Oral health encompasses a range of diseases and conditions such as dental caries, gum disease and tooth loss. Maintaining good oral hygiene is not just important for your mouth, teeth and gums but also for your overall well being. Research has identified the connection between oral health and diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes. Although oral diseases pose a major health burden for many countries, the bulk of oral diseases are preventable and can be treated in their early stages.
While your dental healthcare professional will do their best to ensure good dental hygiene, you must also do your part in maintaining your oral health. Self-maintenance is required to reduce the risk of dental decay and gum disease. While we may all be familiar with basic dental care, we have outlined 5 effective year-round tips to preserve the health of our mouth, teeth and gums.
- Brushing at least twice a day
Brushing twice a day is an integral part in maintaining a fresh breath, preventing gum disease and reducing the risk of dental caries. However, it is important to consider brushing technique, duration and the kind of brush you use. Current recommendations encourage you to brush for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
Also, once you have brushed, try to resist rinsing and only spit. This will keep the fluoride inside your mouth for longer. Furthermore, soft bristled toothbrushes with small heads are highly recommended as it can both clean your teeth and extend to the back of your mouth.
- Flossing daily
Flossing should be performed at least once a day. Healthcare professionals recommend flossing before bedtime in order to remove any food and plaque from staying in your mouth overnight. As traditional flossing can be cumbersome, other alternatives include dental flossers, water flossers and interdental brushes.
- Eating a healthy diet whilst limiting foods containing added sugar
What you drink and eat can have a major effect on your oral health. For this reason, it is important to be aware of what you put in your mouth. Added sugars in foods such as sweet foods (e.g. candy, chocolate etc.) and drinks (e.g. juices, carbonated soda etc.) help the bacteria turn your mouth into more of an acidic environment.
Having an acidic environment in the mouth can increase the likelihood of conditions such as gum disease and tooth decay. As difficult as it may be, trying to minimise the consumption of sweet foods is recommended. Although a nibble every now and then is acceptable.
- Reduce snacking between meals
Saliva in the mouth is a key factor for preventing tooth decay. One of the saliva’s biggest roles is to help neutralise the acids in the mouth. To retain an ample supply of saliva, snacking should be limited. The more you snack, the less saliva will be present to help prevent developing these issues.
Although it might be difficult to cut out all snacking throughout the day, you can always reduce the frequency of snacking. Grouping your mealtimes together may be an option instead of scattered eating throughout the day. Interestingly, another way of promoting more saliva in the mouth is to chew sugar-free gum which can boost its secretion from the mouth’s glands.
- Drinking fluoridated water
Drinking water helps to keep the mouth clean by washing excess food that surrounds the teeth. However, fluoridated water has the added benefit of reducing the risk of developing dental caries. Fluorine is added to our water reserves to help strengthen our teeth enamel, which strengthens the protection of our teeth. Research has shown that those who consumed fluoridated water had a 26-44% decrease in tooth decay compared to those who did not. Our recommendations are to minimise the consumption of un-fluoridated water such as spring and distilled water.
Establishing a good cleaning process is not enough to maintain good oral hygiene. Reducing frequent snacking and consumption of sugary foods will aid in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. By investing in your oral health, you are also improving your overall health and wellbeing. You can effectively and easily achieve this by following these 5 key home tips and regularly visiting your dental practitioner. For any further enquiries or booking please do not hesitate to call Dentistry on the Q