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Oral Hygiene: Best Practices & Instructions for Good Routine
21 Feb 2024

Oral Hygiene: Best Practices & Instructions for Good Routine

Maintaining dental health is necessary for allowing pain-free speaking, eating, chewing, smelling, and communicating. It means keeping your mouth looking and feeling healthy. It is vital to have good teeth for overall well-being at any age.

Problems like cavities, gingivitis, tartar, and plaque can damage your dental health, but they are preventable. One way to safeguard your dental health is to practise excellent oral hygiene before bed. Here are eight suggestions to help you practise good oral hygiene.

What is Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene is keeping your mouth clean and free from disease. It involves regular dental check-ups, including cleanings, exams, X-rays, daily tooth brushing and flossing. Proper oral hygiene is essential to prevent common dental problems such as tooth decay (cavities) and gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. By maintaining good oral hygiene, you can enjoy a healthy mouth and teeth, characterised by:

  • Clean teeth free from debris
  • Pink gums that do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
  • Fresh breath without halitosis

If you experience any of the following, it's essential to visit a professional dental hygienist:

  • Gums that ache or bleed during brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath

These symptoms could indicate an underlying issue that requires professional attention.

What is the Significance of Oral Hygiene?

There is growing evidence linking oral health to overall health. For instance, diabetes has been associated with an increased risk of gum diseases such as periodontitis. Additionally, there is a correlation between poor oral health and heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy complications. Good oral health is crucial for maintaining good overall health.

Dental problems like cavities or gum disease can damage your ability to eat and speak correctly, causing pain, bleeding from the gums, loose teeth and halitosis. More importantly, poor dental health can significantly impact other body areas, including the heart, diabetes management, pregnancy outcomes, and chronic inflammation, such as arthritis. Some research suggests that the bacteria in gum disease can travel to the heart, contributing to heart disease or stroke.

In individuals with diabetes, gum infections can worsen blood sugar control. Moreover, painful mouth sores are common in people with immune suppression disorders.

Good dental hygiene is essential to prevent these oral diseases and dental problems. Prevention should be the primary focus to maintain both oral and overall health.

8 Effective Tips for Healthy Teeth

By practising good oral hygiene habits, such as regular brushing and flossing, you can significantly increase your chances of maintaining optimal dental health throughout your lifetime.

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is not just recommended; it is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. The primary goal of brushing is to remove plaque and tartare from your teeth and dislodge any food particles that may have become trapped in your gums or between your teeth.

Here are some tips for effective brushing:

  • Use Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride is a crucial ingredient in toothpaste that helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the tooth's hard outer surface, known as enamel.
  • Angle the Bristles: When brushing, angle the bristles of your toothbrush towards the gum line to clean between the gums and teeth effectively.
  • Use Small, Circular Motions: Brush each tooth on all sides using small, circular motions. Avoid scrubbing vigorously back and forth, as this can damage your gums and enamel.
  • Use an electric toothbrush: An electric toothbrush can be more effective than a manual toothbrush at removing plaque from your teeth, thanks to its revolving motion. Additionally, ensure that the toothbrush is easy to use and comfortable for optimal performance and user experience.

Dental Flossing or interdental brushing

Flossing and using interdental brushes is an essential daily oral hygiene routine crucial in maintaining healthy teeth and gums, which benefits your overall health. Regular flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease risk. It also helps to minimise inflammation in the gums, which is a critical factor in preventing gum diseases.

For individuals who find flossing challenging due to arthritis or other conditions, alternative tools can make the process easier:

  • Floss Holder: A small device that holds dental floss, eliminating the need to wrap the floss around your fingers.
  • Floss Threader: A tool that helps thread floss through tight spaces, similar to using a needle and thread.
  • Water Flosser: A handheld device that uses a stream of water to clean between the teeth.
  • Small Interdental Brushes: Small brushes explicitly designed for cleaning between the teeth.

Rinsing

Oral rinsing is a crucial complement to brushing and flossing. To maintain optimal oral cleanliness, it is advisable to rinse your mouth after every meal. Consider using a mouthwash that contains antibacterial ingredients such as chlorhexidine gluconate. These can help prevent staining of your teeth by food or drinks with high acid content, such as lemon juice.

If you consume something sweet, avoiding immediately rinsing your mouth with water is recommended. Instead, gently spit out the remains. This prevents bacteria from colonising your teeth before you can rinse adequately.

Addressing Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) for Oral Health

Suppose you experience worn-down tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, or damaged cheek tissue. In that case, you might be suffering from bruxism, a condition characterised by grinding your teeth during sleep. This unconscious habit can lead to significant dental problems over time.

Dentists can create a custom-fitted mouth guard to wear at night as a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth and reduce the impact of grinding. Although a mouth guard cannot stop the grinding behaviour, it can help prevent further damage to your teeth and alleviate associated discomfort. Promptly addressing this issue is crucial for maintaining your oral health.

Balanced Diet on Oral Health

Maintaining a balanced diet is essential for your overall and oral health. Consuming various fruits and vegetables supplies vital nutrients that benefit your teeth and gums. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and calcium, crucial for strong teeth and healthy gums. Including whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products in your diet provides a comprehensive nutrient intake that supports oral health.

Limiting sugary and acidic foods can also help prevent tooth decay and other dental issues. By prioritising a balanced diet, you contribute significantly to the well-being of your oral health.

Avoid Sugary Drinks for Oral Health

Maintaining good oral health requires avoiding sugary drinks, such as soda, energy drinks, and fruit juices, often high in sugar. The sugar in these beverages can interact with bacteria in your mouth to produce acid, leading to tooth enamel erosion, decay, and cavities. If eliminating sugary drinks from your diet is challenging, it's crucial to minimise their consumption and take proactive steps to protect your teeth.

After consuming sugary beverages, waiting a while and brushing your teeth can help remove residual sugar and reduce the risk of decay. Additionally, watering your mouth can help wash away sugars and acids.

Avoid Tobacco on Oral Health

Avoiding tobacco products is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. Tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, contain harmful chemicals that can lead to a variety of oral health issues, including gum disease, tooth loss, and various forms of cancer, including oral cancer. In addition, tobacco use can result in bad breath, stained teeth, and a diminished sense of taste and smell.

Quitting tobacco use is one of the most beneficial decisions for your overall health and well-being. If you currently use tobacco products, we strongly encourage you to leave. Numerous resources are available to assist you in your journey to becoming tobacco-free, and your dentist can offer support and guidance.

Regular Dental Visits

Regular dental visits are crucial for maintaining a healthy mouth. During these visits, your dentist can check for tooth decay, gum disease, and other signs of oral infection and provide a personalised dental treatment plan. Everyone should visit a dental hygienist at least twice yearly for routine cleaning, oral hygiene assessment, and examinations. However, some individuals may require more frequent visits if they have certain health conditions or risk factors, such as smoking.

Contact Our Dentist Promptly to Prioritise Your Oral Health

It's essential to visit our dental hygienist in London as soon as you notice any issues with your oral health. Investing in your oral health is crucial for your overall well-being. Regular check-ups and timely treatment can prevent minor problems from becoming primary concerns. Maintaining dental and oral health is essential, yet many people must clean their teeth more than once daily.

Contrary to this common practice, brushing your teeth at least twice daily is crucial, and takes into account scheduling routine dental check-ups. Developing habits such as regular brushing, flossing, and limiting sugar intake early on can help prevent costly dental procedures and contribute to achieving a bright, healthy smile.