Oral health is often taken for granted despite its strong influence on our general health and confidence. Just as the eyes are the window to the soul, the mouth is the lens through which the state of health of the body can be viewed. Signs of nutritional deficiency and general infection, if present, can be seen through examining the mouth. For instance, mouth lesions or other oral defects are often the first signs of a systemic disease that affects the entire body.
You are observing good oral hygiene when you do the following:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with approved fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Ensure that you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
- Follow a healthy eating plan by eating balanced diets space out at fixed intervals. Avoid taking in processed and sugary foods, especially in-between meals.
- Pay regular visits to your dentist. You should not visit your dentist only when you start experiencing an ache, cavities, or plaque buildup. Frequent visits to your dentist will ensure that dentals problems are taken care of proactively even before they occur.
Plaque is a dense, sticky layer of material containing bacteria that lodge on the teeth surface. Plaque usually builds up on the areas of the teeth where the toothbrush does not often reach while brushing. Some of the foods we consume cause the deposition of sugar and acids on the teeth. The bacteria on the teeth combine with these residual sugar and acids to cause plaque deposition and tooth decay.
Dr. Jones, of Nashville Restorative Dentistry, says that “plaque causes the gums to get irritated, sensitive, swollen, and leaves them susceptible to bleeding which often then leads to gum disease as the gums recede from the teeth forming pockets that fill up with food particles and more bacteria”.
To get rid of plaque, or to avoid getting them entirely, you should do the following:
- Ensure that the size and shape of your toothbrush allows you to properly reach all the areas of your teeth, especially close to the gums. Make use of dental floss for those areas where your toothbrush still can’t reach.
- Use a soft bristle brush and antimicrobial toothpaste to brush your teeth regularly.
- Make use of antimicrobial mouthwash to keep your mouth clean and free from sugar deposits and bacteria which causes plaque to build up.
The proper way to brush
- The teeth have tiny lines that run along them. In order to properly reach all the spots, place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and brush with slightly circular strokes.
- The duration of brushing also counts. Brush every area at least twice and keep brushing for about 4-6 minutes. This will ensure that you properly reach all the areas of the teeth and gums that you might have missed while doing the first few strokes. However, to avoid causing injury to your gums try not to brush too hard. Soft strokes are adequate.
- Ensure that you brush your tongue properly. It is worth noting that the tongue is responsible when there is mouth odor. It is therefore essential that you pay proper attention to keeping the tongue clean so as to achieve fresh breathe. To avoid the buildup of bacteria on the tongue rinse your mouth with mouthwash after meals.
- After brushing, rinse the mouth properly. Rinse several times until all the toothpaste deposit in the mouth have been rinsed off and you do not taste or smell it anymore.