Things have come a long way in dentistry. We no longer clean teeth with fingers, getting filling done with manually operated dental equipment or wearing dentures made of animal or dead people’s teeth. Thank goodness for that. We also have many modern agents that help us get rid of bacterial plaque and strengthen our teeth but still, cavities happen. Gum diseases happen. What are we doing wrong?
Here are 5 simple tips that you can practice for a more effective dental care:
- It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day; in the morning (preferably after breakfast) and at night before going to bed. The best time to brush your teeth is always after a meal so as to remove all food debris that may be accumulated on your teeth.
- Choose a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles, and use light brushing force.
- Use fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride helps to harden tooth enamel and make it more resistant to dental decay (caries).
- Brush your tongue. There may be accumulation of bacterial plaque on the surface of your tongue and this can lead to bad breath.
- Watch this video to learn the proper brushing technique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=621E6KyWIGA
- Although brushing is necessary, it does not clean in between your teeth where food debris and bacterial plaque may accumulate.
- Most bacterial plaque formed in your mouth is present in between your teeth. Only dental floss can go through these tight spaces and clean the plaque.
- Roughly 90% of dental problems arise from these areas so it is important to floss everyday properly.
- Flossing may be difficult to perform at first but as you practice it more, trust me, you will only get better at it.
- Please watch this video to learn the simple way to floss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_KAs8kr3Qs
Watch what you eat
- Limit sugary foods. Sugar in food can be fermented by oral bacteria to form acid, which will cause dental caries.
- Limit acidic and sugary beverages such as fizzy drinks, commercial fruit juice and cordials as their acidic content can cause erosion of teeth. The sugar in them on the other hand can cause dental caries.
- If you have to snack in between meals, go for healthier options such as fruits and nuts. Apple is great as it is fibrous and can help clean your teeth and give you a fresh breath. Not only will you avoid dental diseases but healthy snacks can also improve your overall body health.
Avoid using your teeth for anything else other than chewing
- Your teeth are made for chewing and smiling. So avoid using your teeth to open a package, remove bottle caps, etc as you may risk chipping your teeth in the process.
- Chipped tooth enamel can cause the teeth to be sensitive to cold, sweet and sour food.
Regular dental checkups
- It is generally recommended to visit a dentist for a routine dental check-up every 6 months.
- This is because early decay lesions and gum diseases may not show any symptoms, so it is important that these diseases to be caught early and treated accordingly.
- What’s more, your dentists can also professionally clean your teeth, making your teeth a lot cleaner and breath a lot fresher!
Dr. Husna Razak (BDS) (KLE VK) is a dental officer working in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department in Kota Bharu. Know more about her in The Team page.
[This article belongs to The Malaysian Medical Gazette. Any republication (online or offline) without written permission from The Malaysian Medical Gazette is prohibited.]
- Carranza’s Textbook of Clinical Periodontology, 10th Edition