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A Complete Guide to Oral Health

by Rishabh

A Guide to Oral Health

Why are our teeth important?

The size and the shape of the teeth vary as per there placement in the mouth. Due to the same reason, teeth have different tasks to perform such as helping us in chewing and digesting food, and pronouncing different sounds in a clear manner. They also give our face, its shape. Put your best smile forwards, you can surely win the world.

What can happen wrong with our teeth?

The problem tooth decay does not only leads to inlays, filling or crowns, but it also is painful. If the problem is not treated, the nerve of the tooth dies after getting infected, leading to abscess. In that case, either root canal treatment would be required or the tooth has to be removed. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene. Gum diseases are quite often and if they do not get treated, they might lead to bone loss around the tooth, tooth lose or loose teeth. Go for regular check-ups to the dentist and if the teeth is lost, fill the gaps through implants, bridges, and dentures.

How can one keep teeth and gums healthy?

Keeping, mouth healthy and clean is an easy task. To keep dental problems at bay, keep the following in mind:

  • Before sleeping, do not forget to brush your teeth and at least during the day, with preferably a fluoride toothpaste.
  • At least once a day clean between the teeth with floss or interdental brushes.
  • Maintain healthy eating habits. Consume less of sugary foods and drinks.
  • Regular dental check-ups

Though most of the people are regular in brushing their teeth, but there are very little people who visit the dentist for timely check-ups or clean between the teeth. Making small changes in our route in can actually make a big difference in long run. The dentist can help if there are any problem in the teeth but maintaining everyday dental routine is in your hands. Use the toothpaste, toothbrush and floss.

What is a plaque?

Plaque is a gluey, thin sheet of bacteria that keeps on forming on your teeth.

How can plaque lead to decay?

When we consume food items that have starch and sugar, acid is produced by the bacteria present in plaque, which harm the tooth enamel. The mugginess in the plaque connects the acid with the teeth constantly, leading the tooth enamel to break down, causing a cavity or a hole.

How can plaque lead to gum disease?

If we do not remove plaque by brushing daily, it gets hardened into calculus or tartar. When there is formation of calculus near the gum line, the plaque gives rise to harmful poisons leading to the gums becoming inflamed and irritated. The gums and teeth start pulling away from each other because of which the gaps get infected. If you do not visit the dentist to deal with it, the bone that supports the teeth is harmed, and even the healthy teeth may become fall out and a replacement might be needed.

How can gum disease be prevented?

In order to keep gum inflation and infection at bay, it is absolutely necessary that plaque and food bites must be cleaned from around the teeth. If left as it is, plaque can harden into tarter and then professional help is necessary to correct it. Visit your dentist regularly for a thorough cleaning session.

What kind of toothbrush should one use?

If you really wish to known the kind of toothbrush that is ideal for you, ask your dentist. Otherwise, an adult can go for a small to medium sized toothbrush head. The bristles should be medium soft, rounded-ended in nylon and be multi-tufted. The head of the brush must be small so that it reaches even the far ends of your mouth. The brushes of children can be even smaller.

Specialized brushes are available in market these days. For example, soft bristles brushes for people with sensitive teeth, smaller-headed toothbrushes for people with crooked teeth.

Sometimes, people with physical disability finds it difficult to hold toothbrush with smaller handles. For them, special toothbrushes with angled head and large handles is also available in the market now.

How will I come to know if I have gum disease?

Although though the bone supporting the teeth is harmed but the gum disease or gingivitis is mostly painless. If you see swollen red gums, and experience bleeding when you are brushing, do not worry. The fact of the matter is that clean your teeth daily and properly in order to get rid of this problem. Take professional assistance if bleeding doesn’t stops.

How does an electric toothbrush works?

An electric brush has a fluctuating rotating or vibrating head offering good cleaning action with very little movement being done by the user. However, one must know how to hold the brush correctly.

What is the importance of brushing?

Cleaning and brushing the teeth every day is very important to remove plaque, which if not removed, keeps on building up with leftover food bits, causing gum disease and tooth decay.

Are electric toothbrushes better?

According to tests electric toothbrushes are better when it comes to removing plaque, especially those with heads rotating in both the directions. This kind of brush can be used by anyone. They are mainly extremely useful for elderly or disabled people who cannot hold normal brushes properly.

How should I brush my teeth?

Following can be a good way to brush the teeth

  • Keep the toothbrush head against the teeth, tilting the bristle to a 45-degree angle against the gum line. Now, on the surface of the teeth, move the brush in circular movements, a number of times.
  • Brush the outer surface of every tooth, upper as well as lower, keeping the bristles properly angled against the gum line.
  • Repeat the action on the inside surfaces also. For cleaning the inner surface of the front teeth, tilt your brush vertically, making various circular strokes with the front part of your brush.
  • Also brush the biting areas of the teeth.
  • Do clean your tongue to freshen the breath and keep the mouth clean of bacteria.

How often should I brush my teeth?

Be sure to brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. If you regularly keep getting discomfort or bleeding after brushing you should see your dentist.

How can I be sure that all the plaque has been removed?

You can use special disclosing tablets, or you can put special dye (available at the pharmacy) on the plaque, using a cotton bud. These stains would highlight the area that needs brushing. The main areas are where the gums and teeth meet.

What is the right time to change the toothbrush?

The toothbrush that is completely worn-out, cannot clean your teeth properly and might also be harmful for the gums. Therefore, one must change his toothbrush in every 2 to 3 months, or till the time, bristles get worn out.

Should fluoride toothpaste be used?

Fluoride assists in strengthening and protecting the teeth, reducing tooth decay in children as well as adults.

What kind of toothpaste should be used?

Specialized as well as regular family toothpastes are available in the market. There are toothpastes for people who have sensitive teeth and then there are tartar-control toothpastes too. You can also go for Whitening toothpastes that remove stains and maintain the natural color of the teeth. Total care toothpastes that are available have all the ingredients that can freshen breadth, can reduce the plaque build -up and can also keep gum disease at bay.

Some of the children toothpaste contain around half the fluoride in comparison to adult toothpastes, thus, offering limited protection. If your kid is under 7 years of age, supervise his brushing sessions. Ask him not gulp down the toothpaste and rinse properly after brushing.

How much toothpaste is required for cleaning teeth?

A pea-size amount of toothpaste is enough. There is no need to cover the head of the tooth brush.

How can one clean the space between the teeth?

Dental floss, dental tape and interdental brushes are available for the same purpose and are easy to use. Using any of these you can remove food bits, plaque between your teeth and under the gum line. Do this at least once a day.

Following can be the correct way of flossing:

  • Break 18 inches of floss and rotate a major part of it around your middle fingers of both the hands. Start flossing opting for the used section with this finger.
  • Use your forefingers and thumbs to hold the floss tightly, about an inch of floss between them, while leaving no slack. Maneuver the floss in a gentle ‘rocking’ motion. Keep the motion gentle, avoid jerking.
  • As the floss comes to the gum line, curve it in C-shape against one tooth till you can feel the resistance.
  • Holding the floss against the tooth, carefully scrape the side of the tooth, keeping it away from the gum. Now do this again on the other side of the gap.
  • Clean the back of the last tooth also.

Follow a particular pattern while flossing. Begin from the top, working left to right, continuing to the bottom, and again from left to right. You can keep looking at the mirror and clean your teeth. Clean the around the bridges, crowns and implants. You can use traditional floss or specialized floss.

Do gums bleed during flossing?

During the first few days of cleaning between the teeth, gums may be sore or may bleed. As the health of your mouth improves, bleeding must stop but if it doesn’t, visit your dentist. Probably, you are not doing the cleaning properly or you need an expert’s help.

What work is done by ‘oral irrigators’?

A stream of water is used by oral irrigators for removing the bits of food and plaque around the teeth. It can be extremely useful, if you are wearing fixed bridges or braces. Brushing or using floss may not be helpful.

Should I rinse my mouth using a mouthwash?

If you rinse your mouth on a daily basis using a fluoride mouthwash, you can keep tooth decay at bay. Your dentist can also prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash for controlling plaque and reducing gum disease. However, if you are consistently fighting bad breath using a mouthwash, then visit your dentist as bad breath means poor oral health, and unhealthy gums and teeth.

Can a person’s diet help in any way?

A number of people think that diet with high level of sugar leads to tooth decay, but it is just a myth. Not the amount of sugar but the frequency of eating diet is what creates the problem. Our mouth takes one hour to remove the acids that occur due to drinking or eating sugar. At this time, teeth are under the attack of acid. Thus, if you wish to limit the harm, consume sugary food items only during meal times. By drinking water or consuming sugar-free gum can cancel the effect of the acid in quick manner.

Dental erosion is caused by fruits juices, fizzy drinks, wine and sports drinks. The acid in these food items slowly harms the hard enamel coating of the teeth, leading to tooth sensitivity.

How should I clean my dentures?

Cleaning dentures is equally important as cleaning your teeth. Food bits can get stuck near the edges of the clasps and dentures. If this is not cleaned properly, they can rot and harm your teeth. Keep a spate brush for your dentures. Use a small- to medium-headed toothbrush.

Follow this- brush, soak them and then brush again. First you brush to remove the food bits. Then, you soak your dentures for a short while in special cleaner and then brush them again. If you notice scale on stains on the dentures, get it cleaned by the dentist.

Do people with implants need special care?

After implants, the doctor guides you about how to take care of them. Cleaning the dental implants properly and thoroughly is extremely important to stay away from dental infection and gum disease.

Why are regular sessions with the dentist important?

As they say, prevention is better than cure, thus, visiting the dentist to prevent problems is easier than finding their cure later. By visiting your dentist on a regular basis, you will be able to a check on any problem before it arises and becomes bigger.

Concluding words

By following these, you can maintain a good oral hygiene:

  • Brush your teeth at least 2 times in a day- in the morning and at night before going to bed, using fluoride toothpaste.
  • Your toothbrush must have a small- to medium-sized head.
  • The toothbrush must have soft to medium, multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles.
  • Electric toothbrush can be a good option.
  • Apply small, circular movements for cleaning the teeth.
  • Change the toothbrush every 2-3 months.
  • Clean the space between the teeth daily using dental floss or interdental brushes.
  • Consume less of sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit the dentist on a regular basis or as they ask.

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