Routine Dental Care
Oral health is connected to the health of your entire body. This is because the mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Maintaining it clean thus contributes to overall wellbeing.
Basic steps to caring for your teeth, gum and the entire mouth:
1. Brushing every surface of each tooth at least twice daily
2. Interdental cleaning
3. Cleaning the tongue
4. On and off use of oral rinse
5. Eating right
6. Visiting your dentist every 6 months for routine checkup and cleaning
What does effective tooth brushing entail?
To remove plaque, you must brush every surface of each tooth at least twice daily. Each tooth has three surfaces which requires adequate cleaning by a toothbrush (the outer surface, inner surface facing the tongue and the chewing/biting surface).
It is highly recommended that you brush after meals (after breakfast and after dinner/before going to bed) to eliminate food remains. Should you have difficulties in having breakfast before brushing due to morning breath, you are advised to gurgle some water. Allocate adequate time to cleaning your teeth (2-3minutes is adequate).
Move the brush across the teeth using a small circular motion (if using an electric toothbrush, hold it at the same angle against the teeth and gum line and let it do the work).
Clean one tooth at a time keeping the tips of the bristles against the gum line. Avoid pressing so hard, the bristles should not lie flat against the teeth (only the tips of the toothbrush clean the teeth). Let the bristles reach into spaces between teeth.
Brush across the top of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Make sure the bristles get into the groves and crevices.
Use the same small circular motion to clean the inner surfaces of the behind teeth (upper and lower teeth).
To clean the inner surfaces of lower front teeth, the toothbrush is placed in an up-down position with the head towards the floor of the mouth. The toothbrush is then moved in a small circle.
For the inner surfaces of upper front teeth, the tip of the head should point towards the roof of the mouth with the same small circle movement on each tooth surface.
Brush your tongue with few gentle strokes from the back forward. This helps remove bacteria and freshens your breath. Do not scrub.
After brushing your teeth for two to three minutes, rinse your mouth adequately with water. Occasional rinsing with mouthwash is advised.
Clean your tooth brush and put it in an upright position to air-dry until used again. If more than one brush is stored in the same holder/area, keep them separated to prevent cross-contamination. Replace your toothbrush with a new one every three to four months.
How do you clean the spaces in between adjacent teeth (interdental cleaning)?
The regular toothbrush does not reach the spaces in between adjacent teeth. Dental floss and interdental toothbrushes are effective in cleaning these areas.
What are Interdental Toothbrushes?
These are small, special kind of brushes designed specifically for cleaning between the teeth. They come in different sizes depending on the space in between teeth.
Oral Irrigation devices
These are for home use. They act by directing a high pressure stream of water through a nozzle to the tooth surface
For good dental health, eat a variety of foods, avoiding those that contain sugars. Snacking on sugary foods can lead to tooth decay. These foods produce acid and the longer they stay in the mouth, the more they can damage the teeth.
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