the habit of brushing their teeth by moving the toothbrush side to side, sometimes vigorously. This direction of brushing irritates the gums and can cause them to begin receding as they shrink away from the teeth and, effectively, away from your brushing!

Instead, try to alter your technique to brushing in small circles instead. It can be tricky to adjust the rhythm at first, so we suggest watching in a mirror to make sure you are doing it correctly. Brushing in circles encourages gum health, plaque removal and covers more surface area than when brushing side to side.

Of course, if you are using an electric toothbrush then this isn’t relevant at all! Electric toothbrushes do all of the work for you; you simply hold the toothbrush in place on each tooth and move your way slowly around the mouth to effectively brush. Just make sure it is fully charged or working on new batteries to get the best results!


If you have any questions regarding oral hygiene, recommended home care, or diet, smoking and alcohol advice then please feel free to ask your dentist at your next appointment, or contact the practice to talk to one of our friendly team members on 02476 540045 or at