Great Dental Hygiene Tips
Teeth are one of the most vital organs in the human body. Why is this so? Well, the teeth are located in the mouth, and the mouth is a gateway to the human body. Whatever happens within us is a function of what gets into our bodies, and the mouth is one of the openings through which things get into the body. It is therefore essential that we take good care of our teeth.
Oral hygiene involves the practice of maintaining the cleanliness of the teeth through general brushing and removal of trapped food particles. The goal is to keep the mouth clean and fresh, and free from diseases and germs. Daily practice of dental hygiene not only prevents the occurrence of bad breath but also reduces the likelihood of getting dental diseases such as tooth decay, erosion, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Generally, we are advised to brush twice daily. However, in an ideal world, the mouth requires cleaning after every meal (Claydon, 2008). There are also other commitments that we need to make to keep the teeth in top condition. Here are some of them…
Proper brushing of the teeth is essential for their maintenance throughout our life. Frankly, it is one of the most straightforward tasks to undertake to look after our teeth. Brushing should not be done haphazardly. You should place the bristles of your brush at an angle of 45 degrees to your the gum line. Also, the toothbrush surface should make contact with both the tooth and the gum line. Brushing should be done in an up-and-down, or back-and-forth motion. It is also imperative that you brush the roof of the mouth and the surface of the tongue to wipe off bacteria which usually causes bad breath. Try to avoid putting additional force while brushing your teeth. Forceful brushing can damage the outer section of your teeth known as enamel and result in teeth sensitivity. Lastly, it is vital that you routinely brush your teeth during the day. Doing so would stop the accumulation of acid in the mouth and prevents dental erosion (Arrow Smile Dental, 2011).
Manual Or Electric Toothbrush?
Choosing between these two types of the toothbrush is more of a personal choice. Both brushes are effective at removing debris and plaque if used correctly. Both toothbrushes must be well-maintained. However, their constant use would ultimately result in wear, and hence you should change your toothbrush every three months.
If you are going with a manual toothbrush, ensure you pick the one with a small head. This will brush the back of your teeth conveniently. Toothbrushes with soft bristles are mild on the gums.
An electric toothbrush is also good. In fact, it is adored by people of all ages. Its electronic motion does the perfect job of cleaning your teeth in and out. Besides, in the long-term electric toothbrushes may help to reduce plaque formation to a greater extent in comparison to the manual toothbrush. (Hasizume and Dariva, 2015).
Ensure that you use a fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel. This drastically reduces the risk of tooth decay. For children below six, use a version with low-fluoride content. Always use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for brushing (Bupa Dental; Dental Health Week).
Flossing may be a difficult task – difficult in the sense that we forget to do it often, especially after brushing. Flossing is of paramount importance since it can penetrate the recesses of our teeth and flush out debris from regions that are beyond the reach of the toothbrush. Ensure that you gently floss between the teeth and don’t forget to floss the back of your last teeth. Flossing should be done at least once every day (Frank, 2017).
Use a Tongue Scrapper
It is important that we clean the surface of our tongue. Always scrape from the back of your tongue to the front of it, so you cover its entire surface. Daily cleaning of the tongue will take away bacteria that reside on its rough part. These bacteria are responsible for halitosis (bad breath), and also impact negatively on one’s dental health. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013).
Steer Clear of Tobacco Products
You will be doing your teeth a great favour by avoiding tobacco products. By doing this, you can kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, you drastically reduce the risk of having oral cancer. Secondly, you prevent the growth of periodontal complications. Also, you will be staying away from the damaging effects of substances used to mask the tobacco smell. For instance, cigarette smokers use tea, coffee or candies to mask the smoky odour or breath. This action additionally increases the teeth damage. (NIDCR, 2012).
Increase Your Intake of Calcium-Rich Foods and Vitamins
Calcium is essential for the teeth. It is also good for bones. If you want healthy teeth, then you will do well to drink fortified orange juice, milk, and yoghurt. Other dairy products such as cheese and broccoli would also be a good bet (Staff, 2011). Calcium supplement would also be helpful although this mainly depends on your age. Vitamin D and calcium play critical roles in maintaining the health of the teeth and the gums. Vitamin B complex also helps protect the teeth and gums from cracking. You can also boost your dental hygiene with potassium, zinc, iodine, copper, and iron.
Pay Regular Visits to Your Dentist
We understand that you do your best to keep your teeth clean and fresh all day. However, it is crucial that you still consult your dentist, at least occasionally. You should visit your dentist at least twice yearly. Your dentist will carry out checkups and also clean your teeth. In addition to identifying cavities and removing calculus, your dentist can also identify potential dental problems and proffer solutions (NIA, 2015).
Arrow Smile Dental (2011). 10 Great Dental Hygiene Tips. https://www.arrowsmiledental.com/blog/10-great-dental-hygiene-tips/
Frank, K (2017). 11 ways to keep your teeth healthy. https://www.arrowsmiledental.com/blog/10-great-dental-hygiene-tips/
Bupa Dental. Dental Hygiene Tips. https://www.bupadental.com.au/oral-hygiene
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013). Oral health: Brush up on dental care basics.
Taking care of your teeth and mouth. (2015).
Seal out tooth decay. (2012).
Hashizume LN, Dariva A (December 2015). “Effect of sonic vibration of an ultrasonic toothbrush on the removal of Streptococcus mutans biofilm from enamel surface”. American Journal of Dentistry. 28 (6): 347–50.
Staff (2011). “Prevention”. British Dental Centre. British Dental Centre. Retrieved 28 June 2012
Claydon NC (2008). “Current concepts in toothbrushing and interdental cleaning”. Periodontology 2000. 48: 10–22