Perhaps the most neglected part of the body is the mouth and dental hygiene. If you’re a dentist then you know how to maintain hygiene and keep your teeth pearly white, but for the rest of us, it’s not quite. We need constant reminders to take care of oral hygiene.
This is probably because even though oral hygiene is at the back of our minds, it fails to come to the forefront because of the daily bustle of life. In face when we have to go somewhere and we get late, oral hygiene is the first casualty.
This is where we come in; to gently remind you that taking care of dental hygiene is just as important. Poor oral hygiene can impact your entire body. You’re going to keep your teeth for life, it is only sensible to take care of them every day.
How can you take care of your teeth?
Everyone will tell you that there two ways to take care of your teeth – brushing twice daily and flossing. It is very important to get a regular checkup done every 6 months. The doctor will check for cavities and clean up any food particles stuck in the teeth.
Plaque is what damages the teeth and erodes the enamel, giving your teeth a yellowish appearance. The enamel is the protective layer around the teeth. When this is compromised there is a danger of the insides of the teeth like pulp and nerves, getting infected. This is extremely painful and you’ll have to go for a root canal treatment
Now you might hesitate to make regular visits to the dentist because it may be out of your budget. Ensure that you get your medical insurance includes dental insurance too. If it doesn’t it is worth getting yourself dental insurance separately. Sam Hayden from Tower Gate Health and Protection (https://www.towergatehealthandprotection.co.uk/) explains that it’s important to not wait until you really need a dentist before applying for dental insurance, as most providers will not let you claim until a few months after you take out a policy. It’s better to be safe than sorry. You know that you must visit the dentist regularly, it is advisable to get dental insurance immediately if you don’t have one.
How to brush effectively
Use a fluoride toothpaste! Your body needs fluoride as a trace mineral and using a fluoride toothpaste not only cleans your teeth but also fulfills your body’s needs for fluoride. Fluoridated toothpaste is the most effective is getting rid of plaque which erodes the teeth.
It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste. You must brush for at least 2 minutes each time.
There is a proper technique to clean your teeth too. The mouth is full of places that the toothbrush can’t reach if you don’t follow the proper brushing regime.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
A soft brush will be gentle on your gums. If you use a hard brush, you risk injuring the gums and making them sore. Chaffed gums are very painful and you won’t be able to eat properly. A soft brush will also reach between the teeth and clean the plaque more effectively.
- Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle
Yes! The angle at which you hold the toothbrush matters! Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle against the teeth. This ensures that you apply the correct pressure and the bristles of the teeth reach all the hidden plaque too.
- Know the correct way to brush
Never ever brush your teeth in a scrubbing and sawing motion. It is bad for your teeth in the long run. The correct way to brush your teeth is in short and gentle motion. Gently brush in a circular motion over your teeth. If you must use a back and forth motion, then make the strokes short and soft.
- Clean the tongue
Just like there is plaque on your tongue, there are food particles and plaque on your tongue too. Brushing your tongue and cleaning it avoids the buildup of bacteria which causes bad odor. The bad odor is something that you must avoid at all costs.
- Avoid eating directly after brushing
Keep a gap of at least 30 minutes between brushing your teeth and eating. This avoids bad odor and the buildup of plaque. It also allows the fluoride in the toothpaste to kill any residual germs and bacteria in the mouth.
Remember to change your toothbrush every 3 months. Definitely change it after an illness. You don’t want to use an infected toothbrush.
After brushing your teeth comes flossing. Dentists recommend that you must floss every day to keep your teeth clean. The elusive food particles that your brush can’t reach, flossing will take care of.
The curved-in spaces between the teeth are where the plaque eludes the toothbrush. The area just under the gum-line is vulnerable to the buildup of plaque too. If the plaque isn’t cleaned it turns to tartar which erodes the enamel of the teeth causing tooth decay and cavities.
The first sign of poor oral hygiene is bad odor. Take immediate steps and get rid of this. If the problem persists visit your dentist at the earliest.
What are good food habits?
Even though you brush your teeth daily and floss, there is a lot more that you can do to help your teeth. Eating the right foods for your teeth can help your teeth! Cut down on sugars. Sugars react with the bacteria in the plaque and produce acid which is very corrosive for enamel. It takes the mouth an hour to restore the natural pH balance. A lot of damage is done in this hour.
If you smoke, quit or reduce immediately. Tobacco is very harmful to the gum and leads to gum diseases which may be hard to treat.
Be careful about what you eat! Eating foods rich in sugar and carbs harms your teeth and they aren’t good for your overall health either.
Eat a lot of fresh fruits and starchy food. Even though there is sugar content, the level of reported dental caries because of such foods is less and besides these are good for your health. Rinse your mouth after every meal.
If you aren’t sure about the best dental practices, consult your dentist and make the most of them. Even if the entire process seems tedious in the beginning, once you get into a routine it’ll become second nature.