It is surprising to know that almost 44% of people worldwide don’t get their tooth decay treated. There’s more to this story though. Almost 30% of senior citizens don’t have any natural teeth, and about 90% of school-goers suffer from tooth decay. Also, at least 91% of Americans at least have one tooth cavity by their 21st birthday. Now that we know these statistics, it is safe to assume that the dental health and oral hygiene routine requires an update. Thus, here is a list of dental hygiene hacks that can help you start and end your day!
#1. ALWAYS BRUSH YOUR TEETH BEFORE BED
The American Dental Association expresses that oral bacteria can start spreading as quickly as minutes after finishing your meal. They can even start causing decay in about 20 minutes time. This calculation makes it pretty easier for us to understand the amount of damage these bacteria can cause during the 8 hours of bedtime. This can be avoided or at least controlled if you make sure to brush and floss your teeth and clean your tongue every night before retiring to your bed. This removes the leftover food that was stuck in between your teeth and stops the germs from spreading and causing tooth decay.
#2. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR TONGUE
People often tend to pay more heed to their teeth and gums, but their tongue doesn’t get the required amount of attention. We cannot emphasize the importance of cleaning your tongue along with taking care of your teeth. Considering, the tongue takes up most of the space inside the mouth, it certainly makes more sense to clean it every time while cleaning your mouth. Otherwise, the tongue is prone to accumulating the breeding germs and becoming their breeding ground, resulting in tooth decay and bad breath. It is important to gently scrape and clean both sides of your tongue, twice a day.
#3. USE MOUTHWASH REGULARLY
Less than 50% of Americans use mouthwash as a part of their oral health routine. This was claimed by the US National Library of Medicine. A good mouth-washing liquid is as important as a toothbrush, floss, and tongue cleaner. It plays a significant role in promoting good oral health and lessens the chances of having bad breath. Mouth washing liquids can reach the nook, crannies, and crevices inside the mouth that is impossible for toothbrushes to reach. It has been decades since it has been proven that mouth washing liquids can obliterate up to 99.9% of the bacteria inside the mouth and save the teeth from plaque, tartar, bad breath, and gingivitis.
#4. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Drinking enough water during the day not only benefits your oral health but also brings your overall health back to track. In a recent study, it has been found that American adults are drinking enough water. Having said that, only 30% of that is coming from plain water. The rest of it comes from sodas, food, juices and other kinds of consumable liquids. While it is important to stay hydrated, it is also important that a decent percentage of that hydration comes from water for your oral health to be beneficial. Not just that, it can also protect your teeth against the sugar that comes from sodas and juices, and can cause damage. Water, as already harped upon, also takes away the stubborn food particles along with it.
#5. IMPLEMENT A VITAMIN-RICH DIET
Maintaining a solid oral hygiene regimen is the best thing that you can do for your mouth. It cannot be completely achieved if you don’t add vitamin rich food into your diet. Vitamin-rich food helps your body get the necessary nutrients, giving you a healthier life style.
#6. VISIT YOUR DENTIST TWICE A YEAR FOR CHECKUPS
Visiting your dentist at least twice a year, is as important all other steps. Besides getting your teeth cleaned by professionals, your dental experts can also help you detect early signs of dental and other serious diseases that might need immediate attention. Multiple diseases can be detected by the condition of your gums and teeth, by your dentist.
If you haven’t visited your dentist’s office in sometime, it’s about time that you visit their office and repeat the process every six months for the sake of your oral health.
#7. SEE A DENTIST REGULARLY
A dentist can diagnose and treat oral health issues before the ship’s sailed. It is seen that people who visit their dentist every 6 months for dental examinations, have a better dental hygiene condition. Besides, they also get to know about any impending ailment that might need attention. During the routine check-up, the expert will also clean out the plaque and hardened tartar if any.
The dentist will also check for symptoms that will lead to cavity, gum disease, mouth cancer and other health issues. They even get X-rays to find out about the condition of the teeth in detail.
In a recent study, it was confirmed that children, pre-teens and teenagers should visit their dentists every 6 months to save their mouth from cavities. Adults who have a good dental healthcare regime are likely less susceptible to the oral health problems and can do with lesser visits to their dentists.
However, the ideal number of dental check-ups, for both kids and adults, is yet to reach its conclusive state. The researchers are still at it.
Until then, please speak to your dentist about the frequency of your visits to your dentist’s office. This largely depends on the medical history, age, and overall dental health. However, if you find minor changes in your dental or oral conditions, it’s recommended that you visit your dentist with further procrastination.
#8. Do not smoke
It is no news that smoking is injurious to health. It harms the immune system of the body, which makes it difficult for the body tissues to heal and recover, including those in the mouth. While the CDC list smoking as one of the risk factors for gum disease. ADA, on the other hand warns people that they might experience slow healing after a dental procedure if they are smoking.
Smoking also affects the appearance of the mouth. The layer of nicotine that gets accumulated above over the layer of enamel, makes your teeth look yellowish and dirty. It also causes your tongue to appear yellowish and can give you bad breath.
Tips for kids
Teaching your kids the benefits of maintaining a good oral care regimen, to take care of their teeth and gums is one of the most important steps.
A child’s primary teeth is as important as their permanent teeth. The baby’s teeth enables the child to chew and speak. They are almost like the placeholders for future permanent teeth.
If a child loses a baby tooth to decay, this can interrupt with the space distribution for the teeth in the mouth, making it difficult for the adult tooth to develop correctly and in its usual place.
With this in mind, it is advisable to introduce good dental care for children from their very infancy. The practices given below will help keep a child’s teeth and gums safe and healthy:
Wipe a baby’s gums with a warm, wet washcloth or any clean cloth every day, even before they have developed any teeth. Doing this removes residual sugars or starch from the gums. This can help a baby become familiar with the idea and feeling of cleaning their teeth.
Prevent the babies and toddlers from going to bed with bottles or sippy mugs. Milk and juice contain sugars, which can cause tooth decay if they remain on the teeth during their bedtime.
As a baby approaches 1 year of age, start getting them habituated to a sippy cup. Aim to absolutely stop using bottles by their first birthday.
Allow babies to sip water from sippy mugs between their meals, but restrict juice or milk for meal times only.
Once a baby has developed teeth, brush them twice a day with a soft baby toothbrush. Use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice. Children who are 3 to 6 years of age may use slightly more, almost a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Parents or caregivers should brush the child’s teeth for them until they can clean all of their teeth properly without assistance. Make sure that they spit out the toothpaste.
Keep the toothpaste out of children’s reach when it is not in use, for their own safety.
The ADA had advised that children should see a dentist within 6 months of their first tooth appearing or at 1 year of age, whichever happens earlier.
Parents or caregivers should not share eating utensils with a child or clean pacifiers by putting them in their own mouth. It’s a breach of their hygiene because, both of these actions can pass on the adult’s cavity-causing bacteria to the child.