Neglecting your oral hygiene can have unfortunate consequences for your teeth. Oral bacteria accumulate on the teeth and along the gumline, producing an acid that gradually attacks the enamel, causing cavities and gum disease.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums also participates to overall health by preventing certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, pneumonia, etc. The mouth is a great gateway for microorganisms to migrate into the body. Poor oral hygiene contributes to the multiplication of these intruders who can eventually affect the organs.
Adopting an effective oral hygiene routine is therefore especially important to ensure clean and strong teeth as well as staying healthy.
Best practices in oral hygiene
In general, good practice boils down to three essential elements:
- Brushing teeth
- The use of dental floss
- Professionnal cleanings performed regurlarly by the dental hygienist, including polishing and scaling.
What would be a good tooth brushing?
1) Frequency and duration of brushing
A thorough brushing is the foundation of dental health. It should be done at least twice a day, but ideally after each meal. The most important brushing is the one done immediately before bedtime.
To be effective, it must last at least two minutes. To keep track of the brushing time, listening to music or using a timer may be useful. This tip works very well with children!
2) Brushing techniques
Proper brushing is essential for good results and to keep gums healthy. The easiest and safest way is certainly the “rolled motion”.
- The brush is placed on the edge of the gum, then moves towards the end of the tooth.
- When the gesture is done without putting pressure, it is gentle and effective.
- To remove food debris or plaque on the border of the gum, small, very light horizontal movements can be made along the gum line, and then end with the rolling motion towards the tip of the tooth.
- It is recommended to always carry out the brushing in the same way, following the same sequence. This will ensure no tooth is being forgotten and will eventually become an automatism.
- Brushing should be performed one jaw at a time, starting with the last molar at one end of the arch, ending with the last molar at the other end of the arch.
- The masticatory surface must be brushed using a back-and-forth movement, while the front and back surfaces must be cleaned with the rolled motion.
- Tongue and the palate should always be brushed in order to remove bacteria that stick to it.
Be careful not to put too much pressure or broad back and forth movement on the teeth. A vigorous intensity can hurt the gums and cause tooth loosening.
3) Material needed for a good oral hygiene :
The tooth brush
A manual toothbrush does the job very well. Make sure to choose one with soft bristles not to hurt the gums. Ideally, the head is short and narrow to reach hard-to-get areas. The electric toothbrush can also be a good investment.
No matter which toothbrush you choose, remember it has a shelf life of about three months. Therefore, it must be replaced regularly.
Toothpaste and mouthwash
It is useless to put a lot of toothpaste. Believe it or not, 1 cm is enough, since it’s mostly the brushing action that does the work.
Choose fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes. Fluoride is known to protect tooth enamel and to be more effective at fighting cavities. Mouthwash is not mandatory, but helps maintain good oral hygiene if used once a day.
Flossing completes the brushing. It removes food particles from the interdental spaces and keeps the gums healthy. It is recommended to do this at least once a day, preferably in the evening before bedtime.
Good oral hygiene, combined with healthy eating habits, will not only prevent cavities and other dental issues, but will help optimize your overall health! These are small gestures that make a big difference!