Oral health not only encompasses a range of conditions like dental caries, tooth loss, oral cancers, gum issues, and birth defects (like cleft lips and palate) but can also act as an indicator of overall health, well-being, and quality of life.
Such oral manifestations can work together with risks such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy diets high in free sugars that lead to non-communicable cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes. It is thus, of utmost importance to keep oral health under check.
Steps For A Healthier Oral Hygiene
Your smile and overall health holds key to basically two simple dental care habits, brushing and flossing. But using the right techniques and equipment is very important.
Brushing For Oral Health
Taking care of our teeth is the first step to a healthy start. Keeping the teeth and gums clean, can keep cavities and gum diseases at bay. It is always recommended to brush twice a day but properly. Rushing with the process should be avoided.
Brushing should be done by holding the brush at a slightly tilted angle, aiming at the area where the teeth meet the gums. Also, fluoride toothpaste should be used along with a comfortable soft-bristled toothbrush. An electric toothbrush is also a good option as it helps in reducing plaque and preventing gingivitis.
Although fluoride has come under scrutiny for other health impacts, it is vital for oral health as it prevents tooth decay. Hence, toothpaste that contains the recommended dose of fluoride should be chosen.
Toothbrushes should be rinsed properly after use and stored hygienically in an upright position to allow drying. It should be kept in mind that the toothbrushes are not hurdled up altogether as this can cause cross-contamination.
Also, wet toothbrushes should not be kept in closed containers as this encourages the growth of bacteria and molds. The toothbrush or the heads of battery-operated ones should be replaced at regular intervals.
Flossing For Oral Health
Brushing does most of the job one may think. But the tight spaces between the teeth remain unattended which is why flossing is important. The floss should be held tightly between the thumb and forefingers and used between the teeth with a rubbing motion. When it reaches the gum line, it should be curved against one tooth like a ‘C’. One tooth at a time should be taken and rubbed in an up and down movement.
Flossing is as important as brushing and hence, should not be skipped. It helps not only in removing the little pieces of food stuck in between the teeth but also reduces plaque, stimulates gums, and helps minimize inflammations of the area. It can be difficult in children and arthritis patients. Instead of totally doing away with the practice, one can use the ready-to-use dental flossers available over the counter.
A Few More Care Tips
Although daily brushing and flossing are considered the most important steps, a few more also aids in the process.
Use mouthwash– Well, advertisements do make mouthwashes seem necessary for good oral health, but most people neglect this as they are ignorant about their usage. Mouthwashes help in reducing the acid content in the mouth, clean the difficult areas around the gums and re-mineralize the teeth. Flossing can be a difficult task for children and older people. Using a mouthwash can be particularly helpful here. One should ask the dentist for proper recommendations as certain ones are best for kids whereas others are for sensitive tooth people.
Keep your tongue clean– The cleaning of the tongue is also an important thing. Tongue scrapers or cleaners should be used while brushing as they not only prevent bad breath but also other oral problems.
Drink water- Drinking water helps in washing out any sticky or acidic food after meals.
Chew crunchy fruits and vegetables– It is advised not to cut fruits into pieces but use the teeth to bite between them. This helps in making the jaws strong.
Limit sugary food intake– Sugars convert into acids that erode the tooth enamel causing cavities. So, it is best to include such items as little as possible in your diet.
Quit smoking– Tobacco increases the risk of many diseases including oral diseases.
Whether we are 70 or 7, oral health is important. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, approximately 3.5 billion people get affected by oral diseases worldwide.
In America, most people enjoy good oral health, but cavities remain one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in kids. Visiting the dentist twice annually should be included in the routine. After all, a smile is the best thing one can wear!