Do you shy away from that molar to molar grin that reflects warmth and friendliness when you meet an acquaintance or when someone says ‘Smile please?
Are you scared to expose the dark secrets of your oral cavity?
Brush these aside and start brushing with the right techniques and follow the correct procedures for those sparkling white teeth, healthy gums, oral cavity and of course that dazzling smile.
Lifetime care is the only key to maintaining healthy teeth. Though this is a known fact, many people neglect oral care. Taking care of oral health involves few oral care products but it is easy to use and maintain your teeth and overall oral health.
Renowned dentist Dr Megha offers sound tips to observe oral health care. She emphasizes that prevention is better than cure.
Maintaining perfect oral hygiene is the way to go. There are few basic steps for practising daily dental care. Brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, good eating habits and most importantly having a biannual dental check-up are the simple steps that go a long way in maintaining dental health. Now, let us go step by step to understand and learn how exactly these steps are to be followed so that we can maintain perfect oral hygiene.
When we talk about brushing, few questions arise in the minds of people, like how many times in a day should we brush, what kind of brush should be used, what kind of technique should be used while brushing and how much force should one use while brushing.
Well, firstly teeth should be brushed twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed at night. Generally soft bristled brushes should be used for brushing the teeth. Many people use the wrong technique to brush their teeth. The simplest but most effective way of brushing is circular motion with light pressure. Generally, most people tend to brush horizontally and they apply a lot of force which will not only damage the gums but will also create depression in the teeth eroding off the outer layer.
Myth Buster: Brushing for a long time or with a hard bristle brush or applying a lot of force will not clean the teeth better.
Another important question that arises in the minds of people is - from when should I start brushing my kid’s teeth?
A kid’s oral hygiene starts as soon as the first tooth erupts in the oral cavity. But when the kid is really young, you cannot brush his teeth straight away. During that time you can use a muslin cloth to clean the child’s teeth. Wet the muslin cloth and gently clean the teeth, especially after feeding the child with milk or food.
The kind of toothpaste to be used is a big confusion in the minds of people, with so many brands in the market and each manufacturer trying to convince the consumer about how his brand is the best.
What matters is the fluoride content in the toothpaste, rather than the brand. Use toothpaste with fluoride in it.
There are different toothpastes available in the market for children, from 0-2 years, 2-5 years and 5 years and above. The basic difference is the fluoride content in it. These are special toothpastes for kids with lesser fluoride content than that in regular toothpastes.
How much toothpaste you should use for brushing your child’s teeth is another question raised by many. For very small children, use a pea size amount, then half the length of the brush and then the complete length of the brush for grown-up children.
Myth Buster: Toothpaste brand does not matter. Fluoride content does.
Most of them skip this step. Now, why flossing is important is because the toothbrush cannot reach in between teeth. Brushing does not cover around 35-40 % of the surface. This is the surface which is in contact with each other, that is, the surface between two teeth. It is very important to keep these surfaces clean as well. For this you need to do flossing.
There are two types of floss in the market. One is the normal thread which needs a lot of manual dexterity and the other is uni-floss which is in the shape of a stick and is more convenient to use. Also, with respect to old age when gums are receded black spaces or triangles begin to develop between the teeth. These areas may not be cleaned by flossing. These can be cleaned by using interdental brush. Flossing should be done at least once in a day for better oral hygiene.
After flossing do use a mouthwash which is used to clean areas that may not be easily accessible with toothbrush or floss. What one needs to do is add a cap-full of mouthwash to a glass of water and gargle. Swishing the mouthwash in your mouth helps clean areas in the oral cavity that you may not otherwise be able to reach.
Myth Buster: Only brushing is not enough to properly clean your teeth. Flossing and Mouthwash are useful to clean the hard to reach areas of the mouth.
Food habits for healthy teeth
Foods are classified into good and bad with respect to oral hygiene. Bad foods include sticky food, sugary food, caramels, carbohydrates, sugars, sweets and candies. Good foods include dark chocolate, milk, spinach, fruits that are good for oral cavity.
Myth Buster: Eating hard to chew food is actually good for your gum and teeth health.
Dental check-up once in 6 months
Most important is to have a dental check-up once in six months because even after maintaining oral hygiene to a large extent, if one has crooked teeth or if plaque or debris is built up and this goes neglected then it may result in dental problems. If the plaque is not cleaned for a while then it gets hardened into something called calculus which is very difficult to clean through normal brushing techniques. You need to get the plaque cleaned through a professional lest it develops into something that would result in complications and expenses.
It is good to get your teeth checked once in six months so that any problem can be treated in its primary stages thus simplifying things. For example, if cavities have developed in your teeth, you can get them treated right away before the cavities progress into painful deep cavities which may need root canal treatment. And if you neglect it in this stage too then it could also lead to loss of tooth.
Keep dental problems at bay or say goodbye to existing dental problems and smile your way to dental health. We all know the worth of a sunshine smile, don’t we? So, take care of your teeth and keep your smile always worth a glance.
Wish to know more about dental hygiene and oral health care? Read interesting health blogs by dental care experts on Nth Sense and smile healthy!
Dr Megha Parikh Mahade
BDS , MDS (Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics)
Certified in Invisalign, Flash & Clear Aligner Treatments