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Toothpicks and Keeping your Teeth Clean

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

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There was a recent case reported in the British Medical Journal in which a woman swallowed a toothpick which went on to cause some quite serious further medical and health problems for her. This was also reported on the BBC, you can read the full BBC report here.

Clearly this woman was trying to clean her teeth with a toothpick, so we thought it would be a good idea to go through how to keep your teeth clean and hopefully avoid such accidents in the future!

You oral healthcare regime should include brushing, flossing and rinsing.

Teaching the people of Harrow how to brush.

  • Using an electric toothbrush is the best way to brush your teeth as they are designed to have the perfect action. If you use a manual brushing technique use a small brush and work in a circular motion.
  • Decide on a sequence to brushing your teeth and stick with it each day, ensuring that you brush the biting surface or tips of your teeth, the inside and then the outside.
  • Move around the sequence tooth by tooth. Avoid pressing too hard, but make sure you clean adequately. This is where an electric toothbrush will help as many of the better models have pressure sensors.
  • Ensure that you clean around the entire tooth surface right the way from the inside, over the top and down the front of the tooth including the junction between your tooth and the gum.

Top tips for flossing your teeth.

  • Floss daily between your teeth, this ensures that any debris is cleaned on the surfaces between your teeth which is so difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
  • Use a fairly long length of floss, about 30 cm. Wind the ends around your index fingers on each hand and pull floss taught.
  • You can then gently pop floss between each of your teeth each time winding it a small amount along on each finger.
  • Gently move the floss up and down against the back of one tooth and then the front of the next, pop floss back up again, and move along to the next tooth.

Rinsing with mouthwash.

Even with an electric toothbrush and flossing there may be small areas that you miss, so using a good-quality fluoride mouthwash will help you to rinse out any areas of debris that you have missed.
Rinse with mouthwash after every time you brush your teeth, both morning and night.
Our dental practice in Harrow also has a dental health educator known as a Dental Hygienist, this person is specially trained to help you look after your teeth and help you with your oral health plan. Looking after your teeth is the best way to spend as little time and money at the dentist as possible, so it’s a worthwhile investment in yourself.