Oral Hygiene Basics
The aesthetic effects of good oral hygiene are great. It goes a long way towards keeping you from embarrassing moments caused by bits of food stuck between your teeth, keeps your smile bright and attractive, and for the most part prevents bad breath from driving everyone away.
However, the need to ensure good oral hygiene goes way beyond that. It’s a matter of health. You need good teeth and a healthy tongue in order to speak and eat, and healthy gums so you don’t lose the teeth or the bones that support them. You also need it to avoid the risk of causing health problems for the rest of your body.
Oral health is linked to general health
Oral health, or lack thereof, has an unusual relationship with our general health. On the one hand, oral health problems can show warning signs of trouble elsewhere in the body. Gum disease can result from diabetes, while tooth loss and periodontal bone loss could be a result of osteoporosis which causes bones to become brittle and weak.
On the other hand, heart diseases like strokes and clogged arteries have been linked to the inflammations and infections oral bacteria can cause. The oral bacteria and germs from the mouth spread through the bloodstream could also cause infections in the inner lining of damaged areas of your heart (endocarditis). Gum disease has also been linked to premature birth.
How to maintain good oral hygiene
- Regular check-ups: Your SE Calgary dentist is your best ally in keeping a close watch on what is happening in your mouth. Regular check-ups every 6 months, and definitely no more than a year apart, will help to ensure that any oral health issues, including serious ones like gum disease or oral cancer, are noticed and treated timeously.
- Watch what you eat: Tooth erosion and decay increase vastly when your diet is filled with acidic and sugary foods. Keep them to a minimum, or make sure to rinse your mouth out with water about half an hour after eating, or brush about an hour afterwards.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes. Use a soft to medium brush and brush with and up and down motion being sure to clean every tooth on the front and back surfaces as well as the chewing area. Be gentle on the gums.
- Floss between your teeth once a day to remove any food particles and plaque stuck there.
- Brush or scrape your tongue once a day. Work from as far back as you can towards the front, using a soft brush or tongue scraper.
- Wash your mouth out: This should be done just before you go to bed, and could be done regularly after meals. Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water and swirl it in your moth before spitting it out without swallowing it. This will help loosen debris left in your mouth after eating.
Following a good and regular oral hygiene routine is a good investment in a radiant smile, a healthy mouth and a healthy body, and it doesn’t take much time out of your busy schedule.