Observing good oral health is essential for your teeth and gums. It involves regular habits like dental checkups, flossing your teeth regularly, and limiting sugary intakes among other practices. Oral hygiene is more than preventing gum diseases and cavities. Dental experts claim that there is a relationship between oral hygiene and your overall health. When you leave gum problems and tooth decay untreated, they can result in acute pain, tooth loss, and problems with self-confidence.
These problems might result in speech problems, malnutrition, and other problems at work, personal life, or school. You can, however, prevent these dental issues with good oral care at your dentist's office or in the comfort of your home. The following oral health practices can help keep your gum and teeth healthy and ensure you minimize frequent visits to your dentist:
Brush Your Teeth Regularly
Many people know that brushing their teeth twice daily is essential to removing bacteria and plaque and keeping them clean. However, brushing is only effective when you use the proper brushing techniques. You want to brush your teeth in a circular motion ensuring you brush the back, top and front of each tooth. The process should take at least three minutes. You should also avoid swinging back and forward motions.
Using a toothbrush with hard bristles or brushing your teeth too hard can damage gums and tooth enamel. The effects of hard brushing can include permanent teeth damage, gum erosion, and teeth sensitivity. Many dentists recommend you use a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should also change the toothbrush after every three months.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Many dental experts recommend you visit your dentist after every six months. During the visit, the dental expert examines your teeth, removes any hardened tartar, and cleans your teeth. Also, the dental expert looks for any visiblel signs of periodontal disease, cavities, and oral cancer. Sometimes, the dentist may use radioactivity rays to detect whether you have dental cavities.
Recent research indicates that adolescents and children should visit their dentists after every six months to help prevent cavities. But if a child practices good oral hygiene daily, they may see their dentists less frequently. You can arrange with your dentist to help determine and plan your dental appointment.
How frequently you should visit your dentist may change depending on your age, health records, and your dental health. You want to visit your dentist whenever you notice any changes in your mouth. For example, when you experience sensitivity to cold or hot foods, you want to see your dentist immediately.
Limit Starches and Sugary Foods
According to dental experts, sugary foods attract cavities. Many culprits include desserts and candy. Also, processed foods have added sugars. The WHO recommends limiting sugar intake to below 10% of their daily calories. The dental experts conclude that lowering the percentage to 5 could even reduce the potential chances of developing dental issues.
Dental experts state that starch foods including bread, crackers, and pasta, may result in dental cavity. These foods usually linger in your mouth, breakdown sugars on which bacteria-producing acid feeds. The acids produced by these bacteria can cause tooth decay. Instead of eating highly starch foods, you can change to vegetables, fibre-rich fruits, and dairy products without added sugars.
Floss Your Teeth Daily
You have heard that flossing is good dental hygiene, but how can you do it properly? When properly flossing your teeth, you remove food remains and plaques in places your toothbrush cannot easily access, especially between your teeth and under your gum line. Since plaque buildup can lead to gum diseases and tooth decay, flossing your teeth is highly recommended.
You can use two main floss types: PTFE floss and Nylon floss. Nylon comes either unwaxed or waxed and in several flavors. Since nylon floss comprises many nylon strands, it can shred or tear, especially when your teeth have tight contact points.
Alternatively, PTFE floss is expensive but easily slides between your teeth even when your teeth have tight spaces. Also, PTFE floss is shred resistant. When you use the two types of floss correctly, the flosses are excellent in removing debris and plaque.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is essential to your mouth. You are required to drink at least 8-ounce glasses of water daily. You should also take water after your meal. The following are the importance of drinking water to your dental health:
- Rinse Away Harmful Bacteria
When you drink water after eating, you cleanse away harmful bacteria, especially if you cannot speak to your toothbrush. Food leaves remnants that break down, causing cavities causing acid on your teeth. Most importantly, water dilutes the acid in your mouth. Therefore ensure you drink a cup of water after your meals.
- Strengthen Your Enamel
Do you know your teeth' surface is the hardest substance in your body? Enamel is around 96% mineral. But when you do not take care of your enamel, acidic drinks and foods can soften your enamel. To protect your teeth, you want to choose fluoridated water. Fluoride helps harden your enamel. If your local water is not fluoridated, you can ask your dental expert for fluoride supplements.
- Fight Dry Mouth
Do you know that dry mouth is uncomfortable and increases the potential risks of tooth decay and gum diseases? Saliva in your mouth helps wash away harmful acids and harmful bacteria. Ensure you take plenty of water to keep your mouth moist.
Fluoride comes from a soil element known as fluorine. Many dental experts believe fluoride plays a crucial role in fighting cavities. So, fluoride is a critical ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste. Evidence shows that lacking fluoride in your toothpaste or mouthwash may attracts tooth decay even when you take care of your teeth. The experts suggest that flossing your teeth without using fluoride does not prevent cavities.
The World Health Organization recommends the use of fluoride in the water supply. Your local government can help you determine whether the water you use contains fluoride. Many bottled water does not contain fluoride. If you use water from a well, you also want to determine the level of fluoride in the water. When the water contains limited fluoride, you want to add fluoride supplements.
Treat the Existing Cavities Before They Grow Worse
If you already have cavities, you should do what it deserves to control the situation from worsening. For example, avoid starch foods, ditch your old toothbrush, use mouthwash daily, floss your teeth and drink plenty of water daily. When you do so, you prevent the cavities from worsening.
You also want to find the right type of toothbrush. Do not use a toothbrush that harms your enamel. You can even consider an electric toothbrush. The toothbrush prevents you from applying much force when brushing your teeth and protects your enamel.
Consider Your General Oral Hygiene
Observing your oral hygiene is the best way to protect your teeth from gum diseases and cavities. You can hire your home dentist to ensure they are responsible for your and your family’s oral hygiene. Remember, oral hygiene affects your teeth and your general body. Note a healthy mouth boosts your immune system. So, you can fight viruses and infections better, while an unhealthy mouth can attract short-term and long-term health issues.
Eat More Vitamins and Calcium-Rich Foods
Although calcium is produced within your teeth, this essential mineral is stripped by bacteria and acids over time. However, you can replace calcium by eating calcium-rich foods. If you lack calcium in your diet, you want to discuss the situation with your dentist and ask for possible supplements. Also, taking a lot of vitamin D supplements can help you fight cavities. Therefore ask your doctor to offer you vitamin D supplements.
Spit, Do Not Rinse
Often many people rinse their teeth straight away after brushing their teeth. According to many dental experts, this is a bad habit. When you rinse your mouth immediately after brushing your teeth, wash away the fluoride available to protect your teeth. Therefore you want to spit instead of rinsing your mouth after brushing to avoid washing out the benefits.
Mouthwash is among the best ways to keep your teeth healthy. Using mouthwash will reduce the amount of acid in your mouth. Again, it cleans the areas you cannot easily brush in the mouth and around the gum. Untreated gum disease may result in complications like gum recession or tooth loss, but mouthwash boosts your efforts.
You want to use mouthwash as it will not only remineralize your teeth but also freshen your breath. Additionally, using mouthwash controls plaque. Plaque is a thin bacteria film on your teeth. When plaque builds up on your teeth, it hardens into tartar, resulting in gum disease and cavities.
Brushing your teeth prevents gum diseases. Failing to brush your teeth properly is as bad as failing to brush your teeth. You want to gently move your toothbrush in a circular motion to remove plaque which may result in tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Brushing your teeth properly arrests any plaque formation. Failing to brush your teeth properly results in gum disease, leading to tooth decay. Again, brushing your teeth prevents bad breath. The lousy breath may discourage friends, family members, and colleagues from developing interpersonal relationships with you.
To brush your teeth properly, choose your toothbrush wisely, as they come in different sizes. You want to choose a soft bristle toothbrush and one that can easily fit your mouth. For toddlers, you want to choose a small toothbrush with soft bristles. Choosing an appropriate toothbrush will quickly reach all the areas in your mouth to remove plaque.
Do Not Smoke
Smoking affects your dental health as it affects your gums and teeth. Cigarettes stain your teeth because of the tar and nicotine in tobacco which makes your teeth yellow or brown after a long period of smoking. When you smoke, you put yourself at risk of having gum disease.
The chemicals in tobacco result in inflammation around your teeth. The inflammation forms due to a shortage of oxygen in your bloodstream, preventing your gums from healing. Again, smoking may result in mouth cancer. Oral cancer results from consistent use of tobacco products. Oral cancer increases the chances of losing your teeth.
Eat Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
Eating crunchy fruits like apples and pears clears away plaque and bacteria. Fruits also act as a good source of fiber in your diet. Again consuming fruits like strawberries can naturally whiten your teeth. The strawberries contain the enzyme malic acid, known for naturally whitening your teeth.
Raw vegetables have several benefits for your oral health. Carrots stimulate saliva flow, part of your mouth's defense against bacteria and plaque. Additionally, saliva keeps your breath fresh and helps in digestion. Celery and carrots are rich in vitamin A, which makes your teeth strong.
Crunchy vegetables fix themselves in between the gaps in the teeth, breaking down debris on your teeth and gums. Therefore you want to consume crunchy fruits and vegetables to reduce your chances of having oral cancer and reverse gum diseases.
Brushing Your Tongue
Brushing your tongue is one of the methods of keeping your teeth healthy. Your tongue is covered in bacteria—the bacteria build up when you consume food and beverages. The bacteria build up between your taste buds and other tongue structures and continue to grow and hide unless you remove them.
When the bacteria build up on your tongue, you can not remove it with mouthwash. Again, it may result in bad breath and tooth decay. Therefore you want to ensure that your tongue is clean. You want to clean your tongue using a comfortable toothbrush every time you brush your teeth.
Brushing your tongue removes bad breath in your mouth. The bacteria in your tongue could result in gum disease if not treated. Brushing your tongue removes plaque and bacteria in your tongue, removing the full taste and letting you enjoy your food.
Again, brushing your tongue helps keep your teeth healthy, lowering the risk of oral thrush. Oral thrush is an infection that results from yeast overgrowth in your mouth. Therefore, you want to brush your tongue daily as it has plenty of oral benefits.
Switch From Manual to Electric
You want to use an electric toothbrush to keep your teeth healthy. The electric toothbrush comes with a rotating head which easily removes plaque and bacteria from your teeth. A manual toothbrush depends on your brushing motion to clean your teeth.
Electric toothbrushes are known for removing stains in your teeth, keeping your teeth bright and whiter. An electric toothbrush will suit your brushing needs as the brush comes with settings that you can customize. The brush has a gentle mode for those with sensitive teeth. The electric toothbrush cleans all nooks and crannies if you have braces.
Using the electric toothbrush will give you better results as it comes with inbuilt times to alert you when you brush for the recommended time. To keep good oral hygiene, you want to shift from using manual toothbrushes to electric ones, as they have more benefits.
Tips for Your Kids
Do you know your child’s baby milk teeth are as important as their permanent teeth? Milk teeth help your toddler to speak and chew. Again, the teeth hold the place for permanent teeth in future. When your child loses the teeth through tooth decay, they can interfere with the space for permanent teeth to develop correctly. Therefore you want to introduce proper oral hygiene to your minor during infancy. Below are practices can help keep your child’s gums and teeth healthy:
- Your child should not sleep with sippy cups or bottles. Juicy and milk contain sugars that may attract tooth decay after remaining on the teeth of the child for an extended period.
- Wipe your child’s gum with a warm washcloth before having teeth. When you do so, you remove sugar from the gums and help your minor become familiar with cleaning their teeth.
- Keep toothpaste away from the baby when you are not using it.
- When your child develops teeth, brush them twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush. If your child is less than six years, use peanut-sized fluoride toothpaste.
- When your baby approaches 12 months, ensure they become used to sippy cups.
- Caregivers or parents should help their children brush their teeth until they can without any help. Monitor your child to ensure they spit the toothpaste after brushing.
- The caregivers and the parents should not share their utensils with their children. By doing so, you can pass cavities-causing bacteria to your child.
Contact a Los Angeles Dentist Near Me
Observing your oral hygiene in the comfort of your home can help you improve your general oral hygiene and save money from dental procedures. Despite your oral health habits, you must regularly visit your dentist.
At Washington Dental, we help you improve your oral hygiene and prevent dental issues like cavities and tooth decay. We start by examining your general health and provide the advice you require to maintain your oral health. Do not hesitate to call us if you seek dental services in Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance & Lomita, CA.