Your oral health is more important than you might realize. The health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general overall health. Achieving healthy teeth takes a lifetime of care, it is crucial to take the right steps every day to take care of them and prevent problems. This involves getting the right oral care products, as well as being mindful of your daily habits.
The primary and crucial practice to maintain your oral health is brushing. The general recommendation about brushing is to brush twice daily, however, there are other important aspects with respect to brushing your teeth –
Types of brushes – There is a huge variety of brushes available in the market and they can be categorized broadly into two types, a. manual and b. electric. Manual brushes are further divided into categories depending upon the Bristle hardness (soft, medium and hard), head shape (round, squared or diamond), Bristle pattern (wavy, crisscrossed or tapered) and handle type (straight, contra-angled, non-slip grip and flexible). Electric brushes are available in two broad categories namely, Rotating toothbrush (that rotates at high-speeds and has an oscillating effect) and Sonic toothbrush (an oval brush head that pulsates at high speed and makes a vertical brushing movement). Since everyone’s mouth and teeth are different, the choice of the brush depends on your needs. Please consult your dentist to choose the right kind of brush.
Frequency and duration – Two minutes, Two times a day – Four minutes a day goes a long way for your dental health. Put the time in each day and keep up this twice-a-day habit to keep your smile healthy.
Brush properly – The way you brush is equally important — take your time, moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis (early gum disease). Also, do not neglect your tongue, plaque can build up on your tongue as well. Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
Fluoride Toothpaste – Fluoride is a leading defense against tooth decay. It works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as provide a protective barrier for your teeth. Thus, while choosing a toothpaste look for one containing Fluoride, put whitening power and flavor next on priority.
Flossing is not just for getting little pieces of food that may be getting stuck in between your teeth, it is really a way to stimulate the gums, reduce plaque, and help lower inflammation in the area. Flossing once a day is usually enough to reap the benefits.
Mouthwash helps in three ways: It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth. Mouthwashes are useful for children and older people, where the ability to brush and floss may not be ideal. Ask your dentist for specific mouthwash recommendations. Certain brands are best for children, and those with sensitive teeth. Prescription mouthwash is also available.
Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables – Eating fresh, crunchy produce not only contains more healthy fiber, but it’s also the best choice for your teeth. It is important that parents get their kids on harder-to-eat and chew foods at a younger age and to try avoiding the overly mushy processed stuff and/or stop cutting things into tiny pieces, and get those jaws working.
Limit sugary and acidic foods – Ultimately, sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, you can try reducing the quantity and frequency of consumption.
Drink more water – Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — including oral health. Also, drinking water after every meal can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods.
Visit your dentist at least twice a year – Your own everyday habits are crucial to your overall oral health. Still, even the most dutiful brushers and flossers need to see a dentist regularly. At minimum, you should see your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year. Not only can a dentist remove calculus and look for cavities, but they will also be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions.
Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.