The benefits of maintaining oral hygiene go way beyond sparkling teeth and strong gums. Good oral health enables your family to chew food for good nutrition, stay cavity-free, and avoid the pain and discomfort associated with oral problems. In fact, according to most dentists, both gums disease and tooth decay greatly increase the risk of heart disease.
Fortunately, both can be easily prevented with a good oral hygiene regime that includes these 5 simple steps:
1. Start as Early as the Eruption of the First Tooth
It is important to start a dental care routine for children early – usually around six months when the first tooth appears. Their teeth can be wiped with a clean, soft and damp cloth or you can also use a very soft-bristled brush. At the age of two, you can let your kids brush by themselves but under your supervision. This will ensure that they avoid ending up with the 50% of kids who develop cavities between ages 12 and 15.
Maintain Healthy Teeth for Life with Regular Brushing and Flossing
Achieving healthy teeth and gums takes a lifetime or oral care that includes the right steps. This involves:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day using gentle circular motions. Avoid using the same brush for too long and don’t brush your teeth too hard as it can damage the enamel.
- Regular flossing is just as important as brushing twice a day, especially before sleeping. It is particularly recommended for adults who have a gap in between teeth as this is where all the food particles can get trapped and cause decay.
- Teens with teeth straightening braces may need to use a specially designed toothbrush. They may also be recommended to use oral hygiene tools that are customized for ensuring oral hygiene with teeth braces on.
3. Eat Right to Retain Your Oral Health in the Long-term
A healthy, balanced diet is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and strong gums. So your diet must include vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and fish. A nutritious diet works to reduce gum inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of gum diseases and decay. Even if you have teeth straightening braces on, it is important to ensure that you are getting adequate vitamins and minerals from your diet if you want your teeth to better respond to the orthodontic treatment.
4. Avoid Tobacco, Alcohol
, and Coffee
Chewing tobacco stains your teeth and increases the risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer. Sugary drinks, coffee and alcohol contribute to the growth of bacteria that produce acids when they break down sugar. Over a long time, this erodes your tooth enamel and invites decay.
5. Keep Up with Your Routine Checkups and Avoid Dental Problems
While your oral care regime plays a crucial role in keeping your teeth and gums healthy, it is equally important to see your dentist at least twice a year. Dental checkups enable the dentist to look for cavities, signs of gum disease, remove the calculus, identify potential oral problems and initiate dental treatment at the right time.
Maintaining good oral hygiene only requires a few minutes every day. So, brush, floss and rinse your mouth daily to prevent oral problems and enjoy the benefits of healthy teeth and gums for life with regular dental checkups.
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 29, 2010
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013). Oral health: Brush up on dental care basics.