At any given time, there are millions of bacteria living in your mouth, and they can build up to cause cavities and gingivitis. It is crucial to observe good oral hygiene, not just for a beautiful smile, but for oral health benefits as well. Oral health is more important than many people might realize. The health of gums, teeth, and mouth affects your overall health.
Although most bacteria found in the mouth are harmless, the mouth is the entry point to your respiratory and digestive tracts, and some of these bacteria can lead to illnesses. Problems in your mouth can affect other body parts, and your oral health gives clues about your overall health. Protect yourself and family members by observing the following best oral health practices.
1. Start early with children
Although there have been big strides in tooth decay prevention, 25% of children still develop tooth decay signs before they begin school. Additionally, 50% of kids aged 12 to 15 years have cavities. Dental care for your kids should begin after the first tooth appears. Remember to have dental insurance coverage for the whole family, especially when you have kids to cover for all the dental visits.
2. Seal off trouble
You can use sealants to prevent permanent molars from decaying or cavities. Sealants are protective coatings applied to the molars. They are an effective way to prevent cavities and tooth decay in children who can’t reach their back teeth when brushing.
3. Brush regularly and properly
Almost everyone knows that brushing their teeth twice every day is the best way to remove bacteria and plaque and keep their mouth clean. However, brushing is only effective when done properly. The correct way of brushing is using small circular motions and making sure you brush the front, back, and top of every tooth.
Brushing should take about two to three minutes. Don’t use a hard-bristled toothbrush or brush too aggressively, as it can damage your gums and tooth enamel. This may result in tooth sensitivity, gum erosion, and permanent damage to the tooth enamel.
4. Use a fluoride toothpaste
Flavour and whitening power are important elements to consider when buying toothpaste, but fluoride is more important. Whichever toothpaste flavor you choose, make sure it contains fluoride.
Fluoride comes from fluorine, and it helps to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Research suggests that lack of fluoride can result in tooth decay, no matter how well you take care of your teeth. If you don’t use fluoride, flossing and brushing won’t help you to prevent cavities.
Fluoride should be used sparingly in children. Too much of it can cause white spots on the teeth. Additionally, do not rinse with mouthwash immediately after brushing; otherwise, you won’t realize the benefits of fluoride. Wait for about 15 minutes to let fluoride work on your enamel.
5. Brushing is important, but flossing is equally important
A lot of people brush twice a day but forget to floss. Apart from removing food debris stuck in between the teeth, flossing helps to lower inflammation, stimulate the gums, and reduce plaque.
6. Use mouthwash
A lot of people don’t use mouthwash because they don’t know how they work. Mouthwash helps to clean the areas around the gums that are hard to brush, remineralizes the teeth, and decreases the amount of acid in the mouth. Mouthwash helps to bring things into balance. It is particularly helpful in seniors and young children who don’t have the ability to floss and brush properly.
7. Regular dental checkups
Brushing twice a day, flossing, and using a mouthwash are all important for your oral health, but you still need to see a dentist regularly. Make sure you visit your dentist at least twice a year. Your dentist will look for cavities, remove calculus, and spot potential problems before they happen. If your dental insurance company covers for more than two checkups a year, take advantage of it.
8. Consider Orthodontics
Getting properly aligned teeth is about more than just your smile. Even a fairly mild case of dental crowding can cause plaque to build up in hard to reach places, producing cavities. And bite disorders, such as crossbite or overbite, can produce strain on the jaw, leading to headaches and TMJ. Though many associate braces with teens, people of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
9. Eat vegetables and fruits
Ready-to-eat foods may be convenient but maybe not so much when it comes to your oral health. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber and are also good for your teeth.
10. Limit acidic and sugary foods
Sugar in the mouth ultimately converts to acid, which results in enamel erosion and cavities. Tea, coffee, acidic fruits can also lead to enamel erosion. It doesn’t necessarily mean you stop taking them, but you should be mindful.
Observing good dental practices from infancy to adulthood can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy. Additionally, good oral health contributes positively to your overall health.