Oral Health: Adopt These 5 Essential Habits

Good oral health always begins at home. While it is essential to supplement your at-home care regime with regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings, the best way to maintain the condition of your teeth and gums is to keep them clean.

Aside from tooth decay, gum disease, and even oral cancer, poor dental hygiene also has links to general health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Here are five top tips for improving and maintaining your standard of oral health.

1. Caring for Your Gums

Gum disease is an infection of the soft tissues that hold your teeth in place. Sufferers experience bleeding when they brush, as well as inflammation and discomfort. Left untreated, gum disease can worsen, leading to tissue and tooth loss.

Take care to gently clean around your gum line while brushing, and floss in between your teeth to remove trapped food particles. A hygienist can remove stubborn plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas during a professional cleaning.

2. Preventing Tooth Decay/Cavities

Cavities form when sugars react with plaque bacteria in the mouth, creating harmful acids that soften tooth enamel. The key to preventing tooth decay is to remove as much plaque as possible when brushing and flossing.

You can also reduce your risk of tooth decay by limiting your intake of sugary foods such as sweets and carbonated drinks.

woman brushing teeth

3. Maintaining Oral Hygiene (Brushing & Cleaning Tips)

Brush for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once a day to remove any trapped food particles in places your toothbrush cannot reach.

Brush in a circular motion, taking care to clean each surface of every tooth. Spit out the toothpaste, but do not rinse, or you’ll wash away the fluoride. Follow up by cleaning your tongue to remove any food residue and bacteria.

Hold a 30-45-centimeter section of floss or dental tape tightly in your hands. Slide it between each tooth and wrap it around the base, gently moving it up and down 8-10 times. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth. You can also invest in a water flosser, which emits a jet of water to blast away trapped food particles.

Use a mouthwash at least once a day but wait a while after you brush so you can get the full benefit of the fluoride in your toothpaste. Try not to swish the mouthwash  around your teeth too much since you may wash away the fluoride. Instead gargle with it in the back of your throat.

4. Preventing Bad Breath (Halitosis)

One of the best-known side effects of poor oral hygiene is halitosis, affectionately known as “bad breath.” Smoking or eating strong-smelling foods such as garlic or onions can lead to halitosis, as can cavities, gum disease, and a build-up of plaque.

To avoid bad breath, brush your teeth with a soft brush twice a day, limit your sugar intake, refrain from smoking, and use sugar-free mints or chewing gum after meals.

5. Avoiding Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Dry mouth, while not directly caused by poor oral health, can increase your risk of tooth decay. The most common causes of dry mouth are sleeping with your mouth open, dehydration, and taking certain medications.

To avert the symptoms of dry mouth, increase your water intake, regularly sipping throughout the day, and keep a glass of water by your bedside. You can also chew sugar-free gum to increase your saliva production.

Final words

Keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy is your first line of defense for avoiding dental complications and other general health issues. If you have any concerns about your oral health, meet your dentist in St Albans and ask for advice on how you can improve your cleaning regime.

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