Essential oral care tips for healthy teeth and gums

Essential oral care tips for healthy teeth and gums

Proper dental care is essential to overall well-being and confidence. However, with many people overlooking the importance of sound dental health, dental issues are becoming more common.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that dental problems are so widespread that nearly 100% of all adults have at least one dental cavity!

Since dental health is an absolute necessity, everyone must develop habits to ensure good dental hygiene.

So, in what ways can you practice proper dental care? Consider the following tips to maintain your dental health.

Essential oral care tips for healthy teeth and gums

1.     Visit the dentist

2020 has definitely been challenging for many and dentists included.  Personally, my bi-annual hygienist and dentist appointment which was last due in June was cancelled due to coronavirus and my dentist only seeing emergency patients.

With this in mind I took a look at some statistics for 2019 instead for a more realistic representation of the number of UK adults that regularly see a dentist. 

According to the Simplyhealth Consumer Oral Health Survey 2019, 82% of UK adults see a dentist at least once every two years.

Potentially, 18% of UK adults do not regularly visit a dentist!

It doesn’t just happen in the UK either.  Around two million Australians tend to avoid or delay annual dentist visits due to cost and unavailable services, among other factors.

This statistic is troubling, considering how dentists stress the importance of regular visits to maintaining overall oral health. A standard dental examination will detect cavities, tartar and plaque, lymph node swellings, gum disease, hidden teeth problems, and even oral cancer.

A dentist will also quickly detect teeth abnormalities and recommend solutions like braces or night time clear aligners depending on your condition.

Several dental associations worldwide agree that a bi-annual dental visit is ideal for your dental care regimen, so follow this advice to maintain good oral hygiene.

If you can afford to, then you should really consider a dental plan.  I now attend a private dentist and have a dental plan for £20 per month which is my insurance for emergencies, but also includes two dental check-ups and two hygienist appointments each year.

Alternatively, you can register with an NHS dentist and pay each time you visit for a check-up or hygienist appointment.  Click to see a list of NHS dental charges here.

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2.     Regular brushing

Dentists worldwide recommend regularly brushing your teeth as the most important way to maintain perfect oral health.

Teeth that are not routinely cleaned will eventually host too many bacteria that erode the teeth over time.

Brushing prevents these harmful bacteria from remaining on your teeth’s surface, thereby preventing dental cavities, tooth decay, bad breath, plaque, and many forms of gum disease.

Twice-daily brushing for at least two minutes each time is recommended with the right technique.

According to an eleven year study that compared the effectiveness of brushing teeth with a manual toothbrush versus an electric toothbrush, in relation to common dental issues, the electric toothbrush was the better option.

Dentists also recommend flossing after meals to complement your brushing efforts, although some experts disagree on the effectiveness of flossing.  However, it’s a cheap and low risk method that many dentists believe has a benefit for your teeth and gums.

Essential oral care tips for healthy teeth and gums

3.     Watch your diet

What you eat is equally crucial to maintaining perfect teeth as brushing is or regular trips to the dentist.

The harmful bacteria that cause many dental issues come from food particles that get stuck between teeth without proper brushing.

Frequently consuming acidic foods high in sugar like soft drinks, pastries, and candy can cause enamel erosion. These foods consequently increase your risk of cavities and tooth decay.

Therefore, limit your sugar intake to prevent your teeth’s exposure to acid and harmful bacteria. Go for healthier foods and restrict snacks between meals.

Even some healthier foods like oranges and tomatoes can have acidic effects on the teeth, so try to consume them as part of a meal or make sure you drink water to wash any bits of food off your teeth after consuming.

Drinking water is also necessary for overall dental health, so stay hydrated at all times.  Water stops dry mouth and helps to clean the teeth.

4.     Reduce or eliminate smoking and alcohol intake

Several studies have linked smoking and alcohol to the cause of many dental issues.

Your teeth are exposed to tobacco and nicotine during smoking, causing teeth discoloration, plaque and tartar build-up, bad breath, gum disease, and even oral cancer. Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health!

Alcohol intake also causes teeth discoloration due to the chromogens that give alcohol its colour.

“Pure alcohol on its own will not damage one’s teeth. However, most people don’t drink pure alcohol. Beer, liquor and mixed drinks have high sugar content and high acidity, breaking down the enamel that protects your teeth. This can lead to cavities, long term tooth decay and increase the risk of periodontal disease.” – Destination Hope

Alcoholic drinks like spirits can cause dry mouth, bad breath and expose your teeth surface to plaque and bacteria. 

Take care of your teeth and they will take care of you!

By making dental care a priority in your life with regular cleaning and dental appointments, as well as healthy lifestyle choices, you will be less likely to suffer dental problems.

Your teeth will look great and be there to support you in eating, speaking, smiling and talking!

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