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Dental Hygiene Do's and Don'ts : Teeth-ing out the basics

By Dr. Namita Karna in Dental Care

Feb 24 , 2017 | 2 min read

Oral hygiene is an important part of your healthcare. A lot of dental procedures & surgeries can be avoided by a proper and regular upkeep of oral hygiene, bringing down your health-care bills significantly.

On an average, there are several billion bacteria in your mouth at any given time. In 1973, Dr. Walter Loesche published a paper, in which studies showed that the number of mouth bacteria is 20 billion, which multiplies every 5 hours. If a person goes without brushing for 2 4 hours, the number jumps up to a 100 billion! Therefore dental healthcare should be a priority amongst all age groups alike. 

Teeth

  • Brushing 2 x a day is said to be the norm. However, most adults stick to brushing in the morning. It is interesting to note though that most dentists say that if you are brushing only once a day, it is preferable to brush at night before sleeping, to not let the bacteria fester all night
  • Brushing your teeth has a correct technique that one must adopt: Small, circular patterns that start at the top of the gum and go down to your teeth is the best way to make sure all surfaces are covered.
  • The toothbrush should approach at a 45-degree angle to cover as much area as possible.
  • Optimally, one should brush their teeth for 2 minutes. So either keep a timer or sing your favourite song in your head, on repeat while brushing your teeth
  • Change your toothbrush or brush head every 3 months so maximise effectiveness.

Gums

Gingivitis is a disease with inflammation of the gums, which most people do not realise they have. Symptoms like bleeding during brushing, gums pulling away from teeth are often ignored. If you have any of the symptoms, please visit your dentist ASAP.

Tongue

While brushing, also use the toothbrush to clean your tongue surface to disturb the stagnation of plaque on the tongue.

Mouthwash & other basic hygiene

  • While using mouthwash, one should keep swish the solution in your mouth for 30 – 60 seconds.
  • There are different mouthwashes for different functions: an antiseptic one to kill the bacteria, fluoride wash to reduce the chances of caries, an extra strength mouthwash for bad breath. Evaluate your needs and use accordingly. Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing.
  • Try to rinse your mouth after each meal to make there is no food stuck in your teeth.
  • Floss, while not popular in India, helps in keeping the teeth healthy. It cleans out the space between teeth that the bristles of the brush cannot reach.
  • Try avoiding hard candies and other acid producing foods
  • Sugary sweets are best eaten in the daytime.
  • Avoid tobacco, caffeine and carbonated drinks
  • Visit your dentist once in six months as a part of your regular schedule. Don’t wait till toothaches or other obvious symptoms to see your dentist.

With a little effort and a little discipline, you can make sure to have the sparkling white teeth seen in the advertisements, without the CGI.