In 2010, there were nearly 15.6% children aged in the U.S. between 6-19 years with untreated carries. A good dental hygiene is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects today. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle often starts with oral health, most of us forget to pay attention to our dental needs.
Not brushing at the right times or with proper brushing equipments can complicate dental care. You need to take a look at maintaining your oral hygiene. Dental care is a must and if you’re looking to improve your oral health, here are some must-knows.
1. Choose the Right Toothbrush
What type of toothbrush should you choose?
The market has different brushes, ranging from soft to hard to electric brushes. The best kind are the ones with soft bristles as our teeth do not need hard brushing.
How should you brush?
Brush slowly and with circular movements – this allows the bristles to reach farther into the dental gaps and cavities and remove plaque. The enamel, which is a thin coating over our teeth and makes them appear white, can get eroded upon hard brushing.
Fact to know
Interestingly, our teeth are naturally yellow and it is the enamel which makes them look white. Brushing too hard does not cause them to become whiter, and in fact, erodes them. Brush for at least two minutes each time.
2. Get the Ideal Toothpaste
What type of toothpaste should you use?
Many toothpaste companies claim to have been recommended by dentists around the world. So, how do you know which one’s the best? While it might seem confusing, the actual recommendation by dentists is often to use any toothpaste with sufficient fluoride in it.
Do you need to think of anything else?
All other variables don’t factor in heavily as long as the toothpaste fulfils the basic chemical criterion and the method of brushing is correct.
3. Brush Twice Daily
Why and when should you brush twice?
The rationale behind brushing twice is two-tiered. First, brushing at night prevents acidic build-up in the mouth. This can, in turn, cause teeth and gum erosion. Second, brushing in the morning removes any plaque or acidic build-up which may have formed at night.
How does it help?
Regular brushing readies the teeth, gums and tongue for the solid and liquid intake of the day. Use short back and forth motions holding the toothbrush at a slight angle to achieve the best results.
4. Cleaning the Tongue
Why should you clean your tongue?
Confused where that foul breath comes from? It’s probably your unclean tongue – and no, it doesn’t matter how talkative you are – you need to clean your teeth every day. The process of plaque-formation takes place not only on the teeth and crevices but also on the tongue. Over time, it can cause major foul breath despite brushing properly.
How should your tongue cleaner look like?
Ideally, a tongue cleaner made of plastic is best-suited for your mouth. It bears minimal chances of infection as opposed to metallic tongue cleaners.
5. Avoid Greasy Food, Smoking and Certain Drugs
How does food affect your teeth?
The food you take can determine your oral health too. High acidic foods that are consumed in the morning or at night can cause tooth decay despite the best of measures you may take.
When should you avoid eating?
Try to abstain from consuming too much of soda and junk food right after or before bed. Avoid tooth-staining foods like coffee and tea in large quantities. It is best not to consume anything within half an hour of brushing. This ensures that the teeth are fully readied for food intake.
What else do you avoid?
Avoid drugs such as methamphetamine and nicotine. Nicotine, a substance commonly found in all cigarettes, can cause severe and irreversible damage to your teeth.
6. Replace when Necessary
When should you replace?
Don’t use your toothbrush for months on end. A good toothbrush can last for around three to four months.
Why should you do it?
Replacement is necessary as the bristles of the toothbrush will break down over time and the effectiveness will be lost severely. So, your toothbrush cannot make way to all the tricky corners as it used to make your mouth unclean, and a place for bacteria to thrive.
7. Mouth Rinse
How does it help?
Rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth is a good habit and goes a long way towards dental health. It can significantly reduce plaque, as the rinse can reach areas your toothbrush cannot. More it disinfects the mouth including the tongue and offers you a fresh feeling all along.
What should you look out for?
Some mouth rinses even contain fluoride or other antiseptics, antiviral and antibacterial properties enabling complete protection of your mouth. You can use them for better protection.
Why should you floss?
Another important aspect of the everyday care of your teeth is to floss your teeth at least once a day (which is sufficient for maintaining a good oral health care routine). Flossing removes:
- the food particles stuck between your teeth,
- the thin layer of bacteria which later develops into plaque.
Tips to take care
- remember to floss between your teeth and pull the floss against the two surfaces of the tooth.
- Scrape off plaque by pulling the floss from the gumline to the top and do not forget to use fresh floss.
- Flossing every day is a sure-shot way to ensuring minimal chances of gingivitis, tooth decay or tooth loss.
9. Use an Interdental Cleaner
How can it help?
Use an Interdental Cleaner
Interdental cleaners can help clean the wide teeth spaces. If the gaps between your teeth is too big for effective use of floss, you can try using interdental cleaners.
Which one do you need?
They are small and can come in different widths to match your needs. Your dentist can tell you how to use interdental cleaners in a better way.
10. Don’t use tooth picks
Why shouldn’t you?
It’s a good idea to not use any substances that are not made for dental care.
How can it affect you?
For instance, using toothpicks all the time can damage the tooth enamel and even cause blood to ooze out. Venners and bonding can break easily too if you’re using toothpicks. Increased use of toothpicks can also mean that the gum of the tooth can get damaged.
11. Have a Healthy Diet
How can it help?
A healthy diet keeps gum diseases at bay and helps your tooth have ample time to recover without being attacked by bacteria all the time.
What should you do?
Intake more Vitamin based foods like milk, egg yolk and fish. You can even have cheese for protein and baking soda can help stop stains. You can also take in fruits like apples, pears and carrots and they’re a great way to brighten your teeth and scrub away the teeth stains. Lemon juice can help remove stains too.
What should you not have?
Don’t have baking soda though if you’ve recently had crowns or venees.
12. Don’t take Acid Reflux Lightly
What can it do?
If you’re suffering from acid reflux, consult a doctor immediately. Over the long term, acid reflux can cause significant tooth erosion and result in tooth paid and increased tooth sensitivity to certain foods and drinks that are either hot or cold. Acid reflux can also lead to darkening of the teeth.
How do you reduce it?
A great way to reduce acid reflux is to reduce the amount of chocolate, alcohol, tea, sodas, coffee, tomatoes, mint, citrus fruits, fried foods, vinegar and pickles that you take. You can have smaller meals and focus on losing weight if you’re overweight.
Remember to not smoke and drink water regularly. Sometimes, acid reflux may erode away your tooth so let your dentist know if you’re suffering from it.
13. Drink Tea and Coffee with Straw
How will it help?
Drinking tea and coffee with straw ensures that the sugar and acids do not hit your teeth surface directly, thereby significantly reducing the chances of teeth exposure to these beverages.
14. Massage Gums
Why should you massage gums?
Massaging gums will increase the blood flow and help build up the immune system of the body.
How to massage gums?
You should massage your gums with a clean finger. Make massaging your gums after brushing a daily habit. You can make massaging your gums a habit every day whenever you’re brushing.