Maintaining healthy teeth and gums requires practicing good oral hygiene. It entails routines like brushing twice daily and regular dental exams.
But oral health is more than just preventing cavities and gum disease. According to research, the condition of a person’s mouth and overall health have been linked. Experts view oral health issues as a global health burden.
Without treatment, gum disease or dental decay can cause pain, issues with confidence, and tooth loss. Malnutrition, speech disorders, and other difficulties in a person’s job, academic career, or personal life could result from these concerns.
People can avoid these issues with regular dental care, both at home and in the dentist’s office. The following are some top techniques for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
1. Brush Consistently, yet gently
Most people know that one of the most crucial habits for removing plaque and bacteria and maintaining clean teeth is brushing twice a day. However, brushing might only be efficient if people employ the right method.
Brushing should be done in small, circular motions with attention paid to the front, back, and top of each tooth. It takes two to three minutes to complete this. Avoid using back-and-forth sawing motions.
Too-vigorous brushing or using a toothbrush with a rough bristle might harm the gums and tooth enamel. Gum erosion, tooth discomfort, and irreversible damage to the protective enamel on teeth are possible side effects.
The American Dental Association (ADA) advises using a toothbrush with soft bristles. Additionally, they recommend changing your toothbrush every three months or, whichever comes first, when the ends fray.
2. Use Fluoride
Fluorine, a substance found in soil, is the source of fluoride. Fluoride is frequently found in toothpaste and mouthwash because many experts think it helps prevent cavities.
However, some people may not use fluoride at all, and some dental products do not include it.
Even if a person takes good care of their teeth, evidence suggests that a lack of fluoride can cause tooth decay. According to a new study, brushing and flossing do not shield a person from developing cavities if fluoride is not used.
In many American localities, fluoride has been added to the water supply. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the ADA are a few organizations that endorse this procedure.
By contacting their local authorities, people can learn whether the water in their area contains fluoride. People that utilize well water will need to check the fluoride levels in this water to determine how much is present, as reverse osmosis water filters eliminate fluoride. Many brands of bottled water don’t have fluoride in them.
3. Floss every day
Plaque and bacteria between teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach them, can be removed using flossing. Clearing away debris and food that has become stuck between the teeth, it can also help avoid foul breath.
The ADA still advises flossing despite the absence of extensive research to support its benefits. Additionally, the CDC advises people to floss their teeth.
Most dental specialists advise carefully guiding the floss to the gumline before embracing the tooth’s side with up-and-down motions. It’s vital to avoid snapping the floss up and down between the teeth, as this can hurt and can lessen how well it removes plaque.
4. Visit the dentist regularly
Before they worsen, a dentist can identify and treat oral health problems.
According to experts, people should have a dentist checkup every six months. A hygienist will clean the teeth and remove tartar and plaque during a standard dental checkup.
The dentist will look for visible indications of oral health problems such as mouth cancer, gum disease, cavities, and other conditions.
Additionally, they could occasionally use dental X-rays to look for cavities.
According to a recent study, children and teenagers should visit the dentist every six months to help avoid cavities. Adults who regularly practice good oral hygiene and have a low risk of oral health issues might be able to visit the dentist less frequently.
The answer could change depending on a person’s age, dental health generally, and medical history. However, anyone who observes changes in their mouth should see a dentist.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking weakens the body’s immune system, making it more challenging for the body to recover tissues, including those in the mouth.
The CDC lists smoking as a risk factor for gum disease, and the ADA cautions smokers that their bodies may heal slowly following dental work.
Smoking alters the way the mouth looks by causing the teeth and tongue to turn yellow and can make the breath smell terrible.
6. Use a mouthwash
According to several types of research, some mouthwashes are good for your teeth. For instance, a review discovered that mouthwash containing chlorhexidine’s antibacterial component helped manage plaque and gingivitis. A meta-analysis found that certain essential oil-infused mouthwashes are also efficient.
People may consult their dentist to find out which mouthwash is appropriate for their specific requirements. While mouthwash cannot replace brushing and flossing, it can support these habits.
7. Avoid carbohydrates and foods high in sugar
Sugar consumption can cause cavities. Studies are emphasizing the important part sugar plays in bad dental health results. Candy and pastries are typical offenders, but many processed meals include added sugar.
The WHO advises consumers to keep their daily sugar intake around 10% of total calories. Reducing this to 5 percent, according to the authors of a systematic review, would further lessen the incidence of cavities and other oral issues.
According to experts, starchy foods like crackers, bread, chips, and pasta might contribute to tooth decay. According to the ADA, these meals stay in the mouth for a long time and decompose into simple sugars, which acid-producing bacteria feed on. Tooth decay may result from this acid.
The ADA advises consuming lots of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and dairy products without added sugar in place of starchy foods.
8. Choose water over sweetened beverages
The main source of added sugars is beverages with added sugar.
Drinking soda, juice, or other sugary beverages can increase your chance of developing cavities.
The ADA advises just consuming small amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages at mealtimes along with water or unsweetened tea.
Maintaining good dental hygiene from childhood through adulthood can aid in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. People can prevent cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems by brushing and flossing regularly, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and scheduling routine dental appointments. It might also be good for their general health.