Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is not only important to your overall well-being, but is totally necessary to keep teeth and gums healthy. It involves habits such as brushing twice a day and having regular dental checkups. However, oral health is about more than cavities and gum disease.

Research has shown that there is an association between the health of a person’s mouth and their overall health. Without treatment, tooth decay or gum problems can lead to pain, problems with self-confidence, and tooth loss. These issues may lead to malnutrition, speech problems, and other challenges in a person’s work, school, or personal life. Bacteria and plaque causes almost all diseases in our mouth, the objective is to remove the bacteria, which will in turn, remove the actual cause of gum disease and cavities.

Brush properly

Most people are aware that brushing their teeth twice a day is one of the most important practices for removing plaque and bacteria and keeping teeth clean. However, brushing may only be effective if people use the correct technique. People should brush using small circular motions, taking care to brush the front, back, and top of every tooth. This process takes between 2 and 3 minutes. People should avoid sawing back-and-forth motions. Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage tooth enamel and the gums. The effects of this may include tooth sensitivity, permanent damage to the protective enamel on the teeth, and gum erosion. Changing your toothbrush every 3 months is also recommended, or when the ends start to look frayed.

Flossing

This is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and improving oral hygiene. Cleaning between your teeth will help prevent cavities and also helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities. Plaque that is not removed by brushing and cleaning between your teeth can eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar (or calculus). Dental floss is a thin, soft thread. If you find floss hard to use, you can try dental tape, which is thicker. If you find flossing difficult, there are other options available.

Tepe brushes

Interdental brushes serve as an alternative to flossing; they can be used daily and can be more effective for interproximal plaque removal than floss. The TePe interdental brush is a small, easy-grip brush, devised especially for cleaning the gaps between your teeth and areas below the gum line, where a regular toothbrush cannot reach. A cylindrically shaped brush with a rounded loop cleans your teeth thoroughly and gently and offers an alternative to flossing.

Interspace brushes

Also known as single tufted brushes, an interspace brush is an essential tool for the effective cleaning around the gum margin and into periodontal pockets. The single tuft of bristles are designed to splay, allowing for more targeted cleaning of difficult to reach areas, around orthodontic appliances and dental bridgework.

Disclosing tablets

An effective tool in hi-lighting where the plaque is, therefore offering a solution in oral hygiene and addressing any missed cleaning issues. Disclosing tablets are chewable tablets used to make dental plaque visible. The tablets contain a dye (typically a vegetable dye, such as Phloxine B) that stains plaque a bright colour (typically red or blue). After brushing, one chews a tablet and rinses. This can be extremely useful with younger patients, as a visual prompt can often educate far better than just a discussion.

Diet

Most people know consuming too much sugar can result in cavities and tooth decay, but not as many know how it happens. A whole chain of events takes place in your mouth after you enjoy a sugary sweet. When you consume sugar, it immediately begins interacting with the plaque bacteria to produce acid. The acid then dissolves your enamel slowly, creating the cavities in your teeth, thereby making the acid the culprit for tooth decay – not the sugar. These acids are what 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, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful.

Children’s oral hygiene

Healthy teeth are important to your child’s overall health and they help your child eat and talk. Strong oral care helps set good dental habits as your child grows. Many parents ask themselves the question when and how to start promoting good oral hygiene habits for their kids. Dentists emphasise that the sooner we start forming good dental hygiene habits for children, the greater are the chances for healthy and beautiful teeth in the future. The most important thing in oral hygiene for children is to take care of the child’s teeth from the first months of its life. If milk teeth are healthy, there is a bigger chance for strong permanent teeth. One should remember that teaching good oral hygiene habits to children should include cleaning teeth in the morning and in the evening, having appointments with the dentist and limiting snacks between meals.

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