10 Oral Hygiene Tips
From the time our mother’s voice followed us to our rooms calling “Have you brushed your teeth?” most of us have had at least enough knowledge about oral hygiene to know that regular brushing is important. But, unfortunately, there’s a lot more to protecting and maintaining your oral health than a quick, hard scrub just before you go to bed at night.
A great deal has changed in the world of dentistry in the past couple of decades, just has it has in most areas of this world of science and technology. Among the changes is increased knowledge of the importance of good oral hygiene, not only in terms of our oral health, but because of the impact bad oral health can have on our bodies.
So what must we remember, and teach our children when it comes to good oral hygiene? Here are 10 tips to provide a few pointers:
1. Use the right tools:
Take pity on your tooth enamel and use a soft, short bush and replace it every three months, rather than attacking your teeth with a hard one. Get the kind of floss or interdental device that’s easiest to handle, whether it be twisted fibre, tape, or something completely different, like an interdental device with a ready-strung thread at the end of a plastic handle, or a toothpick style one with bristles at the end. Or you could go the electric route and choose a rotating toothbrush or air or water jet flossing device.
2. Clean your whole mouth:
Keeping your teeth is vital in the prevention of plaque and tartar build-up which can lead to gum disease and possible tooth and bone loss. But teeth are not the only things in your mouth that need cleaning. Don’t forget to clean at the gum line and onto the gum when brushing, and clear your tongue of debris and bacteria once a day, using your toothbrush or a special tongue cleaner. Move from the back of your tongue to the front with firm but not hard strokes. Then finish off your session with a mouthwash recommended by the dentist.
3. Come really clean regularly:
There are areas of your mouth you just can’t reach and clean properly. Let the professionals do that deep clean regularly by scheduling sessions with a dental hygienist who has the right tools and expertise to do it thoroughly.
4. Watch what goes in your mouth:
Avoid sugary and acidic food and drink – these provide the ideal conditions for bacteria and plaque build-up. Smoking and tobacco products are bad news and so is snacking just before you go to bed, and after you have brushed your teeth. Bacteria just love midnight snacks!
5. Drink water:
Plaque grows in dry areas, and so does your chance of that build-up you’re battling against. Water keeps mouth tissue nice and moist, and helps saliva perform its duty in neutralizing acidity in your mouth. Water will also step in to help if you’ve strayed from the narrow path and consumed acidic or sugary things while away for home. Wait half an hour or so and rinse your mouth.
6. Use your teeth for chewing:
Since when are teeth disposable multi-tools that can bite fingernails, cut plastic and open bottles? They are meant only for biting and chewing your food – and that’s all they should be used for.
7. Guard your teeth:
If you tend to grind your teeth at night, or expose your teeth to possible injury on the sports field, ask your local dentist about a custom-made gum guard which can protect your teeth from harm. And while you are doing so, ask him or her about the protection benefits of a dental sealants, thin coatings which can be applied to the back teeth if you have difficulty cleaning them.
8. Relax in the sun:
This is one of the most enjoyable ways to help your teeth, and one of the best excuses for relaxing outside. Spending time in the sun can help keep your teeth strong by boosting Vitamin D, which works with calcium in keeping them healthy.
9. Keep your eyes open:
Be alert to any changes when brushing and flossing your teeth. If you see bumps, lumps, red or swollen gums and bleeding, contact your dentist.
10. Check it out:
Don’t procrastinate when it comes to regular check-ups with your dentist. Ignoring them will not make their importance any less, and could land you in oral health trouble further down the line. Visit the dentist every six months, or at least once a year, to make sure all is well, and to allow your dentist to take immediate action if it isn’t.
Teeth are one of our most valuable assets, and we only get given one permanent set of them. Taking them for granted, and not looking after them properly, can cost us big time in terms of our health and our pockets, while a paying attention to our oral health only has benefits.