Are you Keeping Good Oral Hygiene Habits?
Are You Keeping Good Oral Hygiene Habits?
Our mouths are playgrounds to bacteria, fungi, and other organisms, and if these organisms are not kept in check, we risk developing a wide variety of complications and diseases, starting from decay to gum disease and to cancer. This is why a strict oral hygiene regimen and correct habits are a true lifeline.
We all know the usual oral hygiene habits like brushing, flossing, etc. But the question is “am I doing it correctly, and is this enough to keep away all mouth-related diseases?”
The cornerstone of oral hygiene habits is of course brushing. Surprisingly enough, people know very little about brushing. All they know is that you should use a toothbrush to clean debris and plaque from your teeth, but brushing is so much more than that.
First is the choice of the brush. A medium bristled, straight brush with a size that suits the size of your mouth should be used. The frequency of brushing is a great debate among dentists and researchers, but the latest show that brushing twice daily is more than enough. Some people think that brushing 5 or 6 times a day is beneficial from them, but what they don’t know is that overbrushing may be just as dangerous as not brushing at all. This is because the excessive use of the toothbrush leads to microcracks and grazes in the enamel, that become colonized by bacteria and could fasten the decay process. Lastly is the choice of toothpaste. You should look for a toothpaste with a Fluoride content, preferably below 1500 PPM to avoid Fluorosis and staining, but in some cases, your doctor may prescribe a higher Fluoride content toothpaste if you need one.
We asked our friend Dr. Cody Cowen, a dentist in Baton Rouge, LA, about flossing. Dr. Cowen says flossing is easily one of the most important oral hygiene habits. It’s also the most forgotten habit of oral hygiene. Almost everyone brushes at least once, but only a select few care to floss. Flossing is very important in cleaning the difficult to clean areas between the teeth, especially if you have a filling or a crown, where the floss becomes essential. The recent advances have made flossing so easy, where the traditional string floss – although effective – have become all but obsolete. The use of air and water jets (such as flosspick) has become the new gold standard and have facilitated the process greatly.
Not everyone needs mouthwash, and certainly, not all mouthwashes could be used. Therapeutic mouthwashes should be used under careful guidance and for a limited period of time. Overuse may lead to teeth staining and blackening of the tongue. Generic mouthwashes, however, can be used on a daily basis. These serve to give you fresh breath, as well as help in washing away the debris and plaque.
Yes, frequent check-ups is a very important aspect of oral hygiene, perhaps the most important. Visiting your dentist every few months could guard you against complications and serious and painful procedures such as root canals and extractions. I know most people are lethargic when it comes to visiting a doctor, particularly a dentist. But wouldn’t you rather visit your dentist every few months for routine procedures rather than wait and pay the consequences?