How to Maintain Good Oral Health
A healthy smile is a great asset and can help keep the rest of your body healthy too. But how can you maintain good oral health? Make the most of your smile and keep your mouth clean and healthy by following these simple steps.
Neglecting your oral health can cause painful problems like decay and gum disease and ultimately lead to expensive dental treatments or even losing teeth altogether. In fact, research indicates that a healthy mouth can contribute to a healthy body and have wide reaching benefits for your overall health. Problems with your teeth and gums may cause or increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke or diabetes.
Tips on How to Maintain Good Oral Health
A few small changes to your daily routine could make a big difference to your teeth and gums. Following these simple steps will help you to get a clean, healthy mouth and maintain it.
Good Brushing Habits
Over time, bits of food and bacteria can form a layer over our teeth, called plaque, which produces harmful acids that attack our teeth and gums. These acids can cause irritation in the gums and wear down the hard coating of our teeth — the enamel — eventually causing long-lasting damage.
Brushing our teeth helps to remove food debris and bacteria in our mouths, preventing plaque build-up. It’s important to brush your teeth once before bed and at least one other time during the day.
Take your time when brushing and don’t rush; the optimum time is around two minutes. Be thorough, making sure you give attention to the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth and your tongue. Remember to use short, tooth-wide strokes without applying too much pressure.
Using the Right Products
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and is added to many toothpastes and dental products. Making sure you use a fluoride toothpaste in your daily routine is an extremely effective way of protecting your teeth and preventing tooth decay.
Incorporating a mouthwash can also give you extra protection against bad breath and the build-up of bacteria. But using it straight after cleaning your teeth can wash away fluoride toothpaste; so remember to use it at different times of the day.
You may find it easier to clean your teeth more thoroughly with an electric toothbrush, many of which have special functions to make sure we brush for the right length of time and at the correct pressure. Whichever type of brush you choose, it’s important to keep it clean and to change your toothbrush, or the head of your electric toothbrush, every two to three months.
Cleaning Between the Teeth
Include using interdental brushes or dental floss in your oral health routine. They can aid with cleaning in hard-to-reach places between the teeth, helping to eliminate plaque and pieces of food that may be stuck there.
Using sharp objects like toothpicks between your teeth can actually cause damage to your gums and should be avoided.
The sugars and acids in food and drink can cause your teeth to become sensitive and contribute to tooth decay. You can help to prevent this by limiting your intake of products that are high in sugar, such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices, sweets and chocolate.
Habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol can also negatively affect your oral health, causing discoloured teeth, bad breath and an increased the risk of gum disease. If you do drink or smoke, trying to limit these habits will have an extremely positive effect not only for your oral health but for your whole body.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
Having regular dental check-ups is a great way to monitor and improve your oral health. Your dentist will be able to identify potential problems early on, treating issues as soon as they appear, or preventing problems altogether. Different people need checks at different times so ask your dentist how often you need to be seen.