Your perfect smile is a gateway to your overall well-being. Yes, we are not exaggerating. You may not realise, but your oral hygiene is as important as your general well-being. While you may think, your teeth are strong enough not to need any extra care, you never know if they are going through a slow decaying process and nasty plaques and cavities are accumulating in your mouth which may need long and painful removal procedures later. As an old adage goes, precaution is always better than cure.
Dr. Joy Clinic said, “This is a common myth that gum disease is all too common. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that 47% of adults aged 30 and older have some form of gum disease. Also, as we age, we're naturally more susceptible to infections, including those in the gums, 64% of adults aged 65 and older have either moderate or severe gum disease."
Hence, we bring you a few simple tips helpful in maintaining mouth hygiene and would also help you have real strong teeth now and forever.
Brush your mouth
The first and the foremost principal says the oral hygiene is not only about white and bright teeth; but you also got to take care of your gums, tongue, and the roof of mouth. We advise you to brush your mouth and not teeth alone. It is advisable to brush twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Wondering why? The morning routine will remove plaque and bacteria accumulated over night. Brushing your teeth before you go to bed prevents accumulation of plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.
Choose the right toothbrush
• An ideal toothbrush’s bristles should be very soft and the head of the toothbrush should be small.
• Make sure that you replace your tiny tool every three to four months or sooner, if the bristles are frayed.
• Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle against your gums
• Brush your teeth back and forth gently in short strokes
• Start with brushing outer surfaces of tooth followed by inner tooth surface and chewing surface in the end.
• Use the tip of the brush and stroke gently up and down.
Floss once everyday
Do not ignore those narrow spaces between your teeth. These are the places where food residuals find their home leading to dental issues. If you care about your dental hygiene, floss your teeth once a day. You should floss before you brush to remove any plaque from these areas.
• Hold floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers and guide it between your teeth using a gentle sliding action.
• When the floss reaches where the tooth meets the gum, curve it into a V shape against the tooth and gently slide it up and down between the gum and the tooth.
• Repeat for the other side and every tooth.
Watch what you eat
Your dental health cycle, good or bad, starts the moment you decide to eat or drink anything. Therefore, it becomes necessary that you know which are good and bad foods for your mouth.
Mouth-friendly foods and drinks
Cheese, chicken, nuts and milk, these foods are considered to be the best friends of your teeth and overall mouth hygiene. These foods provide the calcium and phosphorus to keep teeth strong. Those who cannot digest milk products; vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are sources of high calcium. Crunchy fruits (for example, apples and pears) and vegetables are also mouth friendly. The extra water content in these fruit neutralises their sugar content.
Hilary Sherice Browne, Dental Hygienist at Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic said, “We should avoid eating foods that are high in sugar as they can lead to tooth decay. The following foods can help your teeth and gums stay healthy: cheese, cranberries, green tea, nuts & seeds, crunchy vegetables and strawberries and the best drink you can take in for your body and your teeth is water."
Any food with large sugar content such as cookies, cakes, pies, breads, muffins, potato chips is harmful for your teeth. These foods stick to your teeth and help bacteria grow in your mouth. Bacteria converts sugar and carbohydrates into acids which attack the enamel in teeth, starting the process of decay. In addition, cough drops should be used only when necessary as they, like sugary candy, contribute to tooth decay. Limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks, including soft drinks, alcohol, lemonade, and coffee or tea with added sugar
Dr. Joy Clinic said, “Carbonated soft drinks are the leading source of added sugar among kids and teens. Besides being loaded with sugar, most soft drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids that wear away tooth enamel.”
Rinse with mouthwash
Mouthwash is not only an agent to mask bad breath, but also very helpful in strengthening your teeth. You should buy therapeutic mouthwash that helps in strengthening teeth and maintaining overall oral hygiene. Rinsing with a therapeutic mouthwash before bed will help keep your teeth free of plaque and cavities and your gums protected from gingivitis. Consult with your dentist about which mouthwash is good for you. But, in general, you should buy a mouthwash that is alcohol free, as alcohol can dry out the mouth. It will then reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth and make your teeth more vulnerable to bacterial growth.
Visit your dentist regularly
Just because you are brushing, flossing and eating right, it does not mean that it is an excuse to not visit your dentist. Make a habit to visit your dentist for regular dental check-up and teeth cleaning. There are few dental problems that you may not be able to identify. A regular dental check-up will save you from long painful dental treatments in the future. Mark your calendar to maintain your long running oral hygiene.
Be aware of teeth grinding
If you have a habit of teeth grinding in your sleep or general, you need to take safety measures otherwise it will only lead to teeth sensitivity and worn tooth enamel. A dentist cannot stop you from teeth grinding but can make a mouth guard that you can wear at night to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding.
How to teach children about oral hygiene
Dr. Agnes Roze, Specialist Pediatric Dentist at Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic said, “Use the two by two rule, brush for two minutes twice per day. Only a pea-sized quantity of toothpaste is needed, and children should have their first dental check-up no later than one year old.”