Oral Hygiene For Healthier Teeth

Good oral hygiene is more than brushing your teeth and using mouthwash to keep your breath minty fresh. The health of your teeth depends on your oral hygiene routine which can prevent issues like gum disease, tooth decay, chewing problems, sore and bleeding gums, and even tooth loss.

It’s important to understand the steps to the best daily oral hygiene routine. Following a good oral hygiene routine will allow you to chew well and enjoy food, and keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong as you get older.

Wouldn’t it be nice to only have to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning? The better your oral hygiene now, the fewer visits you will have to make to the dentist due to tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth pain. You save money, save time, and most importantly, you save your teeth by implementing good oral hygiene. And if you want whiter teeth, checkout the best teeth whitening kits to get those teeth whiter!

Why Are Teeth So Important?

The Oral Health Foundation explains that teeth come in many shapes and sizes depending on their location in your mouth. They have different jobs to do. The most important is that they allow us to chew and digest food.

Besides eating, they assist us in forming words and pronouncing different sounds. They give our face shape. Your smile makes you feel good about yourself. You won’t have a confident smile without your teeth looking and feeling their best.

Potential Teeth Problems

Tooth decay due to a lack of oral hygiene can be painful and lead to fillings, inlays, or crowns. If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to infection or abscess. This can affect the tooth nerve and the tooth can die which leads to a root canal or the need for the tooth to be removed.

Gum disease is another result of poor oral hygiene. If gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to bone degeneration around the teeth. Bone loss can result in loose teeth or teeth needing to be removed.

The good news is, you don’t have to suffer through these painful experiences if you are proactive with your oral hygiene, get your teeth cleaned, and visit your dentist regularly. Your teeth will be healthier, you will be happier, and you can smile with confidence.

The Problem with Plaque

As you probably know, plaque is that sticky bacteria film that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay. Plaque is a fact of life, but if you improve your oral hygiene, you will have less. Every time you eat food with sugar and starch, the plaque bacteria produce acid that attacks your tooth enamel.

Since the plaque is so sticky, it bonds the acid to your teeth. The constant attack of acid, if left unchecked, breaks down the tooth enamel and creates a hole or cavity.

When you don’t remove the plaque by brushing, the plaque hardens into ‘tartar’ or ‘calculus’. If the tartar forms at the gum line, it can release toxins that make the gums inflamed and irritated. This leads to the gums pulling away from the teeth and leaving gaps. The gaps can easily become infected.

Infected gums lead to gum disease. This chain of events, if left untreated, can lead to bone loss that destroys teeth. Teeth can eventually loosen and fall out. Fortunately, regular cleaning and good oral hygiene will prevent plaque from damaging your tooth enamel and help prevent gum disease.

How to Brush Correctly

An important aspect of good oral hygiene is knowing how to correctly brush your teeth. Dental Health Services provides instruction on How to Clean Your Teeth and Gums.

Five steps to Brushing Correctly

Tilt your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line and add a small dab of toothpaste
Brush in a circular motion
Be sure to brush the inside and the outside of your teeth
On the top of your teeth (chewing surfaces) use a back and forth motion
Spit the toothpaste out.
You don’t need to rise as the fluoride will help protect tooth decay

Best Toothbrushes for Removing Plaque

While many people still use a traditional toothbrush, the fact is that electric toothbrushes are far superior in removing plaque than manual toothbrushes. This is true for several reasons. First of all, they never feel tired or lazy and always provide the brushing action best for removing plaque.

Also, most people don’t pay attention to how long they are brushing their teeth. The timers on the electric toothbrushes make it easy to ensure you are brushing your teeth to the optimal amount of time. The time you spend brushing has a direct correlation on how efficient you are at removing plaque.

There are three types of toothbrushes on the market. They range in price and vary in features. If you can afford an electric toothbrush, it is recommended as it may save you visits to the dentist and quickly pay for themselves.

Manual Toothbrush: This basic toothbrush is powered by you. It’s the toothbrush you probably grew up with. There are many bristle designs and styles of brush heads. They don’t require power. Your dentist can recommend which brush would be best for you if you choose to go manual.

Rechargeable: Rechargeable electric toothbrushes are often called “power” toothbrushes. They have to be plugged in to recharge. You keep the handle but replace the head every three months. Advanced cleaning technology provides these power brushes with features like sonic technology to boost cleaning action.

Battery Powered: If you prefer batteries over recharging, consider a battery-powered toothbrush. These brushes use AA batteries for their power. Battery-powered will be similar to a manual toothbrush but provide vibration for extra cleaning power.

The Importance of Flossing

Most people are great about brushing their teeth daily, but ask yourself, “Do I floss regularly?” Flossing is an extremely important aspect of good oral hygiene. It not only cleans between your teeth, but it removes food trapped between teeth and reduces the amount of plaque and harmful bacteria.

According to Healthline, around 4 to 10 Americans floss their teeth once a day. 20% of all Americans don’t floss at all. It’s not enough just to floss, if you don’t floss correctly you can potentially do damage to your gums and teeth.

Let’s look at the proper way to floss using traditional floss.

1. First, break off 18 t0 24 inches of floss. Wind the floss around your middle fingers leaving only 1 or 2 inches between your fingers.
2. Hold the floss taut between your index fingers and your thumbs.
3. Floss between each tooth by gently gliding against both sides of each tooth without flossing into your gums. This will cause scratching and bleeding.
4. When you reach the gum line, curve the floss in a “C” pattern to floss the space between the gums and teeth.
5. Move between each tooth and use a new section of floss for each tooth. Be sure to floss around the backside of the last molars. Even though they are not next to a tooth on the outside, you are still removing plaque and bacteria.

When to Floss

Not only is flossing important, but you also need to know when to floss to have the best oral hygiene regimen. Flossing will help remove the food and plaque stuck between your teeth that brushing alone will not address. The American Dental Association recommends flossing after brushing, at least one or even better, twice daily.

Types of Floss

· Regular floss – comes in a variety of types like waxed, mint, and different thicknesses. The most important aspect of using traditional floss is technique. Which one you use is up to your personal preference.
· Floss picks – picks are easy and convenient to use. You can use them one-handed and keep them in your pocket or purse. There are no messy strings and finding the right angle is easier.
· Water picks – dental water jests use high-pressure water to remove plaque and food particles. They are excellent for improving gingivitis or gum disease. They are easier to use for those who have difficulty flossing and are very effective.
· Air floss – this dental innovation uses micro drops of water to remove plaque, bacteria, and any food trapped between teeth. Air floss uses intermittent air bursts and only a teaspoon of water. It’s cordless, doesn’t take up the space of a water pic, and cleans between your teeth in a minute. Air floss is great for those with braces.

8 Steps to Good Oral Hygiene

Medical News Today reports that good oral hygiene is not only important for preventing cavities and gum disease. Research has shown there is a direct correlation between an individual’s mouth and their overall health. Oral health has become a worldwide health issue, and it can also lead to teeth that are much more yellow. This is a problem because there are teeth whitening kits you can use at home, and they work well. Here is our favorite at Target.com – home teeth whitening kit.

If a mouth is unhealthy, it can lead to not only pain and tooth loss, it can contribute to malnutrition, mental health issues, and speech problems. The best way to combat those problems and ensure you have healthy teeth and gums is to follow a routine for good oral hygiene.

Here are 7 steps you can follow to get yourself on the road to good oral hygiene.

1. Brush Regularly
Most individuals brush their teeth twice a day which is great for removing plaque and keeping your breath fresh. Brushing with the wrong technique can actually damage tooth enamel so brush regularly and not over aggressively. Brushing too vigorously can damage your protective layer of tooth enamel.

If you tend to brush hard, try using a brush with softer bristles. You should also be replacing your toothbrush every 3 months or when it starts to look frayed.

2.Use Fluoride
Fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash. Dental health experts believe that using fluoride can help prevent cavities. Not all dental products contain fluoride and some people choose not to use it.

There is evidence that a lack of fluoride can promote tooth decay. Some studies found that brushing and flossing without using fluoride still allows for cavities and tooth decay. Some communities have added fluoride to their water supply. Check if your public water contains fluoride and consider adding it to your oral health regimen.

3.Floss Daily
Flossing will help remove the bacteria and plaque from between your teeth in the places your toothbrush can’t reach. Make sure to review the proper way to floss and floss at least once a day after brushing. Twice a day is better. If you have any deep pockets or big spaces between teeth, keep a floss pick on hand to remove trapped food after each meal.

4.Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Experts suggest that you visit your dentists every 6 months for a regular checkup. Your dentist will examine your teeth, and your dental hygienist can clean your teeth thoroughly. This makes your daily job of keeping your teeth clean easier as you are not working with large plaque deposits.

Your regular visit to the dentist will alert you to any signs of problems. The earlier you can detect cavities, gum disease, or mouth cancer, the easier it will be to treat these issues. It’s a good idea to get x-rays occasionally to look for problems not visible externally.

Depending on your age, dental health, and overall health, you can consult with your dentist how often you need a checkup. If you have any pain or changes in your oral health, it’s important to schedule a visit.

5.Don’t Smoke
Smoking damages the body’s immune system making it difficult for the body to heal all its tissue, especially those in the mouth that are directly exposed to harmful smoke. If you smoke you will have a higher risk of gum disease and you will have difficulty healing after a dental procedure.

Smoking will also negatively affect the appearance of your teeth. You can expect yellow teeth and tongue and bad breath if you choose to smoke.

6.Use Mouthwash Daily
Mouthwash can benefit oral health if used daily. One ingredient in mouthwash shown to control plaque and gum disease is the anti-bacterial agent, chlorhexidine. Check to see if this is an ingredient in your mouthwash. You can also use essential oils to reduce plaque and keep your gums healthy.

Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing but it certainly will enhance your daily oral health regimen. Many types of mouthwash are available for specific problems and can be found in all-natural forms.

7.Avoid Sugar and Starches
You’ve probably been told since you were a child that sugar leads to cavities. Research suggests that sugar causes adverse dental health issues. Candy, desserts, and processed foods are the biggest culprits of adding excess sugar to your diet.

Try and limit sugar to 10 percent of your daily calories. A systematic review concluded that lowering your sugar to 5 percent daily will significantly reduce cavities as well as other dental problems.

Starchy foods, like bread, crackers, pasta, and chips are also culprits when it comes to tooth decay. The reason is that starch breaks down into simple sugars that feed the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria produce acid which causes tooth decay.

Your best bet for reducing tooth decay is to include a diet rich in fruit, vegetable, and dairy products without sugar. A healthy diet contributes to good oral health as well as good overall health, making it easier to maintain your oral health hygiene regimen.

Oral Health Hygiene Review

Your oral health is vital as your teeth play a huge part in your overall health and how you feel. Eating is an essential part of our lives. If you have problems with your teeth or gums, the basic function of eating becomes unpleasant. This unpleasantness can be avoided by practicing good oral hygiene.

Practicing good oral hygiene requires you to brush and floss daily. Use a mouthwash or rinse to help fight tooth decay and bacteria. Avoid smoking and excessive sugar and carbs. Eat a healthy diet and include fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy without sugar. Visit your dentist regularly to have visual inspections and get your teeth cleaned. Following this plan will help keep your teeth healthy, your gums happy, and your smile shining brightly.