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Useful tips and information from your dentist

Fresh breath
Healthy gums
Oral health products
Young children

Fresh breath

The odour of bad breath (halitosis) is caused by the build-up of volatile sulphur compounds, which arise from the breakdown of bacteria, tissue, and food particles in the mouth. These sulphur compounds are partly in gas form and are exhaled with our expired breath.

To treat halitosis, remove the daily buid-up of plaque by brushing the teeth thoroughly, using tape or 'bottle' brushes to clean in between the teeth and brushing the tongue to remove dead cells. Other things that promote a fresh breath include quiting smoking, avoiding strong smelling foods and sipping water throughout the day.

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Healthy gums and teeth


Use a good nylon densely packed head of soft/medium filaments. Use a small pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Point the bristles towards the gum margin and use a small vibratory action with only a little pressure. Think of it more as massaging the gums rather than brushing the teeth. This vibratory action combined with the detergent in the paste will break up the plaque and allow it to wash away with rinsing.


Take a length of dental floss/dental tape about 30cm long, wrap the ends around your middle fingers until there is about 10cm between them. Turn your hands over so that the floss lies over the right thumb and left index finger leaving about 3 cm between them.

Guide the tape gently between the teeth using a slight sawing motion. Do not force the floss as this could injure your gums. Take the floss loosely under the gum and form a C shape against the tooth, apply a little pressure against the tooth and slide the floss towards the tip of the tooth, thus scraping the plaque off. Repeat this on the other side of the space and continue around all of the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled move onto a clean part.

Spiral (TePe) Brushes

Check with your hygienist or dentist as to which size of spiral brush you should be using. The bristles on the spiral must be big enough to apply pressure to the tooth surface and the gum.

Take the brush into the space at right angles to the teeth and use a vibratory action to manoeuvre the brush into the space. Once in the space use a back and forward action with some pressure on the gum. Initially with all these techniques you may experience some bleeding of the gums. This is due to the fact that you are getting to areas you have not reached before. With time and improved technique this will stop.

Interspace Brushes

This type of small brush is fantastic for removing plaque from inaccessible areas around the teeth. It can be trimmed by your dentist or hygienist to make it just the right shape for your teeth.

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Oral health products

Our Whitstable practice stocks all the dental care products you will need. Often we will advise a particular product suited to your particular needs.


Chlorohex: to treat and prevent gingivitis. A great aid when cleaning is difficult or there is an acute problem.

Peroxyl: used for the treatment of acute gum inflammation. Has mild bleaching effect which is ideal for following up dental bleaching.

Fluorigard: for the prevention of tooth decay, high caries rates, root decay, dry mouth.

Don't forget to collect the family tooth brushes - they are by far the cheapest in the town!

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Young children

Babies start teething at about 6 months and continue to do so until all 20 'milk teeth' are present at about 2 years. 'Second teeth' usually develop between 6 and 14 years.

To reduce teething pains, apply 'teething gel' by gently massaging it on to the baby's gums. Teething rings that can be cooled in the fridge are also very helpful. In extreme cases, the baby may require a mild painkiller such as Calpol, but check with your dentist first.

DON'T dip your baby's dummy or teething ring into fruit syrups or fruit juices, or give anything containing sugars before bedtime. These can expose your baby's teeth to harmful acids, which can attack the newly formed teeth and cause decay.

Thumb sucking or dummy sucking can affect a baby's teeth, and if this happens continuously over a number of years, the tooth alignment can be affected. Try and encourage your child to stop this habit before they reach their sixth birthday.

We encourage all parents to bring their babies/toddlers along with them to the adult's check up appointment. This gets them used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice. The first time we actually look inside a young child's mouth is normally when they are three years old.

Try to establish a healthy diet for your children from a young age. Limit sugary food and drink to mealtimes and aim to avoid anything that contains sugar in between meals.

Eat and drink everything in moderation; that includes fizzy drinks and fruit since both these things can cause erosion of the tooth enamel due to their high acid content.

Good oral hygiene will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Children should brush their teeth twice a day with a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Ask your dentist about the best way to clean your child's teeth, and make sure you supervise brushing up to the age of seven.

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