It’s like a house of cards: Oral health has a big role in determining our general health, and good oral hygiene is the key to oral health. Each relies on the other, but the key card which can bring this delicately balanced and very shaky construction tumbling down, is the oral hygiene ace.
Impacts of poor oral health
Dentists have linked a number of serious health problems to the state of the mouth, and the teeth, gums and tongue that are in it. If that state is good, the system works well, but the fallout from poor oral health impacts on the teeth and gums, which may result in tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth loss and even damage the bones supporting your teeth. And the impact can go further, affecting the heart, worsening diabetes, leading to strokes, and even increasing the likelihood of developing oral cancer.
Poor oral health also has its aesthetic effects. Missing, decayed and discolored teeth mar our smiles and lower our confidence levels, affecting our relationships both at work and at home. Poor teeth have even been claimed as a reason for not employing someone, because in some cases employers see poor teeth as a deterrent.
5 simple oral hygiene tips:
You are what you eat
Or at least your teeth are likely to be. A diet full of sugar or high in acid spells trouble for your teeth. Sugary food and beverages may taste great, but they also provide sustenance for the build-up of bacteria in your mouth. This can lead to plaque on the teeth and the build-up of much harder tartar which destroys the teeth.
Acidic food and drink also provides a big threat to oral health. The acid can build up on the surface of the teeth and end up damaging the enamel, weakening the teeth and heightening the chance of decay and sensitivity.
If you can’t resist these foods completely, enjoy them in moderation, and then lessen the risks by rinsing your mouth with water half an hour later. And consider looking at improving your diet, particularly when it comes to supplying your body with the necessary nutrients to keep your mouth healthy and able to fight infections.
Drink a lot of water
It moistens your mouth and helps stimulate the saliva which neutralizes the acids and breaks down the bad bacteria, so slowing the build-up of bacteria and plaque.
Clean your teeth properly
A good oral hygiene routine involves brushing your teeth for about two minutes, twice a day. Use a soft brush and clean gently so you don’t damage the enamel. Take an up and down action, being sure to clean the back and front surfaces carefully before cleaning the chewing surface. And don’t ignore the base of the teeth at the gum line.
After brushing, floss between your teeth once a day to dislodge debris that may have got caught in places your brush can’t reach. Then clean your tongue with your brush, or using a tongue scraper designed for this purpose. Cleaning it involves working from the back towards the front of the tongue in sectional sweeping motions. Then complete your cleaning ritual with a good mouthwash.
Have regular check-ups and professional cleanings
Professional cleaning and regular check-ups help deal with problems that can develop despite your best efforts. These cleanings manage to reach places that are almost impossible to reach without the right equipment. The check-up will allow the dentist to not only pick up any signs of trouble but also to provide treatment in time to ensure the most positive outcome.
Be kind to your teeth
Don’t use them to open bottles, break open packets or cut threads. The role teeth play in your looks and general state of health, is far too important to be taken lightly. And it’s far more difficult to organise replacements for them, than it is to devote a bit of time to finding the appropriate tool for these actions.
Team up with your dentist in the fight for oral health, and the development of a good oral hygiene routine. Ask the dentist’s advice regarding any changes you should make to your current regimen and for new approaches to oral care that will improve it. This will help you maintain the best oral hygiene routine possible, and prevent the unpleasant consequences of poor oral health.