GUEST COLUMN: Top tips for healthier teeth, by mydentist manager, Heather Dowdall

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From eating chocolate to not rinsing there are lots of little changes people can make to their dental routine that will help keep teeth healthy.

Here are some of the the quirkier top tips:

• Don’t rinse! After brushing try and avoid rinsing your toothpaste out, because the fluoride in toothpaste will continue to protect the teeth for at least 30 minutes afterwards.

• Eat chocolate. For years many of us have opted for dried fruit over chocolate because it seems healthier. In fact the sugar from dried fruit sits on the teeth, which over time can rot away enamel. Chocolate is actually slightly better because it contains fat and doesn’t stick to teeth the same way.

• Tea’s up! Our favourite caffeinated hot drink is not the tooth devil it might appear. In fact 70 per cent of our dietary intake of fluoride comes in a cuppa, the flavonoids in tea protect against decay and gum disease and tea polyphenols can counter bad breath.

• Visit your dentist regularly. A no-brainer but in fact many of us only visit our dentist - over a quarter of us - when we have a problem.

• Interdental brushes are tops. Nothing can clean in-between the teeth like an interdental brush. Just once a day can prevent including pain, infection, and tooth loss it can even help prevent heart disease.

• Eating a whole fruit is far better than drinking fruit juice because, although fruit does have sugar, it also has fibre and, crucially, water to wash the sugars away from the teeth.

• Don’t brush your teeth after eating. That’s because the acid in food “demineralises” the tooth for an hour after eating and softens the enamel.

• Avoid snacking. Whatever you snack on, the fact is constant grazing is spectacularly bad for teeth. It’s not about the sugar we eat but how often our teeth come under attack.

• Brush for two minutes twice a day.

• Want to go whiter - do your homework. Having your teeth professionally cleaned and whitened is an investment, but you have to make sure you keep up the good work. There is no point having your teeth whitened but then not cleaning them properly or eating large amounts of food and drink that will stain your teeth. And stop smoking as this is the worst thing for staining and discolouring teeth.

mydentist at 50 Ratcliffe Gate, Mansfield, provides both NHS and private dentistry and is open six days a week.