Target these top problem spots to safeguard your smile – and your life

Cavities

PROBLEM SPOT:

Between your back teeth (top andbottom).

REASON:

It’s where you do most of your chewing.

QUICK FIX:

Instead of a straight up-and-down flossing motion, wrap the floss around each tooth, slide it just under the gum and then floss like you would shine a shoe, says Dr Craig Valentine, of the Academy of General Dentistry.

Canker Sores

PROBLEM SPOT:

The inside of your bottom lip.

REASON:

Nervous lip biting may trigger canker sores, but the cause is usually viral.

QUICK FIX:

Over-the-counter topical anaesthetic gel or rinse applied before meals
often relieves the pain associated with eating and provides short-term
pain relief. Call your doctor if any mouth sore lasts longer than two
weeks.

Receding Gums

PROBLEM SPOT:

The gum that surrounds both your top left canine tooth and the premolar behind it.

REASON:

The top canines are your most prominent teeth, so they take extra abuse from brushing. (Righties will do more harm to the left tooth.)

QUICK FIX:

Brush gently – from the gum down to the bottom of the tooth.

Oral Cancer

PROBLEM SPOT:

Your tongue.

REASON:

Its location makes it more susceptible to toxins such as cigarette
smoke.

QUICK FIX:

Ban smoking and eat more avocados. Ohio State University researchers found that chemical compounds in avocados may reduce the risk of oral cancer.

Plaque

PROBLEM SPOT:

The two bottom teeth in the front and centre.

REASON:

They’re closest to your salivary glands and a protein in saliva has been shown to promote plaque build-up.

QUICK FIX:

Snack on raisins; they contain important phytochemicals that block
plaque from latching onto your teeth, say researchers at the University
of Illinois, Chicago.