Learning about basic oral hygiene and how to achieve it is the first step to having healthier teeth and gums. Oral hygiene is the method of keeping your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy and clean by getting rid of the bacteria and plaque that reside on them. This involves brushing your teeth, cleaning your tongue, flossing, using mouthwash, and going to all of your dental appointments.
Most people need only visit their dentist twice a year, and those who have a higher chance of developing oral diseases, such as tobacco users, will be told by the dentist to visit more often. Between dental visits, it is vital for individuals to practice an effective oral health regimen at home.
Why brush and floss? Doing so helps remove plaque and prevent tartar from forming. Why is removing plaque such a big deal? The reason is that dental plaque is full of bacteria that will damage your teeth and gums if left unchecked. Eventually, you will experience cavities, gum disease, and gingivitis.
If plaque is not promptly removed, it will harden into tartar, which is very difficult to remove and is best left to the dental professionals. Once you are done brushing your teeth, you should finish by brushing your tongue. Your tongue is also a source of fungi and bacteria that can result in halitosis and poor oral health.
Dental professionals recommend to brush at least twice a day, but brushing by itself is not sufficient because there are areas that a toothbrush cannot reach. As a result, dentists recommend flossing in addition to brushing to clean the small gaps between teeth.
An alternative to string flossing is using an interdental brush, and some dental professionals recommend this because it is easier on the gums. In addition to cleaning your teeth, flossing also strengthens your gums.
Those with orthodontics, such as braces, should put in even more effort to maintaining their oral health. This is because the brackets and wires will block your brushing and flossing efforts to some extent, and you will have to be more thorough to clean around them.
In order to floss properly, you will need the assistance of floss threaders to help maneuver the dental floss underneath the wires and between the teeth. Alternatively, you can consider using a water flosser to help you remove plaque and food debris that are stuck on the brackets.
Alcohol-based mouthwash do more harm than good. Though they are often advertised as a way to combat halitosis, the alcohol can dry out your mouth, lowering saliva production, which will worsen bad breath. If you want to use mouthwash, try to find alcohol-free mouthwash instead.
Diet and Lifestyle
You can brush and floss all you want, but if you have a lifestyle and diet that contributes to poor oral health, then all the effort would be wasted. For instance, chewing tobacco and smoking have detrimental effects to one’s oral health. Eating a diet high in sugar contributes to the development of cavities.
Consuming excessive amounts of acidic foods, such as soda, certain fruit juices, and vinegar can erode tooth enamel and result in caries. Drinking red wine, coffee, and tea may not necessarily harm your teeth, but can stain them easily. It is best to limit consumption of these foods for the sake of your oral health.
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