The current global pandemic has brought about a complete shift in everyone’s lifestyle. We’ve had to revamp the way we live, confining ourselves to the four walls of our houses due to quarantine restrictions and social distancing norms. Under such circumstances, it is difficult but extremely important to maintain our oral hygiene. It can be confusing to think about where to start and what to do to maintain one’s oral hygiene. Fortunately, Complete Dental Consulting has put together a quick list of all the important things to take care of in order to maintain good oral health.
Why maintain oral hygiene?
You may be wondering why oral hygiene is so important. It may seem like you’re doing just fine without paying too much attention to it. However, this is a common misconception that most people fall prey to. Bad oral hygiene can cause all sorts of problems like bad breath, tooth decay, and even gum disease. This in turn could lead to other more severe complications such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.
Furthermore, recent studies have shown that poor oral hygiene can further exacerbate the severity of the COVID-19 disease, another very important reason to make sure your teeth and gums are in top form! In such trying times, venturing outside to make and take appointments is a luxury not many of us can afford. So, it becomes all the more imperative that we care for our teeth and gums while staying safe at home.
How to maintain oral hygiene?
The first thing that we need to look at when beginning proper oral care is investing in a good brush. A common fallacy that most people tend to believe in is that brushes with harder bristles are more effective than brushes with soft bristles. This is not necessarily true. Complete Dental Consulting recommends that you choose a brush with softer bristles to facilitate the removal of bacteria and loosening of plaque from your teeth and gums. It is also important to make sure that you spend a minimum of 2-3 minutes brushing all parts of your teeth, twice a day.
The next thing to look for is a good toothpaste. Toothpaste containing fluoride is highly preferable, as they assist in preventing tooth decay. Another thing to look for would be the approval of the American Dental Association, so you can be assured of the quality of your toothpaste during purchase and use. Flossing after brushing is also an indispensable part of our oral hygiene routine that is often overlooked. It is important to floss as it enables the removal of smaller food particles and plaque between your teeth that your brush cannot reach. Therefore, flossing is just as important as brushing.
Cutting Down Sugar Intake
Cutting down sugar intake is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it has been established that sugar is extremely harmful to the teeth, and is a prime cause for tooth decay. It may also lead to gum disease. This, if left untreated, could in turn lead to periodontitis, which may cause severe health complications, affecting the gum tissue, as well as the bones beneath the gums.
Therefore, it becomes extremely important to keep our sugar intake to the minimum. Reducing the number of sugary drinks and snacks we eat can go a long way into keeping our gums and teeth healthy. This is further necessary at a time like this, where outdoor dental visits may not always be feasible.
Cutting Down on Acidic Foods and Drinks
Foods and beverages with a high acidic content can seriously damage your teeth. They wear away the at enamel (the hard coating on the outside of your teeth that protects it from damage) through a process called ‘tooth decay’. This may further cause cavities and other infections. Moreover, such tooth infection is permanent and non-reversible. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure you don’t consume too many items with high acidic content.
Here’s a useful tip to identify if a food or drink is acidic - If it’s citrus (or citrus-flavored), carbonated, or just sour, it probably contains a significant amount of acid. Certain acidic foods that are nutritious such as tomatoes, grapefruit, etc. can be eaten as part of a meal, as opposed to by themselves. If you do eat an acidic food item, it is preferable to wait an hour before brushing so as to give your saliva a chance to wash away the acid on the teeth naturally. When drinking beverages such as soft drinks, use straws, and avoid swishing the liquid around in your mouth. Another tip to reduce the effects of the acid on your teeth would be to drink water or milk. The basic properties of dairy tend to neutralize the acid from the beverage or food consumed.
Mouthwash is a very convenient, easy-to-use product that has tons of positive effects on one's oral health. It prevents gingivitis and gum disease, while also counteracting plaque buildup in the teeth and strengthening our enamel. Mouthwash is also great for treating halitosis (bad breath), although it does not act as a permanent cure for it.
It is important to note that mouthwash should supplement your regular dental hygiene routine, and cannot act as a substitute for brushing. It is much less effective than brushing when it comes to eliminating plaque and food residue from your teeth, however, it can reach and remove those particles that may have been missed while brushing.
Generally, it is important to rinse with mouthwash for around 30 seconds. Doing so will ensure that the mouthwash reaches all areas of your mouth and cleans it efficiently. Antibacterial mouthwash in particular enables you to control plaque buildup and bad breath by killing harmful bacteria in the mouth. Other types of mouthwash such as fluoride rinses can be used to strengthen enamel and prevent tooth decay.
Thus, a holistic dental hygiene routine incorporates proper brushing, flossing, and mouthwash as well as cutting down on food items harmful to your teeth. Complete Dental Consulting guarantees that making small changes such as adding a minute to your brush time, flossing, using a mouthwash, etc. can cause a significant and permanent beneficial change to your teeth, making them as healthy as they can be.