What is good oral hygiene?
Good oral hygiene is about so much more than making sure there isn’t a piece of spinach stuck between your front teeth, and that your breath smells good. Of course those aesthetic things count a good deal, too, but it goes far deeper in terms of its effect on your oral, and general health.
Looking after your mouth and everything in it – the teeth, gums and tongue – is setting up a home security system to guard your whole body and protect it from disease. If you’re not sure how to maintain proper oral hygiene, consult your nearest Sunnyvale dentist and keep reading this article!
Establishing a hygienic environment
When we open our mouths, we offer access to airborne bacteria and particles and each time we take a bite of food, our security system is breached. We open ourselves to the possibility of gum disease and tooth decay or erosion, but we also increase the chances of problems elsewhere in the body. Keeping a hygienic oral environment is therefore vital.
Any debris left in the mouth can turn welcome guests to our bodily home into dangerous invaders, if bacteria is able to form and cling to surfaces like the teeth and tongue. Then any nasty brew cooked up in the body’s kitchen (the mouth) can be served to the body via the bloodstream, or go down with the saliva every time we swallow, leaving the body at the mercy of possible infection or illness.
Introducing a good oral hygiene routine
Watch what you put in your mouth:
Sugary or acidic foods are treats to bacteria and threats to your teeth in terms of decay and erosion. Try to keep them to a minimum or make sure to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth about an hour after eating them. Smoking also takes its toll on teeth.
Brushing your teeth:
In the frontline of mouth and body protection, teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, and it should be done properly. Don’t rush it, be thorough and be gentle on your teeth – force and a hard brush are not the answer here.
Use either dental floss or a small interdental brush to clean between your teeth once a day, just after you finish brushing your teeth. This helps to remove debris and plaque your toothbrush can’t reach.
Cleaning your tongue:
Working from as far back as you can go comfortably towards the front, clean the entire surface of your tongue gently with a soft toothbrush or tongue scraper, then rinse your mouth.
Washing your mouth:
Ideally this should be done after every meal and just before you go to bed. You can use a simple solution of half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and swoosh it around to rinse your mouth after eating. Then spit it out. Don’t swallow it, because you don’t want to swallow the debris you have just loosened with it. Commercial products add a lovely fresh smell, but the saline solution is a good daily standby and sometimes easier to access.
Taking your exam:
Routine check-ups with your dentist are essential. The ideal is every six months, and never more than a year. The dentist can deal with any cavities, remove any plaque or tartar build-up and check for any early signs of gum disease.