DENTAL HEALTH REDEFINED

One of the body parts that many have chosen to take lightly is the mouth and its health is very much as important as other parts of the body. This article is intended to widen your horizon and broaden your knowledge on dental health.

What is Dental Health?

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Dental is a term used in relation to one’s teeth (…relating to your teeth) and health is the general condition of your body. So combining these definitions, dental health is the general condition of your teeth. It goes further as to describing how clean it is, the strength of each tooth, the state of the gums and much more.

Are there myths about dental health?

We must have heard a lot of speculations about our teeth and its care, and most times we have been led on the wrong path of knowledge as these supposed truths don’t have medical backings and should be taken as a false message. 

Below are some of the myths associated with oral/dental health:

Source: arkansasfamilydental.com

 

  • Tooth decay is mainly caused by sugar: You must have heard that excessive consumption of sugary foods will cause tooth decay. This is not totally true. While sugar plays a role in tooth decay, it is not the main/only cause of tooth decay. Acids from naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth combine with saliva resulting in plaque build-up on the teeth.
  • Gum disease isn’t very common: A study by the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) indicates that 47 percent of adults from age 30 upwards have some form of gum disease. 64 percent of adults from age 65 upwards have either moderate or severe gum disease. So, gum disease is actually very common.
  • Having diabetes means you’ll have gum disease: This is not totally accurate as having diabetes is not a free pass to having gum disease. Though diabetes affects the processing of sugar in the body and thus may lead to issues with the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. The poor regulation of the blood sugar makes it hard to curb common issues but it doesn’t cause an infection of the gums.Those who have diabetes can still do without having their gums infected; they just need to take adequate care of their teeth as much as every other part of the body.
  • The more you brush your teeth, the healthier they will be: Too much application of some activities is not good and such is the case of over-brushing the teeth. Over-brushing the teeth will not make them healthier or whiter, it will only tend to the wearing of the teeth due to the abrasive property of toothpaste. Constant rinsing of the mouth is advised instead and the twice-a-day brushing routine.
  • Teeth whitening are harmful as it can damage the teeth: “Nothing good comes easy” is a statement of fact as the whitening process is a good thing and it is not harmful and won’t affect the enamel when it is done professionally. There are various teeth whitening products, but it is better and safer to get a recommendation from the dentist and ensure that it is done by a professional or with the right procedure. Though it may cause gum redness on a short term,it isn’t harmful.

After carefully considering some common myths, it is expected to re-brand your knowledge on the topic.

Is brushing the teeth enough?

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In taking care of the teeth, brushing alone is not enough as there are parts the brush cannot reach and rinsing cannot clean, so there is a need to floss the teeth.Flossing helps to clean the teeth better as it cleans the spaces between the teeth. Floss comes with various qualities but it is safer to get a recommendation from your dentist than to go for any brand. Though they will all attempt to do the work, get a dentist to recommend one for you for safety reasons.

For effectiveness, flossing should be done daily and most preferably after brushing. It prevents gum diseases, tooth decay and also bad breath. It also has to be done right, so while getting a recommendation,you should confirm the procedure from the dentist.

DENTAL FLOSSING: A HABIT TO CULTIVATE

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As far as good dental health is concerned, flossing is a very key aspect to not just maintaining it but preventing the risk of contracting periodontal disease and other health issues that have been associated with poor dental hygiene.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services “flossing is an important oral hygiene practice”. The American Dental Association also prescribes flossing or cleaning of teeth at least once per day. Many studies have shown that simply brushing the teeth even twice per day is not enough to properly maintain good dental hygiene due to the fact that most brushes are unable to clean between the teeth and prevent plaque, cavities and gum disease. Failure to remove plaques by flossing or cleaning between the teeth can eventually lead to the formation of a rough harden substance called tartar which accumulates along the gum line and can only be removed by the dentist.

Reasons to Cultivate the Habit of Flossing

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Prevention of Mouth odor (Halitosis): Poor oral health inevitably leads to bad smell oozing out of the mouth. Cleaning between the teeth is essential to prevent plaque and consequently prevent halitosis, which may also result from gum disease and tooth decay.

Prevention of Gum Disease: The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis which could be due to not treating plaque accumulation. Plaques generally are composed of harmful micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria, and protozoa which act on the food particles between the teeth and around the gum line, causing an inflammation and if left untreated, could lead to gingivitis.

It should also be known that if gingivitis is left untreated, it can result in a more severe stage of the disease called periodontitis which breaksdown the alveolar bone that connects the teeth to the jaw, and this will inevitably lead to teeth loss. 

Prevention of Tartar Accumulation:Tartars are formed due to the calcifying action of saliva on dental plaques which accumulatearound the gum line without being removed for a period of time.A good oral hygiene which incorporates flossing is necessary to prevent the buildup of tartar which can only be removed by a dentist. Flossing is a critical habit that ensures that the plaques forming around the gum line when they are still soft and sticky can be easily removed before they harden up and become impossible to remove without visiting the dentist.

Prevention of Diabetes: One of the health conditions that are greatly influenced by poor oral health is diabetes. There is a great need to ensure proper dental health by brushing and flossing as tissue inflammation due to the activity of bacteria in the oral cavity is very common for those people who are suffering from diabetes.

Prevention of heart disease: In addition to the risk of contracting periodontal diseases, there is also the serious risk of having heart disease. Many studies have revealed a direct link between the bacteria that thrive in an unhealthy mouth, one of which is streptococcus, to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory infections.

 

Good dental hygiene can easily be maintained since flossing only takes a couple of minutes every day. It is a small habit that one can acquire and adopt to prevent long term health issues.

 

Save money: Simply adopting a good dental health habit can be very beneficial financially as it will help reduce the cost of regularly visiting the dentist.

 

Simple Flossing Techniques

Source: tendercaredental.net

Flossing is very easy and cultivating a good flossing habit will not take up more than a few minutes of your time daily. The best flossing techniques include;

  • Select the ideal dental floss. 
  • Make use of the 18 inches long floss.
  • Wrap one end of the floss around either your middle or index finger
  • Grip the floss tightly between your thumb and finger.
  • Gently insert the dental floss between your teeth. 
  • Gently move the floss back and forth against the tooth on both sides and underneath the gum line.
  • Repeat this step several times.
  • Also, remember to floss around the backside of the tooth

HOW MANY TIMES DO I REALLY NEED TO BRUSH MY TEETH?

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Oral hygiene is so important that we were taught how to clean our teeth as soon as we can hold our own toothbrush. Keeping our mouth clean not only prevents dental cavities but also other diseases that can arise inside our mouth.  Not doing so can cause dental caries (or commonly called tooth decay), periodontitis and gingivitis.  The general rule in brushing is that we brush our teeth once in the morning and another in the evening, before going to bed. But how many times do we really need to brush our teeth?

 

The answer really depends on how you clean your teeth.

 

When we clean our teeth with just a toothbrush, it only cleans 50% of our teeth surfaces, mostly the front and the back.  But that leaves the surfaces of the side of our teeth, which is also needs to be cleaned. Interdental cleaning is the process of cleaning in between your teeth. There are various tools to clean between the teeth.  The most commonly used is the dental floss. A floss can reach the crevices of our teeth, something that most toothbrushes can’t do. There are also other tools like wood sticks and interdental brushes.

 

You need a toothbrush that fits the mouth properly. There are various kinds of bristles, but the most recommended type is the soft-bristled.  Dental professionals said that soft bristles are best for cleaning the gum line and removing plaque from the teeth surface. You should also find a brush that can reach the back teeth.

Some people prefer using hard-bristled toothbrush but most dentists don’t recommend it.  Hard bristles can cause the teeth enamel to wear off, not to mention the pressure that it gives the gums that can cause bleeding. The only benefit that you get from hard bristles is that it can take away more plaque build-up than the soft-bristled one.

Source: smiledesignspecialist.com

A clean set of teeth depends on how you brush your teeth.  Make short strokes back and forth when you’re brushing your teeth. Use this stroke to clean the front, back and chewing side of the teeth.  Vertical brushstrokes are good for interdental cleaning. Teeth are cleaner if you use a floss or an interdental brush. Flossing can be done once in a day, preferably before going to bed to remove any morsel of food and plaque build-up. Doing so diminishes the buildup of bacteria inside the mouth and in between teeth that can cause tooth decay and bad breath.

Aside from daily brushing and flossing, regular visits to the dentist is also a must in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Cleaning the teeth every six months by your dentist is a sure way to fight cavities and gum diseases. Your dentist takes away the buildup of hard deposits that cannot be cleaned by regular daily brushing. 

 

Some tips to remember

 

An oral hygiene guide is not complete without some tips to give the readers so here are some very basic ones that if you are mindful enough, can do a big help in maintaining good oral health:

Source: butterfielddental.com 

 

  • Drink plenty of water- it helps lessen the buildup of bacteria inside our mouth
  • Eat healthy foods – this helps maintain a healthy gum tissue and keeps our teeth strong
  • Chew gum – if you can’t brush your teeth in the middle of the day, try chewing some gum. It promotes saliva production that clears the small debris of food left in our mouth.