Maintaining your oral health – the ultimate guide
Most people have at least some issues with their teeth, usually due to a lack of oral hygiene. Not maintaining your dental health properly can lead to a variety of symptoms, including dental cavities and gum diseases. The “issue” with oral hygiene is that it is a lifelong commitment, and many people simply do not acquire proper oral hygiene habits before they are faced with issues. These days, we have access to some very powerful correcting tools, such as the best clear aligners, but they need to be augmented with good habits. In this ultimate guide to maintaining your oral health, we are going to inform you about the importance of oral health, as well as how to maintain it properly.
A few facts about oral health
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), 60-90% of school children feature at least one dental cavity, with almost 100% of adults having at least one as well. Severe gum disease is present in 15-20% of adults ages 35-44, and around 30% of people ages 65-74 do not have any natural teeth left in their mouth. Additionally, most countries report between one and ten cases of oral cancer per 100,000 people! Oral disease is also much more prominent in population groups that are facing poverty or are otherwise disadvantaged.
However, maintaining your oral health is not that hard, provided you acquire good dental habits, such as:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing once a day
- Decreasing sugar intake
- Forming a diet based around vegetables and fruits
- Avoiding any products that contain tobacco
- Consuming fluoridated water
- Visiting dental care professionals on a regular basis
What causes oral and dental diseases?
All sorts of viruses, bacteria, and even fungi can be found in our oral cavities. While some of these naturally belong there, forming the natural mouth flora, it is rather easy to disturb the balance. For example, a high sugar diet can produce conditions that will lead to a higher amount of acid-producing bacteria. This bacteria, harmless in small quantities, can dissolve tooth enamel and cause dental cavities if left unchecked.
Near our gum line, there’s a sticky matrix that we call plaque. All sorts of bacteria thrive in plaque, and the plaque itself will accumulate, harden, and even migrate down the length of your teeth if you don’t remove it regularly. Hardening of the plaque can inflame the gums and cause a more serious condition known as gingivitis. When your gums are inflamed, they start to pull away from your teeth, creating even more problems. The process has the effect of creating pockets in your mouth, making it possible for pus to gather there. And that is how people get periodontitis.
Here are some of the factors that may lead to both gingivitis and periodontitis:
- Certain infections
- Bad brushing habits
- Overly use of sugary foodstuffs
- Medications that reduce the amount of saliva
- Women hormonal changes
- Frequent vomiting
Diagnosing dental issues
Luckily, it is possible to diagnose most dental and oral problems by visiting your dentist. A quick dental exam will inspect your teeth, mouth, throat, tongue, cheeks, jaw, and neck. The dentist also has access to dental X-rays, making sure that they get a full image of each tooth. A dental exam utilizes numerous tools to properly diagnose the teeth condition. For example, your dentist might simply tap and scrape at some of your teeth with precision instruments, they can utilize a probe to measure the gum pockets, or even a small ruler to find any gum diseases in the making.
If there are any lumps, growths, or lesions in your mouth, your dentist can perform a gum biopsy. This process involves removing a small piece of tissue from the lesion or growth, after which that tissue is sent to a laboratory. If your dentist even suspects that you may have oral cancer, you may need to follow up with additional scans, such as an X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan, or even an endoscopy. Do note that if you are pregnant, you should not be having any X-rays done. Always inform your dentist about your medical history and condition.
The importance of maintaining your oral health
Now that you know what can go wrong, you have an inkling of why maintaining your oral health is so important. Aside from preventing nasty diseases, good oral hygiene is essential to achieving and maintaining a state of well-being throughout one’s life. Oral health can affect you on a physical and emotional level, after all. It is a huge impact when it comes to interpersonal relations, appearance, diet, and even speech. Many people’s problems can be directly traced to their oral health, in fact. By forming and keeping good dental habits, you are much more likely to lead a fulfilling and quality life.
These days, we have access to some of the most powerful dental tech trends, tools, and substances that can aid us in maintaining our oral health. Starting from toothpaste, there is a myriad of choices in front of you. But you still need to utilize them. It is easy to think that your teeth will always be healthy but it is very hard to make that actually happen. To do so, you will need to adopt good dental hygiene practices and habits.
Maintaining your oral health – How to keep your teeth healthy?
First off, you need to know that achieving healthy teeth is a lifelong process. Even if your dentist told you that you have amazing teeth, it is up to you to keep them that way. And that means that you will need to incorporate daily dental activities into your routine. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to do:
- Brush your teeth before going to bed
- Utilize proper brushing technique
- Do not neglect the tongue
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Floss regularly and do not get swayed by initial difficulties
- Consider using mouthwash
- Introduce more water into your diet
- Eat vegetables and crunchy fruits
- Limit your intake of acidic and sugary foods
- Visit your dentist bi-annually
Don’t go to bed without brushing
Most experts recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day. However, it is also important that we brush our teeth before we go to bed. The reasoning behind this is that germs and plaque accumulate during the day, and they “work” at night when you are sleeping. By brushing before you go to sleep, you will have a much easier time maintaining healthy teeth.
The way you brush is important
It is not enough to simply take a toothbrush and swipe it around your teeth. You will want to utilize a proper brushing technique of moving the brush in circular, gentle, motions. Keep the toothbrush at around 45% angle while doing so. Furthermore, you will want to create a brushing system that you are comfortable with. This varies from person to person, and you are free to improvise, as long as you cover everything.
Do not neglect the tongue
Most people do not know that plaque can also build up in the tongue. This usually leads to bad mouth odor, but it can also contribute to various other health issues. Thus, every time you brush your teeth, make sure to gently brush your tongue as well. Incorporate this into your oral hygiene habits and you will have much fewer issues.
There is an overwhelming variety of toothpaste on the market. Try not to go for flavor and whitening power alone, make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride presents one of the best defenses against tooth decay. The way it works is by creating a protective barrier for your teeth while fighting any germs that lead to decay.
Even people who brush regularly may choose to forgo flossing. However, this is not a good idea, as flossing is extremely important in maintaining your oral health. The reason why you floss is more nuanced than simply removing stuck food from your teeth. Flossing stimulates the gums, helps to lower inflammation, and reduces plaque. You don’t really need to floss more than once a day, in most cases. Ideally, speak with your dentist and ask about recommendations on how many times you need to floss during the day.
The reason why so many people abhor flossing is the fact that it may be difficult. This is especially prevalent in older adults who have arthritis, as well as very young children. That being said, there is a variety of tools at your disposal to make the process easier. For example, simply acquiring ready-to-use dental flossers from your local pharmacy can make a huge difference on their own.
Another thing that most people completely skip is mouthwash. The main reason for this behavior is that mouthwash effects are largely unknown to most. What mouthwash does is primarily reduce the amount of acid in the mouth. It also remineralizes the teeth and helps clean areas that are hard to brush. Mouthwash, on its own, is not enough to maintain your oral health, however. You want to utilize it as an addition to other dental habits.
Since there are many mouthwash brands on the market, you will want to ask your dentist for recommendations. Your dentist will know which brand is ideal for your unique situation, and in some cases can even prescribe it.
The best beverage – Water
While it may not be as tasty as some of the other drinks, water remains the best beverage for maintaining your oral health. Most of us can benefit from increasing the intake of water on a daily basis. However, what is really important when it comes to dental hygiene is that you drink plenty of water after every meal. Water will help you avoid most of the negative effects that are associated with acidic and sticky foods and beverages. It is not as effective as brushing, of course, but it can be of immense help.
Introducing vegetables and crunchy fruits to your diet
It is a well-known fact that all “junk” food is bad for your teeth. This is due to the fact that most of the food we consume contains at least traces of sugar and acids. The best choice of food when it comes to oral health is fresh, crunchy, produce. Aside from containing plenty of healthy fiber, chew foods will get the jaws working. Most experts recommend backing down on mushy processed products, as well as avoiding cutting your food into tiny pieces. This is especially important when it comes to young children.
Limit your sugar/acid intake
As you might have surmised, acid is the main cause of tooth decay. Sugar converts to acid inside your mouth, which will have an erosion effect when it reaches the teeth’ enamel. Luckily, this effect is neither instantaneous nor extremely dangerous. But that is only if you limit your intake of sugary foods. You don’t have to avoid them but try to limit yourself at least somewhat.
Visit your dentist at least twice a year
Even the most zealous flossers and brushers may need to see a dentist at regular intervals. It is generally advised to visit your dentist at least twice a year, for regular checkups and cleanings. Despite your best efforts, it is entirely possible that cavities may form, or that you may be at risk of another issue. Visiting a good orthodontist will allow you to spot these issues before they can wreak havoc inside your mouth.
Maintaining your oral health is a lifelong commitment, and you want to start right now. While you may think “I will start brushing after I fix my teeth”, it is always better to start brushing them then and there. What you need to do is create a system that works for you. For example, let’s say that you have something you always do in a day. This can be going for a walk in the park with your dog, or it can be watching a news report. Make it so that you always brush your teeth before the activity.
Sometimes, you may also need a bit more help with your teeth. You may need invisible braces, for example, or you may need specialized dental services. If you want to know all about oral health, the best oral care products, and companies, explore and browse Consumer Opinion Guide. We will provide you with all the necessary information you might need to make the best decision that concerns maintaining your oral health.