Oral hygiene refers to the practice of keeping your mouth clean and disease-free. This includes several best practices including but not limited to brushing and flossing your teeth, but also ensuring regular dental check-ups, and more.
The need for oral hygiene
Simply put maintaining oral hygiene is the easiest way to keep a bunch of oral health problems at bay. Whether it is the development of cavities, bad breath, or gum disease, most of them have their genesis in the lack of oral hygiene.
Importantly, lack of oral hygiene does not only cause oral health issues but can lead to a whole lot of other concerns including but not limited to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Complications related to pregnancy and more
Keeping your tooth & gums healthy, therefore, is the key not just to your oral health but also to your overall health.
Signs of poor oral hygiene
The lack of good oral hygiene shows up by way of a number of signs & symptoms such as:
- Bleeding of gums
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores, and more
Best practices to improve oral hygiene
Keeping your smile bright and your mouth healthy involves ensuring you follow these practices:
- Brushing your teeth twice daily – It is not just important to brush your teeth twice daily but also to use the right technique for brushing. It is recommended that the toothbrush be placed at an angle of 45 degrees towards the gums. Additionally using a toothbrush with soft bristles as well as using a toothpaste with fluoride is recommended.
- Flossing your teeth – Brushing alone cannot ensure that the spaces between the teeth are cleaned. The use of dental floss, therefore, is highly recommended. A piece of floss approximately 18 inches in length is recommended. This will enable you to wrap the ends around your middle fingers and reach the space between your teeth.
- Brushing your tongue – The tongue, even though it is the seat for bacteria, is quite often neglected. It is important to brush it with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.
- Using a mouthwash – The use of an antibacterial mouthwash helps wash away the debris and keeps plaque at bay. It is important to remember that the use of mouthwash isn’t an alternative to brushing your teeth.
- Having a balanced diet – Having a balanced diet while limiting sugary food & starches is key. There are enough & more studies that have pointed out the role of sugar in adverse dental conditions. In fact WHO has recommended that the intake of sugar be kept below 10 percent of the daily calorie intake. Limiting the intake of starchy foods can also keep tooth decay at bay. Consuming fiber-rich foods and vegetables instead as well as the intake of dairy products without added sugar is recommended. Drinking enough water as well as limiting the intake of sugary drinks is yet another aspect that needs due attention.
- Frequent Dental Visits – Routine dental exams are imperative to able to catch any dental issues early. Cleaning your teeth during these exams also helps keep plaque and hence a range of diseases at bay. Frequent dental checkups also help with detecting oral cancer early and checking its spread.
- Avoid the use of tobacco products – Smoking and the use of tobacco products can cause gum disease as well as oral cancer. It is therefore important to avoid their use.
When it comes to children, it is important to keep the following added points in mind:
- It is important to wipe a baby’s gums with a warm, wet washcloth.
- Ensure that the baby does not go to bed with bottles or sippy cups.
- Once the baby erupts teeth, it is important to brush them twice daily with a soft baby toothbrush. Monitoring them to see that they spit out the toothpaste is important. Pro tip- Ensure that the toothpaste is kept out of reach of children when it is not in use.
Above everything, the key to oral hygiene is consistency, hence regularity is key.
Additionally, remember to use oral hygiene products that come with the ADA seal of acceptance. The seal is proof of the fact that the product has undergone rigorous quality checks. Basis your bespoke condition, your dentist can also recommend specific products.
How often should I see my dentist?
Typically a six-monthly visit to your dentist should be good. However, if you are prone to gum diseases or cavities, the dentist may advise you to see him every three or four months. Your dentist can make the right recommendations tailored to your needs.
Of course, if you notice any warning signs such as toothache, bleeding gums, and more, it is important to schedule a dental consultation immediately.
To Sum Up
The advantages of good oral hygiene are far too many. From healthier gums & teeth to fresh breath, a reduced need for dental work as well as a reduced risk of life-threatening diseases, there is a wide range of advantages. Needless to mention that preventive care always works far better than emergency dental care which can lead to worry as well as cost you a lot of money.
Proper care of your teeth will also lead you to less restorative treatment such as the use of fillings, root canal treatments, crowns, dental implants & more.
Here’s to your pearly whites & to your overall health!