5 Best Oral Hygiene Advise to Keep Your Dentist’s Away
If you truly hate going to a dentist like my husband (although, he doesn’t hate me as his wife, lol), well, you need to make sure your oral hygiene habits are at par to the highest level to limit your visit to your dentist. I must say, though, that you can’t go around not visiting your dentist but you can avoid having major treatments done if you follow simple steps in ensuring you are taking care of your mouth and health in general.
1. Cleaning your teeth and the rest of it properly.
(a) Brushing Your Teeth
A lot of people thought that by just buying what they think is the right toothbrush and brushing their teeth at least twice a day, they are already doing their job in maintaining good oral hygiene. I’m here to let you in on a secret that isn’t really a secret and that is… it is not much on the kind of toothbrush you buy but it is more on how you brush your teeth. It is also not on how many times you brush your teeth but how long you brush it. Although, buying an ideal toothbrush for you helps. Studies show that medium-grade bristles remove higher amounts of biofilm than soft bristles. And, bristles with rounded-tips offer patients more tooth protection. While the electric ones are ideal for those with limited dexterity or too lazy to brush their teeth properly. So, regardless of the design of the toothbrush, whether manual or electric, the best choice is an instrument that enables the patient to reach all areas of the mouth comfortably. The primary key to good oral hygiene requires patients to use the proper brushing technique to ensure the removal of plaque, the proper toothbrush for their mouth and a good toothpaste or gel. So, how should you really brush your teeth?
▪ Place your toothbrush sideways against the teeth at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
▪ Move the brush back and forth gently in short tooth-wide strokes covering a group of two or three teeth at a time.
▪ Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
▪ Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke. Tilt the toothbrush vertically to brush the inside surface of the front teeth. Tilt the handle of the toothbrush down and employ an up-down stroke with the tip of the head
▪ Brush along the gum lines, the roof of the mouth and the tongue surface. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. Brushing your teeth should be done for at least 3-5 minutes. To make it more fun for you, play one song while brushing your teeth. This will provide you to time yourself if you’ve really brush your teeth and its surrounding structures at a required time. It is also recommended that you change your toothbrush at a maximum of 3 months or when the ends of the bristle becomes sharp.
I have tested this myself if I still need to floss if I do the brushing properly and at its required time. Well, the answer is yes. Because most of the time there are truly hard to reach areas that can’t be reached by just brushing our teeth especially if your teeth are crowded. Flossing also helps you to have healthy gums as this can reach a little bit more on the nook and crannies that the bristle of a toothbrush cannot reach or may damage your gums especially if harder pressure is applied when you are brushing your teeth. Like the toothbrush, it is not much on what kind of floss you buy but how you use them. Although, these are indicated type of floss in general for a particular situation you have:
▪ Wide floss, which is also called dental tape, may be a better choice for people with bridgework. Dental tape is also recommended when people have wider-than-average space between their teeth.
▪ Waxed floss can be easier to slide between closely spaced teeth.
▪ Unwaxed floss will squeak against cleaned teeth, indicating plaque has been removed.
▪ Bonded unwaxed floss does not fray as easily as regular unwaxed floss, but does tear more than waxed floss.
So, how do you properly do it?
▪ Break off about 18 inches of floss or from your fingers to your elbow. Wind both ends of the floss around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
▪ Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
▪ When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently sway it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
▪ Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
▪ Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
▪ Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
(c) Mouth Rinsing
Although, some may take this as an optional part of cleaning your teeth but for me, if you want to limit having decay or caries, rinsing your mouth after brushing and flossing completes the steps of cleaning your oral cavity. Now, depending on your needs there a variety of mouthwash that you can use.
Here are the different types of commercially available mouthwash depending on function:
▪ Antimicrobial or Antiseptic Mouth Rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity, which cause gingivitis and gum disease. This normally contains Chlorhexidine Gluconate. Chlorhexidine Gluconate is a chemical which stops the growth of bacteria and is suitable for people with a mouth infection. They are also useful for people with bad breath (halitosis). Avoid overuse of these though because high levels of chlorhexidine can cause discoloration of the teeth over a long period of time.
▪ Cosmetic Mouthwashes do not offer the same protection as other types and are used more as a means of disguising bad breath (halitosis). They help to keep your teeth clean but they do not reduce the risk of tooth decay.
▪ Fluoride Mouth Rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay. However, not everyone should use a fluoride mouth rinse. For instance, fluoride rinses are not recommended for children ages 6 or younger because they may swallow them.
▪ Total Care Mouthwashes contain anti-bacterial ingredients which help to reduce the build up of plaque and prevent gum disease
▪ Natural Mouthwashes are alcohol-free and more often than not is the choice for those who do not want their mouthwash to contain fluoride and this work in much as the same way as conventional mouthwashes. Some create their own mouthwash such a combination of distilled water with baking soda, tea tree essential oil and drops of peppermint essential oil or even as simple of a pinch of salt in warm water. Whatever you feel is best for you always discuss first to your dentist about any products you are interested in trying. Your dentist can provide you a professional opinion if it is really good for you.
2. Healthy Diet For Your Oral Health
As always the type of food we intake is the type of health you are going to have. You need to have a healthy diet and staple of food that can be good to your oral health. We all know that sugary foods such candy and soda are one of the things we need to avoid if we don’t want to visit our dentist often or have major treatment done. There are some food that are great for your teeth and oral health in general because of their content.
Yogurt - a plain variety of yogurt with no added sugar is the ideal type of yogurt you can include in your diet. Yogurt in general is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good choice to give strength and provide healthy teeth. The additional probiotics or beneficial bacteria found in yogurt is very good in maintaing healthy gums because the good bacteria increases in number and crowds out bad bacteria that cause cavities.
Almonds- This nuts is very beneficial to your teeth because they are indeed a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Enjoy a quarter cup of almonds with your lunch. This is best way to add flavour to the food you eat like your salad or stir-fry dishes.
Carrots- they are crunchy and rich in fiber. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Carrots are also a good source for vitamin A. Another way of having them is adding raw carrots or baby ones to your salad. It doesn’t only make your teeth stronger but it adds flavor to your food.
Celery- This is not much exciting to eat because it is basically bland, watery and inconvenient to eat, but it acts a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It's also a great source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that a boosts your gums to be healthy. To make it more enjoyable to eat and even tastier top it with cream cheese.
Cheese- If you love cheese then, you are in luck because eating cheese raised the pH level of your mouth, thus, lowers the risk of tooth decay. It also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel. It's thought that chewing cheese increases saliva in the mouth, thus, lowers down the chances of you having a tooth decay.
Leafy Greens- This is not a surprise anymore because eating leafy greens typically find their way onto any healthy foods list. They're full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They're high in calcium, which builds your teeth's enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including possibly treating gum disease in pregnant women according to research. If you hate eating leafy greens the, make a smoothie out of it with some healthy fruits or add them as an ingredient to your favorite food like pizza.
Apples- As they say “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, it also keeps the dentists away. Although, apple is basically sweet there are some fruits that are sweet but high on fiber and water such as apples. Thus, eating apples produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. In addition, since it is high on fiber and the manner on how we eat them provides a scrubbing motion for our teeth to be clean, then, it surely helps in making our teeth away from having a decay. However, eating an apple isn't the same as brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Instead of snacking on sugary, carbohydrate-rich or acidic foods throughout the day, eat these foods just during meal times in order to minimize the amount of time teeth are exposed to acid. In addition, the body produces more saliva to help digest larger meals, which washes away more food and helps neutralize harmful acids before they can attack teeth.
3. Having A Good Lifestyle
You already know this. Living a good lifestyle is a must if you want your dentist not to be a frequent chore in your life. Although, you may probably sin once in awhile, but, anything excessive will lead you down the path to your dentist’s dental chair with more than cleaning your teeth to do. Of course, one of the things you need to avoid is smoking and eating sweets and to much acidic food. Also, you need to correct your bad oral habits if you have one especially if you are already 4 and above of age. You also need to take care of your health as a whole because this may result to complications that may affect your oral health such sleeping with your mouth open that cause dry mouth and bad breath or halitosis.
4. Correct Your Bad Habits
We may think that they are not harmful to our health but they do affect our oral health and our health in general. So, you need to correct them to ensure you achieve a healthy oral health. Here are the habits you need to correct if you have them or request your dentist to assist you in stopping it:
(a) Chewing On Ice- it seems not harmful but munching on hard, frozen cubes can chip or even crack your teeth. More so, irritates the soft tissue inside a tooth, regular toothaches may follow.
(b) Bruxism or Teeth Grinding- we normally don’t know if we are doing this because it generally happens while we are sleeping. Some even denies of having this as a habit. This makes it hard to control because it is most often caused by stress. This can totally wear down your teeth over time. Avoiding hard foods during the day can reduce pain and wearing a mouthguard at night can prevent more damage caused by grinding while sleeping.
(c) Chewing On Pencils- Like ice, this may look like a harmless habit and may make us look smart while we are supposedly thinking but it is a stupid habit that will damage your teeth. This habit can cause teeth to chip or crack. Sugarless gum is a better option when you feel the need to chew. It will trigger the flow of saliva, which can make teeth stronger and protect against enamel-eating acids.
(d) Soda Drinking- For those who can’t eat their meals without it, well, you have to make sure you lessen your intake on it because candies aren’t the only culprit when it comes to added sugar. Sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving. To add more insult to injury, sodas also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet soft drinks let you skip the sugar, but they may have even more acid in the form of the artificial sweeteners.
(e) Coffee Drinking- Most people love coffee, I love coffee, however, your teeth will not love it. Coffee produces acid that can cause stain and results to yellowish teeth over time. Although, luckily, it's one of the easiest stains to treat with various whitening methods.
(f) Sports Drinks- Of course, it is totally great to drink something refreshing after an extensive workout. It rejuvenates us. However, like soda or candy, these drinks are usually high in sugar. High-sugary content sports drinks create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. Drinking them frequently can lead to decay. A better way to stay hydrated at the gym is to chug sugar-free, calorie-free water.
(g) Fruit Juice- Not all fruits are great for our teeth especially for fruits that are loaded with sugar content. They maybe loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins but some juices can have as much sugar per serving as soda. Such as there are 10 more grams of sugar in orange soda than in orange juice. Fruits are naturally sweet, so look for juice that has no added sugar. You can also reduce the sugar content by diluting juice with some water.
(h) Wine Drinking Whether Red or White- Though we may look sophisticated when we drink wine, the problem it brings if we often drink them is the acids in wine. Its acidity eats away at tooth enamel, creating rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining. Red wine also contains a deep pigment called chromogen and tannins, which help the color stick to the teeth. This combination makes it easy for the wine's red color to stay with you long after your glass is empty. While White wine may not have those pigments but its acidic attack to our teeth is just the same as the red that results to stain.
(i) Gummy Candy- These are definitely one of the guilty pleasures we do have if we want some sugar rush, however, all sugary treats promote tooth decay, and this is no exception. Some of the gummy candies are even harder than the popular gummy bears. Gummies stick in the teeth, keeping the sugar and resulting acids in contact with your enamel for hours. If your day just isn't the same without a gummy critter, pop a couple during a meal instead of as a separate snack. More saliva is produced during meals, which helps rinse away candy bits and acids.
(j) Use of Cough Drops- Although, this medicine will help us when we are under the weather especially in stopping our coughing, cough drops are mostly loaded with sugar. So, after soothing your throat with a lozenge, be sure to brush well. Whether the sugar comes from a cough drop or a hard candy, it reacts with the sticky plaque that coats your teeth. Then bacteria in the plaque convert the sugar into an acid that eats away at tooth enamel.
(k) Smoking- Well, what can I say? It is a given. It is even bad to your total health. It can cause stain, gum disease or even the worst kind which are cancer of the mouth, lips or tongue.
(l) Using Your Teeth As An Opener- I know some times it is much convenient to use our teeth as a tool to open sachets or letters or even bottle caps. But, using your teeth as tools can cause them to crack or chip. Bottom line, your teeth should only be used for eating. There are scissors and bottle openers for opening stuff not your teeth.
(m) Potato Chips- What a delicious treat but its acid content can attack your teeth for the next 20 minutes or even longer if the food is stuck between your teeth or you snack often. The bacteria in plaque will also break down starchy foods into acid. You might want to floss after eating potato chips or other starchy foods that tend to get stuck in the teeth.
(n) Constant Snacking- Doing this is not only horrible to your waist but it will have the same bad effect on your teeth. Snacking produces less saliva than a meal, leaving food bits in your teeth for hours longer. Avoid snacking too frequently, and stick to snacks that are low in sugar and starch such as carrot sticks.
(o) Having Piercings- You maybe in fad with tongue or lip piercings but these accessories can crack your tooth. The metal rubs can also rubs against your gums which can cause gum damage and eventually leads to tooth loss. The mouth is also a haven for bacteria, so piercings raise the risk of infections and sores.
(p) Binge Eating- Binging and purging (Bulimia Nervosa) can do even more damage to dental health. The strong acids found in vomit can erode teeth, making them brittle and weak. These acids also cause bad breath. Bulimia can lead to a variety of serious health problem, so, this needs to be treated not only for your oral health but for your well-being.
(q) Feeding Your Baby During Bedtime- Giving your baby a bedtime bottle of juice, milk, or formula, can put new teeth on a path to decay. The baby may become used to falling asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, bathing the teeth in sugars overnight. Although, their teeth maybe temporary, they still need to stay there as healthy as possible until the ideal time to lose them.
(r) Protect your Mouth with Mouthguard if You are Playing Quite Dangerous Physical Sports- Mouthguard is a piece of molded plastic that protects the upper row of teeth. Without it, your teeth could get chipped or even knocked out when the action gets rough.
5. Visit Your Dentist
Although, you may hate to go to your dentist but there’s simply can’t be included here. However, by doing all 4 suggested, your visit may not be as traumatic or may be done not as often. If you practice healthy life style, your dentist may just do a required check-up, prohylaxis (cleaning) and application of fluoride if necessary. You simply can’t do without visiting your dentist at least once or twice a year. It similar of you having a general check-up with your physician.
It is really true that an ounce of prevention is worth than a pound of cure. If you are really afraid in going to your dentist then eat and live healthy and do the best you can to take care of your teeth properly, so, you don’t have to see us more than it is necessary.
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