Gum disease, tooth decay, loss of teeth and abscesses are some of the conditions we do not like to hear when we visit the dentist. However, most people do not know that keeping up a regular and approved dental routine can prevent many of the above conditions so that you do not have to worry about your smile again. Nevertheless, when it comes to dental hygiene, the buck should not stop at brushing your teeth twice a day.
What to do:
Here are 7 activities you can add into your daily dental routine or your lifestyle for a healthier mouth.
Brushing. We should all brush our teeth twice a day, but how we brush them makes a huge difference. Brush your teeth gently from all sides using small circular motions and short back and forth strokes. You should also brush your teeth up to the gum line and brush your tongue. Brush for at least 2 minutes with your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth. A fluoride toothpaste is also better for your teeth as it prevents tooth decay.
Flossing. You should floss at least once per day either before or after you brush your teeth. Before you brush is ideal as all the pieces of food that were dislodged by the floss can be washed away. However, if you floss after brushing, it is advised to rinse your mouth out with water. With your strand of floss, you should work the floss in between your teeth as well as around the base of each tooth, above the gum line.
A healthy diet. This does not only include making sure you consume enough calcium, but involves limiting sugary foods that promote plaque build up; avoiding coffee, tea and sodas that can stain and weaken your teeth; and you should drink alcohol, or smoke or chew tobacco in moderation, if at all. Keeping hydrated by drinking water is also a huge part of a healthy diet and helps wash away bacteria and food that may be left in the mouth.
Visit your dentist. It is advised to visit your dentist at least every 6 months for a check up. This is to ensure you are following a dental health routine that is of the most benefit to you and to monitor your dental health for any changes that could lead to the development of a condition. Due to pre-existing conditions or other medical reasons, it may be required that you visit your dentist more regularly.
Mouth guards and helmets. If you are involved in a contact heavy sport or in any activity where your head maybe prone to injury, it is advised to wear a mouth guard or a helmet to protect your teeth and gums.
Chew sugarless/ xylitol gum. Chewing sugarless gum does not feed existing bacteria in the mouth but aids in producing saliva that neutralises acid in the mouth and prevents decay. Xylitol gum also promotes saliva production and although xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol substance, bacteria can not break down its sugar molecules and thus the bacteria starve to death.
Tongue scraping. If brushing is not enough, there are metal tongue scrapers, which you can buy online, that are easy to use and clean. The scraper will remove the bacterial growth on your tongue that causes bad breath and contributes to other conditions, like tooth decay. You should scrape your tongue as the first part of your morning routine. Gently scrape your tongue from the back to the front at least twice, discarding the build up after each scrape.