Tips For Good Oral Hygiene

Keep your teeth clean with a regularly replaced tooth brush

Here at Sydenham Dental Centre we believe in prevention over cure. Oral hygiene is not only vital to the oral health of both your teeth and gums, but also important to your overall wellbeing. With good dental hygiene, your teeth will be clear of food debris and plaque, your gums will be pink and healthy and you will have good breath.

Oral care begins at home with regular cleaning. Methods and aids in maintaining good dental hygiene include tooth brushing, flossing, mouthwashes, the use of fluoride as well as reducing or avoiding things like unhealthy food and smoking.

Tooth Brushing

Tooth brushing is a vital part of quality dental hygiene and we recommend you brush your teeth twice a day. It is also important to use the right types of toothpastes, the right type of toothbrush, as well as good tooth-brushing techniques – e.g. the far back teeth are sometimes missed while brushing.

At our clinic, we can recommend quality products as well as offer personalized tips on improving your tooth-brushing techniques to ensure all surface areas of your teeth are being effectively brushed.

It’s also important to change your toothbrush regularly – about every three months or as soon as the bristles are frayed.


Flossing is also very important to your oral hygiene. Very often harmful bacteria and plaque builds up between the teeth and decay sets in where your toothbrush can’t reach. We recommend flossing daily between each of your teeth, this will help prevent both tooth decay and gum disease. It is important to use a new section of floss with each tooth and to floss before going to bed.

Tooth Interdental Brushes

We stock the Piksters range of interdental brushes at our Christchurch dentist clinic. These small plastic-coated wire and nylon bristles are ideal for cleaning those larger gaps between your teeth that you can’t get with your toothbrush. Used in conjunction with flossing and brushing with your toothbrush, these interdental brushes help form a great oral hygiene plan.


Mouthwash is also useful in maintaining healthy dental hygiene as a supplement to brushing and flossing. Mouthwash has a similar advantage to flossing being an inter-tooth clearer it is able to clean where your toothbrush can’t. Mouthwash should not be used instead of brushing and flossing, but rather in addition to them. It is important not to swallow mouthwash as it can be harmful to your health and it is also not recommended for younger children.


Fluoride has been called nature’s cavity fighter and is found naturally in many foods. Fluoride is also added to public water to aid in maintaining good healthy teeth in the general public. Fluoride is a vital ingredient to most toothpastes and mouthwashes. Sometimes if reversible decay has started to set in, we may recommend prescription-only high fluoride toothpaste to help you fight and reverse the decay.

Good Diet

As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat”. Your diet is not only important to your oral heath, but also for your whole body and overall wellbeing. To help with good oral hygiene, you should minimize non-nutritious snack food, sugar-filled soft drinks and sugar-based lollies. These foods encourage plaque to build up on your teeth and with that plaque comes the bacteria and acid that destroy your teeth. Sticky sugary foods (e.g. toffees) are generally worse for your oral health than less sticky ones (e.g. chocolate).

Avoiding Smoking

Smoking and chewing tobacco also have an adverse effect on your oral health, these effects may include; gum disease, slower healing (e.g. after an extraction), dulled sense of taste and smell, stained and discoloured teeth and oral cancer. Of course the best solution is always to quit smoking and chewing tobacco, however if you are unable to quit, then ensure you follow some of our other tips for maintaining good oral health.


Here at Sydenham Dental Centre we are passionate about healthy teeth and are happy to help you with any questions you may have.