Oral hygiene is a vital factor for a healthy mouth, and it goes a long way to ensuring your teeth and gums last a lifetime. From babies to baby boomers, a good dental regime is important each and every day.
Here are the basics on how to attain a healthy mouth and why it’s so important.
Why should you have good oral hygiene?
Looking after your mouth, teeth and gums offers countless benefits. At one end of the scale it prevents bad breath, while at the other it avoids disease and infection that can lead to tooth loss.
It ensures that you don’t have pieces of food stuck in your teeth long after the meal, and means that you will have the least risk for problems such as periodontal disease, which is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar.
Prevention is almost always preferable to treatment in terms of hassle, discomfort and cost.
How do you achieve good oral hygiene?
The simplest and easiest way to take care of your own oral health is with good brushing and flossing at home. According to the Australian Dental Association, most adults rush their routine and only brush for approximately 45 seconds. This is less than half of what adults should be doing, which is two minutes of brushing, twice per day. You should aim to spend one full minute on the top teeth, and another minute on the bottom row, carefully ensuring that you’re brushing both the teeth and gums. Another common problem is that some people brush too hard, which can make matters worse. When you’re brushing correctly, your toothbrushes can wear down quickly, so you should aim to replace it every three months or as soon as it starts showing signs of use.
Flossing daily should be part of any good oral hygiene routine. This helps to remove plaque from between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. If flossing leads to bleeding gums, be sure to talk to your dentist.
You should also maintain regular dental check-ups with a professional. He or she will be able to use an expert eye and tools such as x-rays to determine if your teeth and gums are healthy. This will help prevent issues such as gum disease before they can arise or worsen.
How diet affects oral hygiene
Oral hygiene is about more than just keeping your mouth clean; what you eat and drink can also have a large effect on your oral health.
Sugar is a major culprit in tooth decay. Whenever we eat or drink sugary substances such as sweets or fizzy, the sugars mix with saliva, which turns into an acidic substance that attacks the teeth. This leads to erosion and decay. Limiting snacks throughout the day, as well as keeping any snacks and meals as low in sugar as possible, will help with good oral hygiene.
Saliva by itself is a great benefit for your oral hygiene. It helps to wash away food debris, and also keeps teeth and gums healthy with nutrients. To avoid snacking and increase saliva, try chewing a sugar-free gum throughout the day.
If you are a current tobacco smoker, it is also strongly recommended to quit for the good of your teeth and gums. The nicotine and tar can quickly add an unsightly yellow tinge to the teeth, and smoking can lead to a variety of oral issues such as periodontal disease and, in severe cases, oral cancer.