Oral health problems are considered a global health burden by experts around the world.
At any point in time, billions of bacteria are present inside our mouths.
Without adequate care, these bacteria build up and form plaque, a thin film on the teeth. Plaque leads to tooth decay and gingivitis, which may escalate to periodontal (gum) disease.
The absence of cavities and gum disease does not indicate good oral health. Research has established a link between oral health and overall health in an individual.
Adopt these 12 tips as advised by dentists at Dental Artistry, for a healthy dental lifestyle:
- Opt for fluoride products
Fluoride is a common ingredient found in mouthwashes and toothpaste. Fluoride is derived from a natural element found in soil known as fluorine. Fluoride is an essential ingredient that prevents the formation of cavities.
Research has revealed that a lack of fluoride in tooth care products can result in tooth decay, even in the presence of adequate care such as brushing and flossing.
- Use the right toothbrush
Not all toothbrushes can get the job done. The International Dental Health Association recommends toothbrushes with small- or medium-sized heads.
Toothbrushes with small heads and bristles can reach into the crevices of your molars. This allows accumulated food debris to be removed effectively.
A large toothbrush head will be unable to reach those areas. The kind of bristles also matters. Toothbrush bristles may be soft, medium, or hard. Pick the type that fits your teeth; medium is a good choice to ensure you can brush properly.
- Brush properly
Brushing your teeth is an essential part of keeping them clean. But do you brush properly? When brushing, the brush bristles should be positioned at a 45-degree angle near the gum line.
A 45-degree angle allows the bristles to clean both the gums and the tooth surface. Make sure to brush the inner and outer surfaces using an up-and-down, back-and-forth motion.
Try to brush gently to avoid injuring your teeth and gums.
You should brush at least twice a day. Brushing should clean the entire mouth and not only the teeth. This is important because bacteria in the mouth can affect the gums and other structures in the mouth.
- Brush your tongue
This seems like a non-issue, but many people neglect the tongue during mouth cleaning. Plaque can build up on your tongue if not cleaned well. A dirty tongue is a key causative factor in bad breath.
Everytime you brush your teeth, take a little time to brush your tongue.
- Regular visits to the dentist are a must
Oral health care specialists recommend that all individuals visit a dentist every 6 months for a routine check-up. Timely visits to the dentist prevent oral health issues from becoming severe before they are diagnosed and treated.
During routine dental examinations, a dental hygienist cleans your teeth and gets rid of hardened tartar and plaque. Your dentist checks your mouth for signs of gum disease, cavities, mouth cancer, and other issues.
It is recommended that children and adolescents see a dentist twice a year to prevent cavities. Adults with good daily dental hygiene practices are less likely to develop oral health problems and thus, they may visit the dentist less frequently.
- Use a mouthwash for added protection
A mouthwash or mouth rinse is an added step of protection against oral problems. Mouthwashes should be used together with daily brushing and flossing for various reasons. Apart from increased cleanliness of your mouth, antimicrobial mouthwashes hinder bacteria growth and plaque formation. This helps prevent gum disease and gingivitis.
A fluoride mouthwash reduces and prevents the development of tooth decay. It should be noted that fluoride rinses are not suitable for children aged 6 and below because they might ingest them.
- Minimize or eliminate soda
You know how you love that fizzy, bubbly sensation soda gives. Well, all that fizziness can be bad for your teeth. Soda achieves its bubbliness due to the mix of two main components: citric acid and phosphoric acid. These substances can wear out the topmost surface of your teeth. This is a real issue if you take soda on a daily basis. Daily intake of soda will soften your enamel and enhance the formation of tooth cavities.
Replace soda with water as often as possible. Add crushed berries, citrus slices, or mint leaves for flavour. If you must drink soda, use a straw to prevent direct contact with your teeth.
- Floss properly
Flossing makes it possible for you to clean the hard-to-reach areas between teeth. Proper flossing ensures that germs and food debris between teeth are removed. It is recommended that you use a piece of floss at least 18 inches long. This length is advised to ensure that a fresh portion of floss is used every few teeth and that removed germs and debris are not reinserted.
Floss should rub against the teeth in a forward or backward ‘C’ shape motion that wraps the floss around each tooth.
- Avoid sugar
Sugar is the primary cause of tooth decay. Each time you eat something sweet, your mouth produces acids to dissolve it. The produced acid may linger for as long as 20 minutes, wreaking havoc on your teeth and gums.
Sugar also enhances the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which causes plaque formation. Avoid tooth decay by minimizing your intake of sugary foods and drinks. In addition, build the habit of brushing and flossing after drinks, snacks, and meals.
- Use your teeth wisely
You should stop using your teeth to remove bottle caps, crack hard nuts, open packaging, or pull on things. Use your teeth for breaking your food down and nothing else.
Using your teeth for other functions may result in your teeth chipping or even breaking.
- See the dentist when you need to
For one reason or the other, you might avoid seeing the dentist when you need to. You may be afraid of huge costs, a bad diagnosis, or just the dentist. No matter the reason for your fear, remember that an early diagnosis and timely treatment will prevent the issue from becoming severe.
If you experience tooth pain or sensitivity and jaw pain, you should make an appointment with your dentist.
Without troubling symptoms, it is advised that you see your dentist for preventive check-ups and treatments that will help you avoid serious issues.
- Include teeth vitamins into your diet
You need certain vitamins and minerals for healthy teeth. Vitamin D, vitamin B complex and calcium are essential for maintaining healthy teeth. Vitamin C is important for healthy gums.
Oral hygiene is essential for healthy teeth, fresh breath, and the prevention of severe oral health issues caused by poor oral care.
A good understanding of how to care for your teeth and your mouth in general will protect your healthy, beautiful smile for years to come.