Good oral hygiene is important, and can help you to prevent a variety of dental conditions including tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and more. In fact it is actually fairly easy to ensure that your oral hygiene is good – provided you have a good routine.
Every good oral hygiene routine should encompass a few important parts – and knowing about them can help you to identify any areas where yours may fall short, and take steps to improve on them.
Brushing your teeth is one of the most important aspects of keeping it clean. When you brush you will be able to remove plaque that has formed on the surface of your teeth and dislodge food particles that are stuck in them.
The approach and brushing technique that you use is important, and there are a few tips that you should remember:
- Brush at least twice a day and ideally between 5 and 10 minutes after meals.
- Use soft-bristled toothbrushes to avoid potential damage to the gums that can be caused by hard-bristles. Alternatively you could try electric toothbrushes.
- Gently brush with circular strokes when brushing your teeth instead of a back-and-forth motion.
- Be sure to clean the area near the gums and hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to effectively remove plaque.
- Brush for at least 2 to 3 minutes and spend about 30 seconds in each quadrant cleaning the front, back, and surface of your teeth.
- Brush your tongue to clean it and clear out any bacteria that may have accumulated there.
- Replace toothbrushes when they become frayed or after three months.
Although there is some dispute over the exact impact that flossing has on oral hygiene, it is undoubtedly useful to help clear plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth – where brushing may not be able to reach.
To floss effectively, you should:
- Floss at least once a day preferably before you go to sleep, or after lunch.
- Use about 18 inches of floss each time and work with 1 to 2 inches at a time until it becomes dirty.
- Avoid snapping floss and hitting your gums as you insert it between the gaps in your teeth.
- Follow the curve of your teeth and floss gently to avoid friction damaging your gums.
- Try different types of dental floss to find one that fits best for the gaps between your teeth.
Aside from your teeth, bacteria and plaque can accumulate in other parts of your mouth – such as your tongue, cheeks, and roof or base of the mouth. That is why rinsing with mouthwash can help to improve your overall oral hygiene.
It is best to make it a habit to rinse your mouth each time that you brush, to ensure that your mouth is as clean as possible. Ideally you should use antibacterial mouthwash, and possibly even one that includes fluoride.
Be sure to swish the mouthwash around inside your mouth before you spit it out, to ensure a thorough rinse.
Regular dental appointments
Regular dental appointments should be a part of your oral hygiene routine that you never neglect. It is recommended that you make an appointment to visit your dentist at least once every 6 months – or at least once a year if your teeth are normally very clean and you have no other issues.
It is important that you keep these appointments and go for the checkup even if you feel it is unnecessary. During the checkup your dentist will be able to spot the early signs of any potential issues, and take steps to tackle it quickly.
On top of that your dentist will probably clean your teeth while you’re there and remove any tartar that may have formed.
Of course you may want to see your dentist sooner if you have specific problems such as tooth decay, swollen gums, bleeding, cracked teeth, persistent bad breath, and so on. The earlier dental issues are detected, the less severe their impact will be.
In addition to the parts listed above, there are other factors that can impact your oral hygiene. Some of the more notable areas that you need to be aware of are:
The types of food and drinks that you consume can affect your dental health. Sticky and sugary foods or foods that are acidic can damage your teeth. Similarly trying to chew any food that is too hard could as well.
Certain drinks such as coffee and soda contain tannins that can stain your teeth over time.
On top of that it is important that you make sure that your body has enough nutrients. Some nutrients such as Vitamin A and C are particularly important to dental health.
Aside from your diet, some lifestyle habits that you may have picked up may be bad for your teeth. In particular smoking can cause your teeth to become stained, and reduce your gum’s ability to heal.
Similarly alcohol is bad as well as it will cause your mouth to dry up. With less saliva in your mouth it will be more acidic, and liable to damage your teeth.
While not strictly speaking part of your oral hygiene routine, the impact of these factors will be based on the habits that you develop. Getting rid of bad habits and embracing good ones will definitely help your oral hygiene.
If you have any questions regarding your oral hygiene routine or how to improve it, it is best to refer to a Harley St dentist. During a checkup a dentist will be able to identify problem areas and suggest specific improvements that you can make to address them.
All said and done the sooner you start to improve your oral hygiene routine – the better off you’ll be. With a good routine you can avoid most major dental issues, and ensure that your smile stays pearly white and picture perfect in the long term as well.