Dental hygiene can be simply explained as the practice of keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy. It is important for your oral health as well as your overall well-being. Poor dental health and hygiene can lead to various problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and even heart disease.
Therefore, in this blog, we have explored some simple tips to maintain good oral and dental hygiene and prevent these issues.
Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily
One of the most basic and effective ways to keep your teeth clean and maintain dental hygiene is to brush them twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed. Brushing helps to remove plaque and bacteria that can cause cavities and gum inflammation. Use a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth gently for at least two minutes. Make sure to cover all the surfaces of your teeth, including the outer, inner, and chewing sides. Also, don’t forget to brush your tongue, as it can harbour bacteria that cause bad breath.
Flossing is another important advanced dental hygiene practice to remove plaque and food particles that are stuck between your teeth as it can reach the areas that your toothbrush cannot, and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Floss at least once a day, preferably before brushing your teeth at night. Use a long piece of floss, about 18-20 inches, and wind it around your fingers. Gently slide the floss between your teeth, using a fresh section for each tooth. Be careful not to snap the floss into your gums, as this can cause bleeding and irritation.
Rinse With Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a liquid solution that you swish around your mouth to kill bacteria, freshen your breath, and protect your teeth from decay. Mouthwash can also help to rinse away any debris or residue that may be left after brushing and flossing. To maintain oral health and hygiene, use a mouthwash that contains fluoride and alcohol-free ingredients, as alcohol can dry out your mouth and reduce saliva production. Rinse with mouthwash for about 30 seconds after brushing your teeth, or as directed by your dentist.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Even if you follow a good oral hygiene care routine at home, you still need to visit your dentist regularly for professional check-ups and cleaning. Your dentist can examine your teeth and gums for signs of decay, disease, or damage, and provide dental hygiene treatment if needed. They can also perform a thorough cleaning of your teeth using special instruments that can remove tartar, stains, and plaque that are hard to remove at home. You should visit your dentist at least once every six months, or more often if you have any dental problems or concerns.
Avoid Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth
Some foods and drinks can stain your teeth over time, making them look yellow or discoloured. These include coffee, tea, red wine, cola, dark juices, berries, sauces, and spices. If you consume these foods and drinks frequently, you should limit their intake or rinse your mouth with water after having them to maintain your dental hygiene and wellness. You can also use whitening toothpaste or strips to remove surface stains from your teeth.
However, these products may not be effective for deeper stains or intrinsic discolouration of your teeth. For such cases, you may need to consult your dentist at DJ Dental College or elsewhere for professional whitening treatments.
How to Prevent Tooth Problems
Besides following the above tips for good dental hygiene, you can also take some additional measures to prevent tooth problems such as cavities, sensitivity, erosion, or cracking. Some of these measures are:
Limit Sugar Intake
Sugar is the main culprit behind tooth decay, as it feeds the bacteria that produce acid that erodes the enamel of the teeth. It also reduces the pH of the saliva, making it more acidic and harmful to the teeth. Therefore, you should limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks if you want to maintain your dental hygiene, especially between meals. If you do have something sweet, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum afterwards.
Use Fluoride Products
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens the enamel of the teeth and makes them more resistant to acid attacks. It also helps to remineralize the areas of the enamel that have been damaged by acid. Therefore, you should use fluoride products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, gel, or varnish regularly to maintain dental hygiene and protect your teeth from decay. You can also get fluoride from drinking water if it is fluoridated in your area.
Wear a Mouthguard
A mouthguard is a protective device that covers your teeth and gums to prevent injury or damage from trauma or grinding. They can be useful if you play contact sports such as football or hockey, or if you suffer from bruxism (clenching or grinding of the teeth). Mouthguards cushion the impact of a blow or a fall on your teeth and prevent them from cracking or chipping. They also reduce the pressure and friction on your teeth and prevent them from wearing down or becoming sensitive. You can get a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist or buy a ready-made one from a pharmacy or sports store.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Extreme temperatures can cause your teeth to expand and contract, creating tiny cracks in the enamel. These cracks can expose the dentin, the inner layer of the tooth, which is more sensitive and prone to decay. Extreme temperatures can also trigger pain or discomfort in your teeth if you have existing cracks, cavities, or other dental hygiene problems. Therefore, you should avoid exposing your teeth to very hot or very cold foods and drinks, such as ice cream, coffee, or soup. If you do have something hot or cold, sip it slowly and avoid holding it in your mouth for too long.
Dental hygiene is not only about having a beautiful smile but also about having a healthy mouth and body. By following these simple tips, you can improve your dental hygiene and prevent many oral health problems. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, rinse with mouthwash, visit your dentist regularly, avoid foods and drinks that stain your teeth, and take extra precautions to prevent tooth problems. These habits will help you keep your teeth and gums clean, strong, and healthy for life.
- Where can I get professional dental hygiene information?
To get professional-level dental hygiene information you can opt for a BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) course, which sets you up for a career as a dentist.
- What is the difference between oral hygiene and dental hygiene?
Oral hygiene refers to the health and cleanliness of your whole mouth, while dental hygiene only applies to the teeth. They’re both used interchangeably, however.
- Where to get oral health advice for cavities?
If you have cavities, you might seek help from the internet to get oral health advice. However, we’d recommend getting an appointment with your dentist and corroborating with them as they’ll be able to give you advice specific to your case after examining you.
- Is smoking bad for oral hygiene?
Yes, smoking causes bad breath and also stains your teeth. In fact, any type of tobacco consumption on a regular basis can be very damaging to your oral hygiene.