Personal Oral Hygiene

Personal Oral Hygiene

In order to prevent dental problems and bad breath, a person needs to practice good oral hygiene so that the mouth and teeth are kept clean. This includes flossing, irrigation, tongue cleaning and mouth rinsing and will take only a few minutes every day but result in huge benefits. All these oral hygiene techniques, when used in the proper way, keep teeth and gums healthy and avoids tooth decay and gum diseases. The most common cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease, which is also a main cause of bad breath (halitosis). These can all be avoided and maintaining good oral hygiene should become an everyday life-long habit.

Brushing: It is important for a parent to start brushing their childs teeth as soon as the teeth begin to appear in the mouth and brushing should be supervised until the age of 9 or 10. Using a damp cloth on a clean finger is also advised to wipe a childs gums before their teeth appear. Although it is a basic daily routine, it is important to brush the teeth correctly to keep teeth and gums healthy. Without brushing too hard, plaque needs to be removed, brushing too hard will damage gums. It is advised to brush teeth twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed. Despite the benefits of brushing teeth they should not be brushed more than three times a day, as this may damage the gums. Brushing lightly, and without very much pressure is key in order to not damage the gums. Using the right toothbrush and brushing for no less than 2 minutes, twice daily is the first step in good oral hygiene.

The type of brush, method of brushing, and brushing duration are all very important. The most common method of brushing used is the circular motion, which is easy for children as well. Brushing back and forth is the most commonly applied method of brushing, but it is not advised. This method removes plaque only from the protruding parts of the teeth, and if done using a hard brush it is possible to strip down some of the teeth. Brushing your tongue is also very important because a lot of bacteria sit on it. The dentist or dental hygienist should advise which method, or combination of methods is best for the teeth of a specific person.

Flossing: This is important to remove plaque and food particles that get stuck between the teeth and under the gums. It is yet another way to avoid developing gum disease and decay. It is very important to floss correctly, there are two types of floss that can be used: nylon (or multifilament) and PTFE (monofilament). It is advised that a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long is used so that it can be curved around every tooth very gently. Every tooth needs to be flossed using a clean section of this 18 inch piece of floss. It is recommended that flossing be done every day.

Mouth Rinse: Using a mouth wash is advised in order to maintain oral health and hygiene. As well as freshening breath, it protects the teeth and gums. It is most commonly done after brushing the teeth and is swished or gargled for about 30 seconds and then spat out. Mouth wash should not be used as an alternative to brushing and flossing.

Irrigation: This is usually used by patients who suffer from periodontal diseases, have braces, have malformed wisdom teeth and for a fresh feeling mouth. It is a pulsed water jet device that is usually filled with plain water or diluted mouthwash.

Tongue Brushing: The recommended way to clean the tongue is to use the tongue tool that is on the back on some toothbrushes. A soft toothbrush can also be used, it is important not to scrape the tongue too hard.  Afterwards, to get rid of the bacteria, rinse the mouth with water.

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