Whether you want to protect your teeth from decay or want to smile confidently without thinking so much about how your teeth look, oral hygiene is all what you need to be practising.
But what is oral hygiene?
Oral hygiene could be put simply as prophylaxis (preventive care) against any problems that might affect your mouth.
This means it’s a set of regular practices that you do to protect your teeth, tongue, gums, and any other structure inside your mouth from getting diseased.
Oral hygiene involves doing all the tips mentioned in this article, but more specifically, brushing and flossing your teeth, besides visiting your dentist regularly for checkups.
In this article, we give ten tips to protect your teeth. Here’s a summarized list of all these tips for those who don’t have time to read the whole article:
- Brush Your Teeth The Right Way.
- Don’t Forget to Floss once daily.
- Use Fluoride Toothpaste.
- Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months.
- Don’t Forget to Brush Your Tongue.
- Don’t Smoke.
- Do Regular Dental Checkups.
- Eat a Well-balanced Diet.
- Try an Antibacterial Mouthwash.
- Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption.
Before getting into these ten tips, we need to know first why we should care about our oral hygiene in the first place.
Caring about your oral hygiene is not a negotiable thing nowadays; we all know how important it is. But if you are still unconvinced and want to know more about why you should care, then here’s a list of all the benefits you get if you practice good oral hygiene. To make things more clear, we’ve decided to tell you the things that will definitely happen if you neglect your oral hygiene. We decided to start with the bad news first.
So what if I don’t take care of my oral health:
Here’s what will happen if you stop brushing your teeth in order:
- Dental plaques start to build up on your teeth.
- These dental plaques will, later on, harden below your gums and cause irritation and inflammation. When your gums become inflamed, they appear red and swollen (the medical term for this condition. is called gingivitis).
- Unfortunately, this gingivitis won’t stop there, and it will get worse over time which may lead to a more severe gum disease called periodontitis.
- Let’s suppose, for some reason, that you are still not brushing your teeth. Then, in the long run, the plaque on your teeth becomes very hard that you will have to go to a dentist to get it removed. This very hard plaque is now called calculus or tartar.
- Harmful bacteria that are a component of these plaques could also gain access to your bloodstream, which means they can reach any organ inside your body and cause damage. For example, when they reach your heart, they cause infection of its inner lining and valves, which is a condition known as endocarditis.
It is evident now that neglecting your oral hygiene can affect not only your teeth but also your overall health.
The animation video below shows you all the problems you will definitely get if you stop brushing your teeth.
The benefits of taking care of your oral health:
- First of all, having healthy-looking teeth boosts your confidence since you don’t need to hide away because of your bad breath or teeth.
- You will be able to taste your delicious food better, especially if you are brushing your tongue since the taste buds on its surface will be clean and ready to receive and sharply taste any food.
- More importantly, You will avoid all the harm that might otherwise have happened if you don’t take care of your oral health. These problems include but are not limited to: tooth decay, bleeding gums, bad breath, gum recession, toothache, gingivitis, and even oral cancer.
- You will also reduce the dental work you might need in the future, such as fillings or crowns. This obviously translates into more money being saved.
Now we know why we should care about our oral health, let’s move on to talk about some evidence-based tips to take care of your oral health.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 1: Brush Your Teeth The Right Way
No need to say how brushing your teeth is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. But we are not talking about brushing your teeth only; we are talking about brushing your teeth the right way. Many people brush their teeth every day, but not all of them know how to brush their teeth the right way.
So what’s the right way, you ask?
The right way to brush your teeth is achieved by doing all the following steps:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
- Brush all sides of your teeth.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Brush gently; not too hard nor too soft.
- Use the brush at an angle of 45 towards your gum to be able to clean in between your gum and teeth.
- Start brushing in small circular motions (not from side to side) to better wash off all the sticky food particles on your teeth.
At the end of this article, you will find a short video that tells you exactly how to brush your teeth the right way, step by step.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 2: Don’t Forget to Floss Once Daily
Brushing your teeth is not enough since there’s always one surface that you can’t have access to with your brush; that is the surface between your teeth. And that is exactly where dental floss comes in handy. So, we floss to remove any food remnants between our teeth.
There are many ways in which you can do flossing. For example, you can use a string, a floss holder, a plastic or wooden toothpick, or even a water flosser. But keep in mind that water flossers are not effective in clearing away the biofilm layer.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 3: Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a substance that protects your teeth from developing cavities. It does so by strengthening the hard outer layer of your teeth (known as the enamel).
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 4: Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months
It is advised to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. However, this duration could be flexible depending on the condition of your toothbrush. For example, if it wears away early, feel free to replace it as soon as possible.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 5: Don’t Forget to Brush Your Tongue
Don’t forget to clean your tongue whenever you brush your teeth. We know it could be really hard to remember to brush it, but it’s very important you do so, and here’s why; your tongue, as your teeth, can hold bacteria on its surface, and these bacteria can accumulate over time, causing undesired problems. So next time you brush your teeth, give your tongue some attention.
You can easily do so with the same brush you are using to brush your teeth or buy a tongue scraper for this purpose.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 6: Don’t Smoke
Smoking or chewing any tobacco-containing products can adversely affect your oral health. Smoking is extremely harmful to your oral as well as general health. It is among the leading causes of oral cancers worldwide.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 7: Do Regular Dental Checkups
Some of us may think, well, I brush my teeth regularly and floss every day, so why should I see a dentist so long as I am fine and not complaining of any dental problems?
That sounds quite logical, but this is not how dental care works.
Your dentist can easily catch any minor dental issue in their early stages before they cause any symptoms and thus prevent you from going through the painful late stages.
It’s recommended to have a regular dental checkup on your teeth every six months, given the fact that you are not having any active dental problems. However, this duration can change depending on your condition.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 8: Eat a Well-balanced Diet
Maintaining a well-balanced diet is great for your overall health, but when we talk about oral health, we specifically mean reducing sugary food and drinks such as soda.
But why sugar, especially among all other types of food? Why is sugar considered an enemy of your oral health?
That’s because bacteria that live on the surface of your teeth benefit from free sugar by can converting it to acids which are able to destroy your teeth over time. This can later on lead to dental caries (tooth decay).
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 9: Try an Antibacterial Mouthwash
This oral hygiene tip is not obligatory, but you can still try it out. As its name implies, this type of mouthwash works against harmful bacteria inside your mouth and helps in reducing plaque buildup.
Oral Hygiene Tip No. 10: Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Why should you reduce your alcohol consumption?
Well, alcohol and tobacco are among the leading causes of oral cancers.
Isn’t that enough to draw you away from these things?
A final tip to follow before you go:
Following all the tips mentioned above can be a great investment in your general health in the long run. However, we want to draw your attention to a significant piece of advice. That is, consistency is the key; you won’t be able to reap the fruits of your hard work unless you follow a consistent strict oral hygiene regimen. So remember to stay consistent.
Here’s a video from the American Dental Association (ADA) that tells you how to properly brush your teeth.
Isn’t it beautiful and extremely rewarding to prevent a problem from happening by taking strict measures to keep it at bay? Well, that was our topic for today; oral hygiene. We hope you stick to the tips mentioned above to enjoy lifelong healthy teeth.
We think it’s time you go and try to apply all these evidence-based tips right away. Till next time, have a good day and don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth.
Enjoyed this article!
You will find similar articles on our website that talk about different body parts like your heart, nose, eyes, urinary system, skeletal system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and much more.
The main references used in this article:
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Oral Hygiene.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oral Health Tips.
- World Health Organization (WHO), Oral health.
- Cleveland Clinic, Oral Hygiene.
- Mayo Clinic, Oral health.
Dental plaque: a sticky film of bacteria that is adherent to your teeth which can later on cause dental decay or gum diseases.
Biofilm: a layer of microorganisms such as bacteria that grow together in a matrix and adhere to the surface they lie on. It is simply the medical term for that white plaque that forms on the surface of your teeth when you stop brushing them.
Gingivitis: an inflammation of your gum in which it appears red, swollen, and can easily bleed. It’s usually a reversible condition. However, it may progress to a more severe condition known as periodontitis if neglected and left untreated.
Periodontium: In Greek, the word “peri” means around, and “odont” means tooth. So this term is simply used to describe the things that surround your tooth (soft tissue and bone) and help keep it in its place.
Periodontitis: an inflammation of the periodontium. It’s usually a chronic irreversible condition characterized by severe damage to the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. It is usually preceded by a mild form of gum disease called gingivitis and may eventually lead to tooth loss.
Endocardium: the inner lining layer of your heart. When this layer gets infected with some harmful bacteria, the condition is known as endocarditis.
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