- Why is oral hygiene important?
- What are the advantages of good dental health and oral hygiene?
- What are the signs of poor dental health?
- Here are 14 tips to help you improve your dental health
- 1. Treat Tooth Sensitivity
- 2. Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- 3. Replace your toothbrush at the signs of wear.
- 4. Consider switching to an electric toothbrush
- 5. Brush your tongue.
- 6. Floss once daily
- 7. Add an antibacterial mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine
- 8. Eat a Diet That Helps Keep Your Teeth Healthy
- 9. Visit your dentist regularly.
- 10. Get your teeth cleaned regularly by your dentist
- 11. Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco products.
- 12. Drink enough water
- 13. Do a self-check of your mouth periodically
- 14. Pay extra attention to your dental health if you have diabetes
- Finally . . .
Dental health has an impact on our overall health. When we practice oral hygiene by keeping our mouths clean, we reduce the risk of diseases. Oral hygiene involves brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, visiting your dentist regularly, and following a healthy lifestyle.
Why is oral hygiene important?
By taking good care of our teeth and gums, oral health problems such as plaque, cavities, gum disease, bad breath (halitosis) and other issues can be prevented before they start.
Dental health and oral health are also linked to our overall health. A mouth infection can travel through our bloodstream carrying the bacteria to other parts of the body, triggering other health issues such as heart disease and stroke.
What are the advantages of good dental health and oral hygiene?
Studies show that gingivitis and periodontitis can cause cardiovascular disease, stroke, an infection of your heart’s inner lining, pneumonia, and pregnancy complications.
It is also important to remember that if you already have health conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease, this can have a negative impact on your teeth and gums.
What are the signs of poor dental health?
When you don’t take good care of your oral hygiene, you are likely to see the following symptoms:
- Bleeding gums
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Mouth sores that won’t heal
- Jaw swelling
- Bacterial and viral infections in the mouth
Even though the dentist can treat damaged teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental issues isn’t it much better to prevent these problems before they start?
Maintaining good oral hygiene leads to good dental health and the benefits include:
- Healthier teeth and gums
- Fresher breath
- Avoiding dental work like fillings, crowns, implants, and dentures
- Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues
- Lower risk of oral cancer
And of course, a lovely smile!
Also remember, preventative dental health care will cost you less. So, taking care of your dental health will save you time, worry, and money.
So how can you maintain your oral hygiene and stay healthy?
Here are 14 tips to help you improve your dental health
1. Treat Tooth Sensitivity
If you experience tooth sensitivity, don’t ignore it as it can put you at risk for gum disease. Talk to your dentist. There are toothpaste specifically made for people with the problem.
2. Brush your teeth at least twice a day
If you are in the habit of brushing your teeth only in the morning after you wake up, it is time to change your habits. Brushing only once a day puts your dental health at risk.
Brushing your teeth helps remove plaque and bacteria along the gum line. Brush all teeth surfaces—the front, back and sides by placing your toothbrush at a forty-five-degree angle. Brush for two minutes.
Read: how to brush your teeth properly.
3. Replace your toothbrush at the signs of wear.
Change your toothbrush every three months so that the brush is in good shape to clean your teeth properly. A worn toothbrush does not do the job and it can damage your gums.
Remember to rinse your toothbrush well before and after you use it. Store it well so that it can dry. If you have been sick, change your toothbrush right away so that the bacteria do not come right back into your mouth.
4. Consider switching to an electric toothbrush
If you’re still using a manual toothbrush, consider using an electric toothbrush for more comprehensive cleaning.
According to the ‘National Smile Month Nationwide Survey 2019’, Atomik Research, May 2019, Sample 2,003 by the Oral Health Foundation (2018), scientists found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes also result in an improved brushing experience.
Studies also find that those with poor oral hygiene and those with orthodontic appliances such as braces may benefit from electric toothbrushes, especially because plaque removal can be achieved easier and faster.
5. Brush your tongue.
This is a step most people are unaware of. Our tongues are like sponges for bacteria. So, each time you brush your teeth, also brush your tongue with your toothbrush. You can also use a tongue scraper if you like.
6. Floss once daily
Brushing alone cannot reach and clean all the spaces between your teeth, so floss once a day, preferably before brushing your teeth at night to dislodge any food particles that your toothbrush cannot.
Not flossing can lead to small particles of food and other deposits getting stuck in your teeth, which can gradually lead to tooth decay.
7. Add an antibacterial mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine
An antibacterial mouthwash keeps away oral bacteria, besides washing away food and other debris in the mouth and reducing plaque buildup. To avoid dry mouth, choose a mouthwash that is alcohol-free.
8. Eat a Diet That Helps Keep Your Teeth Healthy
The diet you eat has an impact on your oral and dental health. To keep your teeth healthy, avoid sugary food like candy, pop, sports drinks, etc. Instead, include calcium-rich foods that will also help your overall health.
Include natural and fresh foods, especially fruit and vegetables, in your diet. Examples are: leafy greens, nuts like almonds and walnuts, yogurt, and cheese. The next time you visit your dentist, ask for food recommendations to keep your teeth strong.
9. Visit your dentist regularly.
The recommended frequency for routine dental checkups is once in six months. By getting your teeth examined and cleaned regularly, you can prevent major dental issues before they even start. If you are prone to cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues, talk to your dentist about how often you need to get your teeth checked.
10. Get your teeth cleaned regularly by your dentist
Plaque removal should be your priority when visiting your dentist. Have your teeth checked for plaque and ensure it is properly removed during the cleaning process. Regular cleaning will prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
11. Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco products.
Smoking is a leading cause of gum disease and oral cancer. Avoid tobacco products. If you currently smoke and want to quit, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Smoking not only stains your teeth but also leads to other health issues like gum disease which in turn results in tooth loss and oral cancer while affecting your lung health. So quit smoking.
12. Drink enough water
Staying hydrated not only benefits your overall health but also helps you maintain a healthy saliva flow. The saliva helps your dental health by moving food particles through your mouth so that they don’t stay stuck to your teeth and invite bacterial growth. Saliva also keeps your mouth moist and happy.
13. Do a self-check of your mouth periodically
Regular dental health checkups are great to prevent bigger issues, but the best thing you can do is to make it a habit to do a self-check, in between your dentist’s visits.
Check your teeth and gums. Has anything changed? Do you notice anything unusual?
Share this information with your dentist if you are worried. This will help you in the long run.
14. Pay extra attention to your dental health if you have diabetes
Those who have diabetes have to work to maintain control of the disease to decrease the risk for other complications, including gum disease. If you have gum disease, treating it can help lower your blood sugar levels.
Talk to your doctor if your medication causes dry mouth for alternatives. If dry mouth cannot be avoided, make sure to drink enough water. And definitely avoid tobacco products and alcohol.
Finally . . .
Do remember that the best oral hygiene routine is one that you can stick to on a consistent basis. Discuss this with your dentist so that you can make a personalized routine that works best for your needs.