Bad breath, damaged teeth, irritable gums… A nice smile depends on having a good standard of oral hygiene. Here are a few simple steps which, when done on a daily basis, will help you avoid various problems and guarantee your smile is bright and dazzling.
The importance of good oral hygiene
The oral ecosystem serves to protect the inside of the mouth. Tongue, cheeks, gums, enamel: it’s important to keep these parts in good condition by paying close attention to your oral hygiene. Things like food, sugary drinks and caffeine all put a serious strain on our mouths. To prevent diseases and infections appearing and stop the spread of the germs associated with bad breath, all it takes is a few simple steps incorporated into your daily care routine.
Effective brushing and an annual visit to the dentist are essential when it comes to preventing dental caries, gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, and other inflammatory conditions.
Efficient, effective brushing
Daily brushing is vital for keeping teeth and gums healthy and in good condition. It enables the removal of dental plaque and helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tarter formation. To ensure your teeth are cleaned to an optimal level, it’s essential to brush for at least two minutes twice a day (after both breakfast and dinner). It goes without saying, of course, that you should ideally brush after every meal to avoid the build up of plaque, which tends to form between four and twelve hours after ingesting food.
There are a few important rules to follow when it comes to efficient, effective brushing. Firstly, always try to angle your brush at 45 degrees to the gums. Secondly, always brush the inner sides of your teeth first then move on to the outer sides, starting at the upper parts and working towards the bottom. Thirdly, always brush your teeth properly by moving the brush from the gums towards the teeth and not in the reverse direction. Use slow movements, always in a vertical direction. Finally, finish off your brushing with horizontal movements across the tops of the teeth.
Whether it’s manual or electric, ensure you choose a toothbrush that properly matches your gum type, and try to get one with soft bristles if you have sensitive gums. Soft-bristled toothbrushes provide a soft, gentle brushing that protects your teeth’s enamel whilst at the same time being highly effective against dental plaque. It’s advisable to clean your teeth using fluoride toothpaste, which will strengthen your teeth’s enamel. And to get the full benefit out of it, avoid wetting your toothbrush before use.
Other important steps to take
To keep your mouth healthy, remember to clean your tongue each time you brush. The tongue is a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, and cleaning it properly helps combat bad breath and prevents the proliferation of germs in your oral cavity.
The use of dental floss or interdental brushes should also be included in your daily dental care routine. This allows you to clean both the interdental spaces and gingival sulcus that toothbrushes cannot reach and in which food remains become embedded. Used once a day, they reduce the risk of potential infections developing. And finally, for an optimal level of oral hygiene, use dental plaque disclosing products. Available in both tablet and liquid form, these expose the plaque residues that brushing fails to completely remove, thus enabling thorough, targetted removal of your dental plaque.
To add the finishing touch to your mouth hygiene, the use of antiseptic, antimicrobial rinsing liquids after brushing is also recommended. What these do in particular is help strengthen the tissue of the gums.
It’s also advisable to use antiseptic mouthwash to help heal gum abrasions or other oral/dental problems. Be careful not to overdo it however: some products are quite aggressive and can deteriorate your oral flora and damage your teeth if used too often.
Having healthy teeth is also about eating a balanced diet. As everyone knows, it’s important not to eat too many sugary foods, as these contain cariogenic substances. Carbohydrates, for their part, tend to cause receding gums and enamel demineralisation. Tobacco smoke and alcohol consumption are also factors that can play a part in poor oral hygiene.
By contrast, and to keep teeth strong and healthy by limiting acid attack, it’s advisable to consume lipids, which are rich in vitamins and fatty acids. Milk based foods, for their part, contain casein, which is very useful for preventing food sticking to the surface of the teeth.
It’s important to limit the amount of highly acidic foods (particularly drinks) consumed as much as possible, especially in the evenings. At night, our saliva stimulates dental plaque formation, hence the importance of properly brushing your teeth before going to sleep. It’s also essential to drink large amounts of water. Consuming water is of course good for our bodies, but it’s also good for saliva production, which is indispensable for protecting our oral ecosystem, as it actively prevents acid bacteria from building up.
And finally, it’s absolutely imperative to visit a dentist once or twice a year. A dental professional will be able to make sure your mouth is in a good state of health, detect any potential problems you might have, and give you tailored advice about your dental care routine.
Finally, always remember to change your toothbrush as soon as you notice the bristles starting to become bent. In general, toothbrushes should be changed once every three months.
So, whether it’s about preventing dental caries, gum disease, tarter formation or bad breath, these are steps you can take each day to keep your mouth in a good state of health. However, an annual visit to the dentist is still essential when it comes to having the condition of your teeth properly checked and reducing the risk of oral diseases. Integrating good dental hygiene into your personal care routine is the key to a radiant smile.