Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is important to your overall well-being. Good dental hygiene can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
The findings of this study suggest that the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of adolescents improved with frequent tooth cleaning and interdental tooth cleaning. Among the independent variables, being male, rural residence and poor knowledge were associated with poor practice of oral hygiene.
Brushing your teeth every day is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent tooth decay. Brushing removes plaque, which is a major cause of tooth decay and gum disease. It also helps keep your teeth strong by removing food particles and strengthening the tooth enamel.
Brush for at least two minutes at least twice a day to ensure you’re brushing your teeth properly. Use toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance and brush gently to avoid damaging your teeth.
Flossing is just as important as brushing and should be done daily. Flossing removes the bacteria that linger between your teeth, where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. It’s recommended to use a dental floss with a pick, and be sure to floss at the back of your mouth, under your gum line, and between each tooth. A quality dental floss is essential, and you can find a variety of options at your local pharmacy.
Flossing removes food and reduces the bacteria that cause plaque, a sticky substance that leads to tooth decay. It is important to floss every day (especially if you have dental work like crowns, implants, or bridges) as it cleans areas that your toothbrush cannot reach.
You can use dental floss, a dental pick, or an interdental brush to clean between your teeth. It is best to floss before brushing each day. When using a tool to clean between your teeth, remember to bring it up and down on both sides of each tooth, and not to push too hard as this can hurt your gums.
When flossing, be sure to use a sufficient length (the ADA recommends 18 inches) and a good technique. Unwind a section of floss, curve it around one tooth and under the gum line, and then move to a fresh section. You may notice that your gums bleed at first, but this usually stops within a few days as you develop the habit of flossing regularly. Flossing is not easy to get into, and many people find it difficult to stick with.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Visiting your dentist regularly is essential for keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. Even the most diligent brushers and flossers need to visit their dentist for professional cleanings on a routine basis. Hygienists can reach places in your mouth that you cannot and are adept at catching early warning signs of tooth decay, gum disease and other serious dental issues.
In addition, routine visits allow the hygienist to get up close and personal with your teeth and gums to remove hardened plaque that you can’t reach with regular brushing and flossing. This preventative dentistry is typically completely covered by your dental insurance and will save you from having to pay for more expensive treatments if tooth decay or gum disease are caught too late.
Depending on your unique medical and dental history, your dentist will recommend an exam and cleaning schedule that best suits you. For most, this means a six month visit to the dentist; however, more frequent visits may be necessary if you have a higher risk of dental problems.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important for ensuring your oral health, and that includes eating foods that are both good for you and for your teeth. Avoid sugary, starchy, or acidic foods throughout the day and eat them only during meals so that they are less likely to stick to your teeth. When you eat these foods at meal times, the body produces more saliva to help digest them, which helps wash away food particles and neutralize harmful acids before they can damage teeth. Drink a lot of water, as well; it can also help wash away sugars and acids from snacks and meals.
Practicing good oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing and rinsing, can greatly reduce your risk of serious dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease. These conditions can cause bleeding and swelling of the gums, bad breath, and even lead to tooth loss. However, by practicing these essential routines daily and visiting the dentist regularly, you can avoid these conditions altogether.
Smoking increases your risk of gum disease and causes many other health conditions related to the mouth and throat. In addition, smoking causes teeth to discolor and decreases saliva production, which is an important component of your oral hygiene routine.
For smokers, it is especially important to practice good oral hygiene and to use toothbrushes and toothpaste that are specially formulated for smokers and non-smokers. For example, there are toothbrushes with stiff bristles that can reach between the teeth and there are toothpastes formulated to remove tobacco and nicotine stains from the teeth. Additionally, it is helpful to rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash, which can kill bacteria in hard-to-reach areas and help prevent infections.