How to Prevent Gum Disease and Cavities

The following is a Guest Post by Dr. Richard Mitchell who has been a dentist for over 30 years and has experience in 6 different countries. Dr. Richard Mitchell has a website with excellent dental advice at

It’s impossible to guarantee problem-free teeth,  but you can stack the odds in your favor by following a short routine each day!


That’s all it takes to really make a difference.  Can you find 15 minutes?

Here’s a bonus.

You don’t have to spend those fifteen minutes in the bathroom – with a little practice,  you can do most of the work sitting on the couch watching TV!

OK,  what are the things to do?

First of all,  don’t worry about the brand of toothbrush.  Like Lance Armstrong said,  “it’s not the bike”.  When we’re talking about getting plaque off your teeth,  I could say  “it’s not the brush”.  It’s HOW YOU USE IT.  And I can give you two tips right here;

1.  To get rid of the plaque off your teeth,  you actually have to brush the GUM EDGES.  That’s where the plaque sits.  All around the edges of the gums.

2. Most people brush their teeth for less than 60 seconds.  But it should be OVER 5 MINUTES !  If you have an electric brush,  ignore the 2-minute timer. Dental plaque is quite sticky,  and you have to use the brush head on the gum edge of each tooth for a full 10 seconds PER TOOTH.

And you also have to brush the gum edges on the “inside”,  next to your tongue on the lower teeth,  and along the edges of your palate on the uppers.


It doesn’t matter too much.  But ideally it should have a SMALL brush head,  and SOFT bristles.  And you need to replace it every 6 weeks.


After you’ve slowly gone round each tooth, nearly all the plaque should be gone.  You can check how well you’ve done by chewing a disclosing tablet and seeing if it shows up any areas you missed.  You can get disclosing tablets at the pharmacy.

AND FINALLY,  you need to clean the bits where the toothbrush can’t reach – in between the teeth!  The best way is with dental floss, but I recommend looking for  dental “TAPE”.  Most folks find dental tape easier to use than floss.

If you’re new to flossing,  start by flossing around a couple of front teeth. Then you can see what you’re doing more easily. After doing this for a week or so,  you can start to floss around the eye teeth too,  then a week later move back to include the premolar teeth.  Gradually you’ll work up to flossing the back teeth. These are the most difficult to get to, so take your time and concentrate on the front teeth at first. Once you get the knack,  it gets easier!

If you spend just 15 minutes a day on getting the plaque off your teeth,  you will be massively reducing your chances of dental problems.  That could be a huge money-saver too!

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