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Smile Perfections

Smile Perfections Dental & Cosmetic Clinic

  • 34 Harborough Road
  • Leicester
  • LE2 4LA
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DENTAL HYGIENIST LEICESTER – Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I brush my teeth?

Proper brushing is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing dental issues like cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Here’s what you need to know about how frequently to brush your teeth.

Recommended Frequency

Twice a day

Dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime. Brushing twice a day helps remove plaque and food particles that accumulate on your teeth throughout the day. Neglecting to brush regularly can lead to the buildup of harmful bacteria and increase your risk of tooth decay and gum problems.

Timing and Duration

Two minutes

When brushing, aim to spend at least two minutes thoroughly cleaning all surfaces of your teeth. Many people tend to rush through the process, but taking the time to brush properly is crucial. Set a timer or play a song to ensure you’re brushing for the recommended duration.

After Eating

Sugary or acidic foods

If you’ve consumed sugary or acidic foods or drinks, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth shortly after to prevent the sugars and acids from sitting on your teeth and causing damage. However, wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush, as brushing immediately can spread the acids around and potentially erode the enamel.

Remember, while brushing twice a day is the minimum recommendation, some individuals may benefit from brushing more frequently, such as after every meal or snack, especially if they are prone to cavities or have certain medical conditions. Consult your dentist for personalised advice based on your specific needs and oral health.

What is the proper technique for brushing teeth?

Brushing your teeth correctly is crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and tooth discolouration. While it may seem like a simple task, there’s a proper technique to follow to ensure you’re cleaning your teeth effectively.

Brushing Motion

Short, gentle strokes

Use short, gentle strokes when brushing your teeth, focusing on one or two teeth at a time. Avoid vigorous scrubbing or sawing motions, as these can damage your gums and tooth enamel. Gently brush the outer surfaces of your teeth, using gentle back-and-forth or circular motions.

Brushing Pattern

Systematic approach

Develop a systematic pattern when brushing to ensure you cover all surfaces of your teeth. Start with the outer surfaces of your upper and lower teeth, then move to the inner surfaces, and finally, the chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Toothbrush Positioning

Angled towards the gums

Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums when brushing the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth. This angle allows the bristles to effectively clean along the gumline, where plaque and bacteria tend to accumulate.

Brushing Time

Two minutes minimum

Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth thoroughly. Many people tend to rush through the process, but taking the time to brush properly is crucial for effective cleaning. Set a timer or play a song to ensure you’re brushing for the recommended duration.

Remember, consistency and technique are key when it comes to effective brushing. Take your time, be gentle, and follow a systematic approach to ensure you’re cleaning all surfaces of your teeth thoroughly. If you have any concerns or need personalised guidance, consult with your dentist or dental hygienist.

Is flossing really necessary, and how often should I floss?

While brushing your teeth is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene, flossing is equally important. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach, such as between your teeth and under the gumline.

Importance of Flossing

Prevents gum disease and cavities

Flossing is crucial for preventing gum disease and cavities. When plaque and food particles are left between your teeth, they can harden into tartar, which can lead to gingivitis (gum inflammation) and eventually periodontal disease (advanced gum disease). Flossing regularly helps remove these deposits, reducing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.


Once a day

Dentists recommend flossing at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. This helps remove any food debris and plaque that has accumulated throughout the day, preventing bacteria from lingering in your mouth overnight.

Proper Technique

Gentle yet thorough

To floss effectively, gently guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Curve the floss against one tooth, making a C-shape, and gently move it up and down against the side of the tooth. Repeat on the adjacent tooth surface, ensuring you clean the space between teeth and under the gumline. Be gentle and avoid snapping the floss against your gums, as this can cause injury.

Alternative Methods

Interdental brushes or water flossers

If you find traditional flossing challenging, interdental brushes or water flossers can be effective alternatives. Interdental brushes are small brushes that can clean between teeth, while water flossers use a stream of water to remove plaque and debris from hard-to-reach areas.

Remember, flossing is an essential part of your oral hygiene routine and should be done daily. If you have any concerns or need guidance on proper flossing technique, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist or dental hygienist.

What are the signs of gum disease, and how can I prevent it?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health issue that can have serious consequences if left untreated. Understanding the signs of gum disease and taking preventive measures are crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene and overall health.

Signs of Gum Disease

Swollen or bleeding gums

One of the earliest signs of gum disease is swollen or inflamed gums that bleed easily, especially when brushing or flossing. This condition is called gingivitis and is often caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria around the gumline.

Advanced Gum Disease

Receding gums and loose teeth

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. At this stage, the gums may begin to recede, exposing more of the tooth’s root surface. Teeth may also become loose or shift positions, and you may experience persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.


Good oral hygiene habits

The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Professional cleanings

In addition to proper at-home oral care, regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential for maintaining healthy gums. Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove any hardened plaque (tartar) that you can’t remove at home and check for early signs of gum disease.

Lifestyle Factors

Stop smoking and manage stress

Smoking and excessive stress can increase your risk of developing gum disease. Quitting smoking and finding healthy ways to manage stress can help support your overall oral health and prevent gum disease.

By being aware of the signs of gum disease and taking proactive steps to prevent it, you can maintain a healthy mouth and avoid more serious dental issues in the future.

How important are regular dental check-ups and cleanings?

Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential for maintaining optimal oral health. These routine visits serve as a proactive approach to preventing and detecting dental issues early on, helping you avoid more serious and costly problems down the line.

Early Detection

Identifying potential problems

During a dental check-up, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for any signs of potential issues, such as cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, or other concerns. Early detection and treatment of these problems can often be less invasive and more cost-effective than addressing advanced stages of dental issues.

Professional Cleaning

Removing plaque and tartar

Even with diligent at-home oral hygiene practices, plaque and tartar can still accumulate in hard-to-reach areas. During a professional cleaning, your dental hygienist will use specialized tools to remove these deposits, helping to prevent cavities, gum disease, and tooth discolouration.

Oral Health Guidance

Personalised advice and recommendations

Regular visits with your dentist provide an opportunity to receive personalised guidance and recommendations for improving your oral health. Your dentist can offer advice on proper brushing and flossing techniques, dietary recommendations, and any necessary lifestyle changes to support your overall dental well-being.

Preventive Treatments

Fluoride treatments and sealants

During your check-up, your dentist may recommend preventive treatments such as fluoride applications or dental sealants. These treatments can help strengthen your tooth enamel and protect against cavities, particularly for those at higher risk.

Routine Monitoring

Tracking changes over time

Regular dental visits allow your dentist to monitor any changes in your oral health over time. This ongoing monitoring can help identify and address potential issues as early as possible, ensuring timely and effective treatment.

By making regular dental check-ups and cleanings a priority, you can maintain a healthy, beautiful smile and catch any potential problems before they become more serious and costly to treat.

How can I prevent bad breath (halitosis)?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable issue. However, there are several steps you can take to help prevent and manage this condition.

Oral Hygiene Routine

Brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning

Maintaining a thorough oral hygiene routine is crucial for preventing bad breath. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and use a tongue scraper or brush to remove bacteria and food debris from the surface of your tongue. These practices help eliminate the sources of odour-causing bacteria and particles.

Dental Check-ups

Professional cleanings and treatment

Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can harbour bacteria and contribute to bad breath. Additionally, your dentist can identify and treat any underlying dental issues that may be causing persistent halitosis, such as gum disease or dry mouth.


Drinking water and avoiding dry mouth

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help increase saliva production, which plays a crucial role in neutralising odours and washing away food particles. Dry mouth, on the other hand, can contribute to bad breath, so it’s essential to address any underlying causes of dry mouth, such as certain medications or medical conditions.

Diet and Lifestyle

Avoiding certain foods and habits

Certain foods and habits can exacerbate bad breath. Limit your intake of strongly flavoured foods like garlic, onions, and spices, as well as coffee and alcohol. Additionally, smoking and chewing tobacco can contribute to persistent bad breath, making it essential to quit these habits.

Mouthwashes and Breath Fresheners

Temporary solutions

While mouthwashes and breath fresheners can provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying causes of bad breath. It’s best to use them in conjunction with proper oral hygiene practices and professional dental care.

By following these tips and maintaining good oral health habits, you can effectively prevent and manage bad breath, leaving you feeling fresh and confident.

What are the causes of tooth sensitivity, and what can I do about it?

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental issue that can cause sharp, temporary pain or discomfort when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. Understanding the causes and taking proactive steps can help alleviate this condition.

Enamel Erosion

Thin or worn enamel

One of the primary causes of tooth sensitivity is enamel erosion, which occurs when the protective outer layer of your teeth becomes thin or worn away. This exposes the underlying dentin, a porous tissue containing tiny tubules that lead directly to the nerve endings in your teeth, causing sensitivity.

Gum Recession

Exposed tooth roots

When your gums recede, they can expose the roots of your teeth, which lack the protective enamel covering. The exposed root surfaces are more susceptible to sensitivity, as the dentin tubules are closer to the surface.

Tooth Decay or Fractures

Damaged tooth structure

Cavities, cracks, or fractures in your teeth can also lead to sensitivity, as these issues can expose the inner layers of your teeth, including the dentin and potentially the nerve endings.

Remedies for Tooth Sensitivity

Desensitising toothpaste and treatments

To alleviate tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend using desensitising toothpaste containing compounds that block the tubules in the exposed dentin, reducing nerve stimulation. In-office treatments, such as fluoride varnishes or bonding agents, can also be applied to seal and protect exposed tooth surfaces.

Lifestyle Changes

Avoiding acidic foods and beverages

Making lifestyle changes can also help reduce tooth sensitivity. Limit your consumption of acidic foods and beverages, which can erode tooth enamel and exacerbate sensitivity. Additionally, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle brushing techniques can prevent further enamel wear.

If you experience persistent or severe tooth sensitivity, it’s essential to consult your dentist. They can identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatments to provide relief and protect your teeth.

Is it true that certain foods and drinks can stain or damage teeth?

Yes, it’s true that some foods and drinks can stain or damage your teeth over time. Being mindful of your dietary choices and practicing good oral hygiene habits can help protect your pearly whites.

Staining Culprits

Deeply coloured beverages

Beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-coloured juices can contribute to tooth discolouration and staining. The pigments in these drinks can accumulate on the tooth enamel, causing a yellowish or brownish tint over time.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Enamel erosion

Highly acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, sodas, and sports drinks, can erode your tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth. When enamel becomes thin or worn away, it exposes the underlying dentin, which is more yellow in colour, leading to a discoloured appearance.

Sugary Treats

Tooth decay and cavities

Sugary foods and drinks, like candies, cookies, and sodas, can contribute to tooth decay and cavities. Bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar, producing acids that attack and weaken the tooth enamel, potentially leading to cavities and tooth damage.

Prevention Strategies

Moderation and oral hygiene

To minimise the impact of staining and damaging foods and drinks, it’s best to consume them in moderation and practice good oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth regularly, floss daily, and consider using a straw when drinking beverages that can stain your teeth. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can also help remove surface stains and prevent further discolouration.

By being aware of the potential effects of certain foods and drinks on your teeth, you can make informed choices and take proactive measures to maintain a healthy, bright smile.

Should I be using an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush?

When it comes to choosing between an electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush, there are pros and cons to consider for each option. Ultimately, the most important factor is consistent and proper brushing technique, regardless of the type of toothbrush you use.

Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Increased brushing efficiency

Electric toothbrushes can be more effective at removing plaque and promoting better oral hygiene. Their oscillating or rotating bristles can provide a more thorough and efficient cleaning, especially for individuals with dexterity issues or those who struggle with proper brushing technique.

Ease of Use

Minimal effort required

With an electric toothbrush, you don’t have to work as hard to achieve the same level of cleaning as a manual toothbrush. The brush does most of the work for you, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene, especially for those with limited mobility or disabilities.

Manual Toothbrushes

Cost-effective and portable

Manual toothbrushes are generally more affordable and more portable than electric toothbrushes, making them a convenient option for travel or those on a budget. They also don’t require batteries or charging, which can be an advantage for some individuals.

Technique Matters

Proper brushing habits

Regardless of the type of toothbrush you choose, proper brushing technique is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Both electric and manual toothbrushes can be effective when used correctly, with gentle circular motions and thorough coverage of all tooth surfaces.

Personal Preference

Comfort and consistency

Ultimately, the choice between an electric or manual toothbrush comes down to personal preference, comfort, and your ability to maintain consistent, effective brushing habits. Some individuals may find electric toothbrushes more enjoyable or easier to use, while others prefer the simplicity and control of a manual toothbrush.

If you have specific concerns or questions about which type of toothbrush is best for your individual needs, it’s always a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist for personalized advice.

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