Everyone wants to have a great smile which is why good oral hygiene is important! Having poor oral hygiene can lead to a variety of dental and medical problems in the future such as gum disease, infection, bone loss, heart disease, strokes and more. Regular check ups and cleanings can prevent these problems as well as provide you with good oral hygiene.
Here is a list of 10 Dental hygiene steps you can take to promote great oral hygiene.
1. Proper Brushing
One of the easiest steps to do to help your teeth keep clean. When brushing your teeth, position the bristles at an angle of 45 degrees near the gum line. Both the gum line and the tooth surface should be in contact with the bristles. Brush the outer surfaces of the teeth using a back-and-forth, up-and-down motion, making sure to be done gently in order to avoid bleeding. To clean the inside surfaces of the teeth and gums, place the bristles at a 45-degree angle again and repeat the back-and-forth, up-and-down motion. Lastly, brush the surfaces of your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove bacteria, which might cause bad breath.
Try to brush at least twice a day to prevent acid buildup from the breakdown of food by bacteria. However, if your work or activities prevent you from doing this, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water after eating to minimize the amount of food that would serve as substrate for the bacteria.
We know, it’s a chore and alot of times forgetful after brushing if rushing out the door or heading to bed. However, flossing can help you remove food particles and other detrimental substances that brushing regularly cannot. Flossing allows you to reach deep between your teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach or even mouthwash cannot wash away. We recommend flossing at least once a day.
3. Avoid Tobacco
This will be a big favor to your teeth. One, it will save you from oral cancer and periodontal complications. Two, it will save you from the countless ill effects caused by the agents used to mask the smell of tobacco. For example, if you smoke a cigarette, you may use candies, tea or coffee to mask the smoky breath and odor. This doubles the amount of damage caused.
4. Limit Sodas, Coffee and Alcohol
Although these beverages contain a high level of phosphorous, which is a necessary mineral for a healthy mouth, too much phosphorous can deplete the body’s level of calcium. This causes dental hygiene problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Beverages containing additives such as corn syrup and food dye can make pearly white teeth appear dull and discolored. Therefore, it is best to choose beverages like milk, which helps strengthen teeth and build stronger enamel, giving you a healthy, beautiful smile and water which hydrates your body longer than sugary drinks.
5. Consume Calcium and other Vitamins that are good for the body
You need plenty of calcium for your teeth. It is essential for the teeth as well as your bones. It is better to drink milk, fortified orange juice and to eat yogurt, broccoli, cheese, and other dairy products. You can also take a calcium supplement, taking different doses according to your age and necessity as per prescription. Calcium and Vitamin D are necessary for maintaining the health of gums and teeth. Vitamin B complex is also essential for the protection of gums and teeth from cracking and bleeding. Copper, zinc, iodine, iron and potassium are also required for maintaining healthy dental hygiene.
6. Visit Your Dentist
You should visit your dentist at least twice a year to have a full hygiene treatment performed. Also at these appointments, a comprehensive exam is taken with x-rays to help detect and prevent future dental treatments from occurring.
7. Use Mouthwash along side brushing and flossing
Mouthwash is not particularly necessary and not all mouthwashes are useful. Mouthwashes containing Listerine our chlorine dioxide are very helpful because they help to kill and maintain the bacteria in your mouth. It can help maintain good breath as well as help maintain strong teeth. Mouthwash cannot do all the work but if your are already brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist and eating well, mouthwash is the cherry on top that will make your dental health great.
8. Having a toothache or noticing other dental symptoms
If you are having tooth and jaw pain make an appointment as soon as possible. Your dentist needs to diagnose the underlying cause and correct it before it turns into a greater problem.
9. Look at the Big Picture
Everyone understands that you should take care of your teeth to avoid toothaches, maintain your looks and keep dental bills at bay. Many people, however, don’t understand how crucial oral health is to our total health picture. Tooth problems can lead to diabetes, heart disease, systemic infections, an inability to eat or speak properly and other maladies – some life-threatening. Crooked or crowded teeth can contribute to gum disease that can eventually lead to tooth loss. Straight teeth are no longer just for looks.
10. Clean your tongue
Clean the surface of your tongue daily. By using a professional tongue cleaner you remove countless bacteria that otherwise live, particularly on the rougher top surface of your tongue. These can contribute to bad breath (halitosis) and negatively affect your dental health.
en españolEl cuidado de los dientes
When you get your picture taken, everyone says, "Say cheese! Smile!" So you do — you open your mouth and show your teeth. When you see the picture, you see a happy person looking back at you. The healthier those teeth are, the happier you look. Why is that?
It's because your teeth are important in many ways. If you take care of them, they'll help take care of you. Strong, healthy teeth help you chew the right foods to help you grow. They help you speak clearly. And yes, they help you look your best.
Why Healthy Teeth Are Important
How does taking care of your teeth help with all those things? Taking care of your teeth helps prevent plaque (say: PLAK), which is a clear film of bacteria (say: bak-TEER-ee-uh) that sticks to your teeth.
After you eat, bacteria go crazy over the sugar on your teeth, like ants at a picnic. The bacteria break it down into acids that eat away tooth enamel, causing holes called cavities. Plaque also causes gingivitis (say: jin-juh-VY-tis), which is gum disease that can make your gums red, swollen, and sore. Your gums are those soft pink tissues in your mouth that hold your teeth in place.
If you don't take care of your teeth, cavities and unhealthy gums will make your mouth very, very sore. Eating meals will be difficult. And you won't feel like smiling so much.
Before Toothpaste Was Invented
We're lucky that we know so much now about taking care of our teeth. Long ago, as people got older, their teeth would rot away and be very painful. To get rid of a toothache, they had their teeth pulled out. Finally, people learned that cleaning their teeth was important, but they didn't have toothpaste right away.
While you're swishing that minty-fresh paste around your mouth, think about what people used long ago to clean teeth:
- ground-up chalk or charcoal
- lemon juice
- ashes (you know, the stuff that's left over after a fire)
- tobacco and honey mixed together
It was only about 100 years ago that someone finally created a minty cream to clean teeth. Not long after that, the toothpaste tube was invented, so people could squeeze the paste right onto the toothbrush! Tooth brushing became popular during World War II. The U.S. Army gave brushes and toothpaste to all soldiers, and they learned to brush twice a day. Back then, toothpaste tubes were made of metal; today they're made of soft plastic and are much easier to squeeze!
Today there are plenty of toothpaste choices: lots of colors and flavors to choose from, and some are made just for kids. When you're choosing a toothpaste, make sure it contains fluoride. Fluoride makes your teeth strong and protects them from cavities.
When you brush, you don't need a lot of toothpaste: just squeeze out a bit the size of a pea. It's not a good idea to swallow the toothpaste, either, so be sure to spit after brushing.
How You Can Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Kids can take charge of their teeth by taking these steps:
- Brush at least twice a day — after breakfast and before bedtime. If you can, brush after lunch or after sweet snacks. Brushing properly breaks down plaque.
- Brush all of your teeth, not just the front ones. Spend some time on the teeth along the sides and in the back. Have your dentist show you the best way to brush to get your teeth clean without damaging your gums.
- Take your time while brushing. Spend at least 2 or 3 minutes each time you brush. If you have trouble keeping track of the time, use a timer or play a recording of a song you like to help pass the time.
- Be sure your toothbrush has softbristles (the package will tell you if they're soft). Ask your parent to help you get a new toothbrush every 3 months. Some toothbrushes come with bristles that change color when it's time to change them.
- Ask your dentist if an antibacterial mouth rinse is right for you.
- Learn how to floss your teeth, which is a very important way to keep them healthy. It feels weird the first few times you do it, but pretty soon you'll be a pro. Slip the dental floss between each tooth and along the gumline gently once a day. The floss gets rid of food that's hidden where your toothbrush can't get it, no matter how well you brush.
- You can also brush your tongue to help keep your breath fresh!
It's also important to visit the dentist twice a year. Besides checking for signs of cavities or gum disease, the dentist will help keep your teeth extra clean and can help you learn the best way to brush and floss.
It's not just brushing and flossing that keep your teeth healthy — you also need to be careful about what you eat and drink. Remember, the plaque on your teeth is just waiting for that sugar to arrive. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink water instead of soda. And don't forget to smile!