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The Ultimate Guide On How To Avoid Fillings & Gum Disease

The Ultimate Guide On How To Avoid Fillings & Gum Disease

– Do you always dread visiting the dentist, just in case you are told that you need treatment?

– Are you a parent and want to know how to best care for your children’s teeth?

– Did you know that not cleaning your teeth, even for 1 day will lead to bad breath?

– Not flossing will lead to food stagnating between your teeth for months and give you constant bad breath. Your throat will also be more prone to infections.

I’m afraid that dentists are sometimes unable to give you the time to explain what I am about to tell you all. The NHS dentists also try their best with the limited resources they have.

The hygienist is always the person to see if you wish to ask questions and advice on the best ways to have the hygiene customized to your needs.

So I decided to write this information down for my patients at Longwood House and to share it with the public.

If you follow these simple ways I mention below then you will succeed in having healthy gums and avoidance of fillings

Tooth brushing

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Regular and efficient tooth brushing is important because:

  • It helps prevent gum disease.
  • It helps prevent tooth decay through the action of fluoride.
  • It helps maintain good breath.
  • Yes, Electric toothbrushes (good brands) are much better than hand brushing.
  • There is a technique in brushing that needs to be taught and learned, so do ask your dentist/ Hygienist

The advice is as follows:

  • Brush your teeth for a full 2 minutes (physically timed) as it is known that it takes this long to brush your teeth properly. For those patients who have lost a few teeth, ask your dentist if this period of time still applies. Always brush your teeth in front of a mirror so you can see which teeth have been done and what is left to do. If you notice the gums bleeding then brush over this area again so that all the plaque and bacteria are removed. This will then allow the gum to become healthier.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day after all meals. Do not allow your breakfast to sit in your mouth all day. Make sure your children brush their teeth after any snacks/ teatime. Make sure you brush your teeth last thing at night so no food is allowed to sit in your mouth while you sleep. This will turn to acid and provide bacteria in your mouth with food that they will flourish on and then cause damage (decay) to the teeth while you/your child are asleep.
  • Ensure that you always use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is known to help prevent tooth decay. Always spit the toothpaste excess out of the mouth after brushing, so that a small amount is left on the teeth. This fluoride will get incorporated into the enamel of your teeth and form a Flouroapatite surface, which is much stronger and more resistant to tooth decay, thus protecting your teeth.
  • During brushing, ensure that you can, see and more importantly, feel the bristles of the brush on your teeth and your gums at the same time at all times. That way you never miss the gum line, which is the most important part. Angling the toothbrush by 45 degrees into the gums will be more efficient at cleaning the gums free of any plaque bacteria and reduce bleeding from the gums. Ask your dentist or hygienist to demonstrate this to you as it is very important.

Please remember that gum bleeding is NEVER normal. Consult your dentist for advice that leads to a resolution.

After tooth brushing, ensure that you:

  • Spit the contents of your mouth out and do not rinse with water or a mouthwash.
  • Don’t rinse your mouth for 30-60 minutes with anything afterward, because this gives the fluoride in the toothpaste time to work into the enamel.
  • Mouthwashes with fluoride in them are not as concentrated as toothpaste fluoride.
  • Rinsing with water will wash away all the good fluoride that you have just applied by brushing your teeth.


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Did you know that the prime cause of bad breath in children is the harboring of bacteria in the throat and on the tongue?

So always remember to remind your children to gargle with an antibacterial mouthwash suitable for their age, and brush their tongue.

There are two types of mouthwashes

  1. Antibacterial: This is aimed at reducing gum disease mainly. 
  2. Fluoride-based: This is aimed to protect your teeth from decay mainly.

Some will do both. You will need to ask the dentist which one you need.

The best antibacterial mouthwashes available on the market are based on  0.2% chlorhexidine as its active ingredient.

This mouthwash is only recommended for short-term use because it can stain the teeth, cause you to become resistant to the active ingredient, and can lead to allergy in some patients.

Please do not feel that by using an antibacterial mouthwash your gums will suddenly become better; it is used as an aid to help them! 

Ultimately the bacteria and plaque need to be removed from the gums by brushing and interdental cleaning.

There is very good clinical evidence that proves that efficient and regular mechanical cleaning (tooth brushing and interdental cleaning) is effective in preventing gum disease.

Fluoride-based mouthwashes should be used to reduce the chance of tooth decay. They are not useful for gum disease. The key is to use them at a totally different time to tooth brushing, thus allowing the fluoride to have time to be saturated into the enamel of the teeth.

I would suggest first thing in the morning as they freshen your mouth, then to brush your teeth after breakfast. Alternatively, always about  30 min to an hour before you brush your teeth.

What is Interdental Cleaning?

This is cleaning in between your teeth where the toothbrush cannot get to.

This area is very important because the majority of food and bacteria will stagnate between the teeth and cause dental decay, bad breath, and bleeding gums.  

How can I clean between my teeth? How often should I floss?

The advice is:

  • Clean between all your teeth (including the back ones) at least once a day with Dental Floss, and interdental brushes sometimes referred to as Tee Pee brushes or a Water Flosser.

You can ask us at Longwood how to use these items correctly, the spaces between your teeth must be measured up to ensure you have the correct method from this list. Flossing will be inefficient if used where the gaps are large. 

Diet – How does sugar damage my teeth?

Has your dentist ever told you that eating too many sweet things will damage your teeth?

Have you ever wondered how sugar does this?

Refined sugar in your diet causes decay (holes in teeth).

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Sugar is the best food source for the bacteria in your mouth, this bacteria (plaque) will process this sugar and convert it to acid. The acid will dissolve the teeth. The dissolved tooth will look like brown or black coloured holes in the tooth, this is called decay. The decayed tooth needs to be cleaned out by the dentist drills and then filled up to block it from getting any worse, this is called the filling.

If the tooth brushing and flossing is good, then the sugar will not cause as much damage.

If the tooth surface is strengthened with fluoride, then the sugars will not be able to attack the tooth as much and the decay process will be minimal.

If you are having acidic food and drinks, this is just as bad; it will also dissolve the tooth surface and lead to damage to the tooth.

If you have a combination of acids and sweet items, such as fizzy drinks then this is far worse.

Many parents think that sugar is addictive and must be eliminated from a child’s diet. Remember a balanced diet includes carbohydrates and sugar that provide energy. It is needed in everyone’s diet but must be in moderation. To limit the damage it does to teeth, the above methods of protection can be used.

Sugar is not addictive, it is controllable, and no one will suffer from withdrawal symptoms if it is reduced or eliminated.

Damage to the teeth can lead to sensitivity, fillings, extractions, toothaches, and severe infections which can not be controlled by painkillers alone.

Many parents still think that the child’s tooth is not important as they will fall anyway. This is wrong!

First of all, if you do not look after the child’s teeth, it is a form of parental neglect. The child will be in severe pain, and will also stop eating. They can also have high temperatures and become septicemic. Sometimes the child is too young to explain to the parents that they are in pain from their teeth.

If the child ends up losing teeth at a young age, then the adult teeth will either come through in the wrong place or the adult tooth will not form properly.

It is not good to have fillings. You can again develop decay around the filling and require more treatments in the future.

Sugar is sugar irrespective of where it comes from. Some common examples of sources of sugar are:

  • Sweets, biscuits, chocolate, cakes, processed fruit (including dried or really ripened), fizzy drinks, cordial, squash, crisps.
  • There are some foods that don’t taste like they have sugar but they do contain it e.g. salt and vinegar crisps.

The advice is:

  • Restrict sugary foods to mealtimes ALONE.
  • Have larger, nutritious meals as this reduces the need for snacking.


  • As long as you follow the advice above, you are unlikely to get decay.
  • If you have one grain of sugar between meals 5 times a day, you are likely to get decay. So it’s not the amount you have, it’s the frequency. This is the number of times you allow the sugars to attack and damage your teeth.
  • Tooth brushing after having a sugary snack does NOT stop the process of decay totally. This is because no one (including dentists) can brush perfectly.
  • The only way of reducing the risk of decay is to restrict sugary foods.

I hope that the above information will help you understand the importance of good dental health and how to achieve this.

Please do contact Longwood House Dental Care, if you would like to visit me or the hygienist for treatments or more advice.

Contact tel 020 8551 0088.

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