Complete Oral Health: 8 daily steps for healthy teeth and gums
Good oral hygiene is pretty much the starting point of good overall health. To keep a healthy mouth you need to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy. Research has established that there is a direct association about how oral health affects overall health.
Why is Oral Health Important?
It’s not all abstract health! Care for your teeth and gums results in a brilliant healthy, confident smile. That bright smile showing off your white teeth is, in fact, the best motivation to concentrate on your oral health care. This article is going to share with you how to maintain good oral health.
So, what’s involved in good oral health care – Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day and using mouthwash once a day.
The jury is out on the positive benefits of chewing sugarless gum. This too may have some positive benefits.
Beyond that, avoid sugary treats, avoid sugary drinks, do not smoke, and see your dentist at a frequency suggested by your dentist.
What does good oral health seek to achieve? Quite simply, a mouth that is free of cavities, tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease.
All of these problems can be avoided with daily good oral care at home and regular professional care with a dentist
Brush your teeth twice a day
Brushing your teeth after every meal. Brush at least twice a day, and floss once a day, use an inter-dental brush if advised by a dentist, every time you brush your teeth. You should also know how to brush your teeth.
Mere brushing of teeth is not enough. Brushing the right way is equally important. A bad brushing technique can be harmful. The rapid see-saw motion in brushing can even lead to recession of the gums.
A good brushing technique is using the toothbrush in a small circular motion. Care must be taken to brush both the front and the back of the teeth.
Brushing well does not mean brushing hard. Brushing too hard is harmful to the teeth; aggressive brushing can damage tooth enamel and cause gum erosion.
The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) recommends brushing with a toothbrush that is not too hard and has rounded bristles. You will need to buy a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
Use toothpaste with fluoride
Fluoride is believed to help prevent cavities. It is a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash.
While you should look for toothpaste with fluoride, there are in fact toothpaste that contain no fluoride at all. These products should be used with care as the absence of fluoride in oral care products can lead to tooth decay setting in. This is regardless of regular brushing and flossing of teeth.
The Canadian Dental Association supports the appropriate use of fluorides in dentistry as one of the most successful preventive health measures in the history of health care. Over 50 years of extensive research throughout the world has consistently demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of fluorides in the prevention of dental caries.
The addition of fluoride is also something that is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO: research on the oral health effects of fluoride started around 100 years ago; with the focus on establishing the link between water and fluorides and dental caries and fluorosis, topical fluoride applications, fluoride toothpaste, and salt and milk fluoridation.
Most recently, efforts have been made to summarize the extensive database through systematic reviews. Such reviews by the WHO conclude that water fluoridation and use of toothpaste with fluoride and mouth rinses with fluoride, significantly reduce the prevalence of dental caries.
Floss once a day
Flossing is an important part of an ideal oral care regimen. So, what is flossing and what does flossing do? Flossing reaches between teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. By getting rid of any plaque or food particle that has accumulated between teeth, flossing can help prevent bad breath.
The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) recommends that Dental floss helps removes food particles from between the teeth and under the gumline. It’s recommended by the ODA that you floss daily.
Using the right flossing technique is also important, rapid up and down movement of the floss can cause pain and at the same time not remove the plaque effectively. A more gentle movement that takes the floss down to the gumline and pulls all the way up.
In addition to floss, there are other products that can help you clean between your teeth. Dental tape is one such alternative. Dental tape is like just like the floss, except that it is flatter and wider. Other alternate products for cleaning between the teeth are dental picks, water flosser or plastic sticks.
Regular dental care from a Dentist
Most expert dentists recommend that people should see their dentist every 6 months or even more frequently as recommended by the dentist.
The checkup done by the dentist includes X-rays all of which help the dentist is diagnosing the presence of cavities, gum disease, cancer of the mouth
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that how often you go for dental exams depends on your oral health needs. The goal is to catch small problems early. For many people, this means a dental exam every six months. Your dentist may suggest that you visit more or less often depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums, problems you have that need to be checked or treated, how fast tartar builds up on your teeth, and so on.
X-rays are an important tool used by your dentist in making a diagnosis. If you are not sure why a particular x-ray is being taken, ask your dentist. Remember that modern dental x-rays deliver very little radiation; they are a key tool for your dentist to ensure that small problems don’t develop into bigger ones.
How often you go for dental exams depends on your oral health needs. Your dentist will determine that you need a dental exam more frequently than once every six months.
Smoking tobacco damages your lungs, what is less understood is that smoking can also cause serious oral health problems. In their scheduled care of your oral health, your dentist will screen you for early signs of oral cancer and periodontal disease. Both conditions can be caused and aggravated by smoking.
Smoking’s social oral health problem is the creation of bad breath.
The Canadian Dental Association warns of the danger of smoking; that smoking additionally damages the body’s immune system. In fact, a smoking habit has the ability to slow the healing process following a tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or oral surgery.
From an oral care point of view; smoking can lower the success rate of dental implant procedures.
In addition, smoking can cause an inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth
To help you quit smoking, your dentist may be able to help you calm your nicotine cravings by recommending medication solutions like nicotine gum and patches. Some of these products can be purchased over the counter; while others will require a prescription.
Some traditional medicine solutions also exist to help you give up smoking. These include some herbal products and acupuncture. Care needs to be taken when using these products, as these are often not backed with comprehensive research.
Use a mouthwash
Mouthwash use is considered helpful in maintaining good oral health. An ideal schedule is a daily rinse using an antiseptic or an antibacterial mouthwash. This would help to kill bacteria that cause plaque, gingivitis (gum disease), and bad breath.
The best mouthwash could be one that has both antibacterial and fluoride ingredients.
It would be best to ask you, dentist, what kind of mouth wash would be best for your specific individual requirement.
People may wish to ask their dentist which is the best mouth wash for their individual needs. Mouthwash cannot substitute brushing and flossing, but it can complement these practices.
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) has listed on its website products have oral health benefits validated by the CDA. This includes a comprehensive list of mouthwashes and rinses.
Five Benefits of using a mouthwash on oral health
– Freshens your breath. Even though the ‘minty breath’ impact might be short-lived.
– Prevents a buildup of plaque
– Removes food particles stuck in your mouth after a meal.
– Prevents cavities from forming
– Help to reduce or control gingivitis
It must be remembered that using mouthwash is to be in addition to brushing and flossing. A mouthwash is not adequate by itself in helping to maintain good oral health.
A mouthwash can be used for both cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. Alcohol-free mouthwash is one such type of product whose benefit of use would be similar to other mouthwashes but the value of which would depend on the individual. It’s important to select a mouthwash or mouth rinse that will be most effective in meeting your personal dental needs.
An additional caveat with mouthwash is that young children should only use a mouthwash upon advice by a Dentist. Young children, particularly children under 6 should not use mouthwash as there is a danger that they may inadvertently swallow a large amount of mouthwash.
Cut down on sweet treats
While important for everyone, this point is particularly important for children, especially with Halloween just around the corner.
Eating sugary foods results in the bacteria in the mouth interacting with the sweet to create acids as a by-product. These acids work on the enamel of your teeth, making the enamel weaker and potentially giving rise to a whole load of issues including, tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis and making your teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods or beverages.
When snacking is habitual and occurs throughout the day, then this acid gets the entire day to work on the tooth enamel. The damage gets multiplied manifold.
While Candy and dessert are the common culprits, other starchy foods, for example, biscuits, pasta, cookies, etc can also cause similar tooth decay.
As we know excessive sugar consumption has other problems too. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day or about 9 teaspoons.
The CDA recommends that instead of sugary or starchy foods that we supplement our snacking with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
Sweet Overdose – 8 Oral health tips for great teeth and gums
- Avoid hard or sticky candy that will stay in your mouth for a long time
- Stay away from food that is high on artificial coloring and preservatives
- Time your candy or dessert snack time. Ideally, eat these treats with meals or just after meals. Saliva production increases during meals, this tends to cancel out the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth.
- Drink a lot of water. Water will flush off food residue and prevent plaque formation
- Do not snack on sweets late night when there might be food residue remaining when you go to sleep.
- Brush your teeth after a sugary snack
- Chew sugar-free gum
- If you have sensitive teeth switch to a tooth sensitivity toothpaste
Cut down on pop that is high on sugar
Soda, Cola or Pop, all are names for high-on-sugar, carbonated beverages. These are bad on teeth for children and adults alike. Although the negative impact of this high on sugar pop is the worst for children. Pop, juice, or other sugary carbonated drinks can lead to a higher risk of dental decay and cavities.
Cutting down on pop helps not only with oral health but also with obesity.
Fruit juice is also a culprit. Fruit juice is also high in sugar and calories. Eating fruits is much better than drinking juice.
If you can replace pop or fruit juice with water that would be an ideal solution. It would keep you hydrated and at the same time prevent any tooth decay from happening.
For children, water and milk are both good options.
According to the CDA water is the best drink to have between meals and throughout the day. You could also supplement that with moderate amounts of unsweetened tea.
Keeping a set of healthy oral care habits, which includes brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash can help prevent tooth decay, and gum disease.
You can prevent most oral health problems with these simple 8 steps:
8 Simple steps for great oral health
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Use toothpaste with fluoride
- Floss once a day
- Do not smoke or worse chew tobacco.
- Use mouthwash once a day. More often if you are snacking on sweet treats.
- Cut down on sweet treats particularly of the sticky kind
- Cut down on pop and other sugary drinks.
- Visit a dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning.