Excellent and extensive oral hygiene is essential to keep gums and teeth clean and healthy. It involves habits like brushing at least twice a day, flossing, and having a regular dental checkup. But oral health is not all about gum disease and cavities. Studies show that there is an association between the person’s overall oral health and their overall health.
Dental experts consider oral health problems to be a worldwide health issue. Without proper treatment, gum problems or tooth decay can lead to pain, tooth loss, and self-confidence problems. These problems may lead to speech impediments, malnutrition, and other challenges in people’s personal, school, or work life. Individuals can prevent these issues with the right dental care, both in the dental office or at home. The following are some practices that can keep gums and teeth healthy.
Brush regularly, but avoid aggressive brushing
A lot of people are aware that brushing their teeth at least twice a day is an effective practice for removing bacteria and plaque, as well as keeping the teeth very clean. But it may only be effective if individuals use the right method. People need to brush using a small circular motion, brushing the back, front, tongue, back of the tongue, and the top of the teeth.
This process will take from two to three minutes. Individuals need to avoid the sawing back-and-forth motions. Brushing aggressively or using hard-bristled brushes can also damage gums and enamels. The effects of it may include permanent damage to the enamel, gum erosion, and tooth sensitivity. According to ADA or the American Dental Association, using soft-bristled brushes is a good idea.
The association also states that individuals also need to change their toothbrushes at least once every three months or when the end bristles start to wear. You can visit retail stores like Target or check out dental clinics for quality toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Use products with fluoride
Fluoride comes from fluorine, an element found in the earth’s soil. A lot of experts believe that it helps to prevent cavities, and it’s a common ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste. But some oral products don’t contain this compound, and some individuals don’t use it at all.
According to studies, the lack of fluoride can lead to decay of the enamel, even if the person takes good care of their teeth. Also, according to a recent review, flushing and brushing don’t prevent people from getting cavities if they don’t use fluoride. A lot of communities in the US have added this compound to their water supply.
Some organizations even recommend the practice, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the American Dental Association (ADA). Individuals can determine whether the water they are using contains fluoride by contacting the local authorities in their area.
Reverse osmosis water filters will remove fluoride, and individuals who use deep-well water will need to check the fluoride content of their water to know how much is present. A lot of bottled water brands today don’t contain this compound.
Flossing every day is very beneficial
Flossing every day will remove bacteria and plaque from between a person’s teeth, where brushing is unable to reach. Using a floss can also help prevent unnecessary bad breath by removing food and debris trapped between a person’s teeth. Although there is a lack of long-term studies that can prove that it can be beneficial, the American Dental Association continues to tell their patients always to make flossing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also state that individuals need to floss their teeth. A lot of dental professionals recommend gently pushing the floss up to the gum line before flossing the side of the tooth using an up-and-down motion. It is imperative to avoid snapping the string up and down between the teeth. It can cause uncomfortable pain and will not remove bacteria and plaque as effectively.
See dental professionals regularly
According to experts, people need to visit a dentist at least once every six months for a thorough checkup. During these routine oral checkups, the hygienist will clean every nook and cranny of the mouth and remove hardened tartar and plaque. The dental professional will examine for visual signs of gum diseases, cavities, mouth cancer, and other dental or oral health problems. Sometimes, professionals may also use X-rays to check for cavities.
According to recent studies, children and young adults need to visit the dentist’s clinic at least once in six months to help prevent gum disease and cavities. But adults who practice good oral hygiene have a better chance of getting oral health problems and may go less frequently. These studies also state that more high-quality studies are needed to confirm the number of dental checkups per year.
Individuals can talk to their dentist about the frequency of their checkups. The answer may differ depending on the person’s health history, overall oral health, and age. But people who notice changes in their dental health need to visit a professional.
Do not smoke tobacco-infused products
Smoking tobacco-infused products harm the immune system, making it pretty difficult for the body to heal damaged tissues, including damaged tissues in the mouth—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention name smoking as one of the risk factors for gum diseases.
The American Dental Association warns individuals who smoke or slow healing after dental procedures. It can also affect the appearance of a person’s mouth. It can lead to yellowing of the tongue and teeth and give the person’s breath a foul odor.
Consider using a mouthwash
According to some studies, certain mouthwashes can help oral health. For instance, one study found that mouthwashes contain chlorhexidine, an antibacterial agent that can help control gingivitis and plaque. Mouthwashes with particular essential oils are also pretty effective, according to one study.
Individuals can ask their dentists which is the most effective mouthwash for their needs. Mouthwash cannot substitute flossing and brushing, but mouthwash can complement both practices. Mouthwashes that can help remove bad breath, as well as other oral problems, are available over the counter or in online stores.
Limit starches and sugary foods
Consuming starches and sugary foods can lead to cavities. Researches continue to highlight the vital role that sugar and starches play in unfavorable oral health outcomes. Common suspects include desserts, candies, and processed foods. The World Health Organization recommends that individuals limit their starch and sugar intake to below 10% of their daily caloric intake.
Experts also stated that foods like bread, crackers, pasta, and chips, foods rich in starch, can cause tooth decay. The American Dental Association explains that these foods stay in the mouth and break down into sugar, which acid-producing bacteria can feed. These acids can cause tooth decay and other mouth diseases. The American Dental Association recommends people eat a lot of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, as well as milk, cheese, and other dairy products without the added sugar.
Drink lots of water instead of soda or other sugary drinks
Beverages loaded with sugar like sodas are the number one source of added sugar in most diets of people in the United States. Sipping juice, soda, and other beverages loaded with sugar can lead to an increased risk of cavity formation. The American Dental Association recommends drinking a lot of water or tea with less or no sugar throughout the day and only drink beverages loaded with sugar sweeteners at mealtimes with limited volume.