Oral Hygiene Health Tips To Prevent Dental Problems

Oral hygiene touches every aspect of our lives but is often taken for granted. Your mouth is a window into the health of your body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases, those that affect the entire body, may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other dental problems.

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The most important aspect which alters oral hygiene is formation of plaque and calculus in the oral cavity which may lead to various dental problems ,the most common being dental caries.

Plaque can also be defined as the soft deposits that form the biofilm adhering to the tooth surface or other hard surfaces in the oral cavity, including removable and fixed restorations.

Dental calculus is an adherent, calcified or calcifying mass that forms on the surfaces of teeth and dental appliances.

Dental caries is a demineralization of the tooth surface caused by bacteria.

The nine most common ways of maintaining oral hygiene are:-

1.Teeth Brushing

Once, it was a simple question of up and down or round and round. Today, tooth brushing – a basic ritual of oral hygiene – is fraught with decisions: Should you use an oscillating electric brush, or a giant, rubber-flanged monster brush.The answer is brushing your teeth using a regular toothbrush in a proper way is enough to maintain oral hygiene.

The main reason we brush our teeth is to remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that grows on their surface. Some of these bacteria produce substances that irritate the gums. Others convert sugar into acid, which erodes the teeth. Bacteria also produce stinky substances that cause bad breath.

  • What’s the most effective way to brush your teeth?

The Dental Health Foundation reports that one-in-four people think electric toothbrushes are for lazy people. That may be so, but unless you are particularly gifted with a manual toothbrush, they do generally result in cleaner teeth – particularly those with an oscillating head. When a group of dentists charged with publishing summaries of the best available evidence – looked at this issue, it concluded that, over three months, using an electric brush was associated with a 21% reduction in plaque and an 11% reduction in gum inflammation compared with manual brushing.

That is not to say that manual toothbrushes are useless, however. They work pretty well, if you use them properly; the problem is that most people develop a system over time, and it’s not uncommon for them to miss areas. If you prefer to use a manual brush, choosing one with a smallish head and medium bristles to ensure that you reach all the nooks and crannies.

  • When should I brush them?

At least twice a day – before bed, and at one other time. An ongoing area of disagreement is whether you should brush before, or after, breakfast. It depends on what you have eaten. Quite how long you should avoid brushing for remains unclear; the overall pH of the mouth seems to return to normal within minutes, but tooth surfaces may remain soft for up to an hour.

  • Do I have to use toothpaste?

Brushing protects against dental problems, but it’s the fluoride in toothpaste that prevents tooth decay. Because of the foods we eat, our teeth are constantly demineralising and remineralising; if fluoride is present during the remineralisation process, it gets incorporated and strengthens the teeth. For this reason, adults should look for a toothpaste that contains at least 1,350ppm fluoride, and steer clear of alternatives such as bicarbonate of soda, which are too abrasive to be used for tooth-cleaning

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2. Mouthwash

Using a fluoride mouthwash straight after brushing is fairly pointless: you’re flushing away fluoride and replacing it with more of the same. Where it can come in handy, however, is in topping up fluoride levels in between toothbrushing – particularly if you’re at high risk of cavities. It can also be useful if you have had something acidic to eat, so don’t want to brush.

Of course, mouthwashes contain more than just fluoride; many contain antiseptic agents such as chlorhexidine, which kill some of the bacteria your toothbrush misses, and help freshen the breath and maintain oral hygiene. But while there is some evidence that such mouthwashes can reduce plaque and gum inflammation, if you’re brushing your teeth twice or three times a day with a fluoride toothpaste, the additional benefit you will get isn’t likely to be huge.

3. Dental floss

Plaque accumulates between the teeth, as well as on their surfaces, and this is difficult to remove using a toothbrush alone. The risk here is gum disease, which in its early stages manifests as bleeding when you brush. When  Oral Health Group looked at this issue, it concluded that people who brush and floss regularly experience less gum-bleeding  and dental problems compared with those who use brushing alone.

Similarly, although there is some evidence that interdental brushes are more effective than floss at reducing gum inflammation, the quality of available evidence means it is difficult to say for sure.

4. Chewing gum

So long as it is sugar-free, chewing gum is generally a good thing for teeth. For one thing, it stimulates saliva production, which buffers the acid that erodes teeth. It can also help dislodge particles of food from the teeth.

Then there is chewing gum containing xylitol – a low-calorie sweetener that the bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay seem to prefer over sugar. If they are hovering up less sugar, this means they are producing less acid, which is good news for teeth. What is unclear, however, is how much of this gum we would need to chew to achieve a measurable impact.

5. Interdental brushes

An interdental brush, also called an interproximal brush or a proxy brush, is a small brush, typically disposable, either supplied with a reusable angled plastic handle or an integral handle, used for cleaning between teeth and between the wire of dental braces and the teeth. Brushes are available in a range of widths, color coded .The brush sizes range from 1 to 7. The  brush size is determined by the PHD or Passage Hole Diameter in mm. This PHD is the minimum diameter of a hole that the interdental brush will pass through without deforming the brush wire stem. A  study has found that using a toothbrush and an interdental brush more effectively removes plaque than using a toothbrush and dental floss.

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6. Oral irrigation

Some dental professionals recommend oral irrigation as a way to maintain oral hygiene.

Oral irrigators reach 3–4 mm under the gum line. Oral irrigators use a pressured, directed stream of water to disrupt plaque and bacteria.

7 . Diet Control in Oral Hygiene

Foods that help muscles and bones also help teeth and gums. Breads and cereals are rich in vitamin B while fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, both of which contribute to healthy gum tissue.Lean meat, fish, and poultry provide magnesium and zinc for teeth.

Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks can prevent tooth decay and dental problems.

Drinking fluoridated water is recommended while milk and cheese are also rich in calcium and phosphate, and may also encourage remineralisation. All foods increase saliva production, and since saliva contains buffer chemicals this helps to stabilize the pH to near 7 (neutral) in the mouth. Foods high in fiber may also help to increase the flow of saliva and a bolus of fibre like celery string can force saliva into trapped food inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces where over 80% of cavities occur, to dilute carbohydrate like sugar, neutralise acid and remineralise tooth like on easy to reach surfaces. Sugars that are higher in the stickiness index, such as toffee, are likely to cause more damage to teeth than those that are lower in the stickiness index, such as certain forms of chocolate or most fruits

Acids contained in fruit juice, vinegar and soft drinks lower the pH level of the oral cavity which causes the enamel to demineralize. Drinking drinks such as orange juice or cola throughout the day raises the risk of dental problems tremendously.Another factor which affects the risk of developing cavities is the stickiness of foods. Some foods or sweets may stick to the teeth and so reduce the pH in the mouth for an extended time, particularly if they are sugary.

8. Other preventive measures

Smoking and chewing tobacco are both strongly linked with multiple dental problems.Caffeine products are known to cause teeth to stain, though this can usually be cleaned by drinking fresh water after a caffeinated drink and also at the dentist by surface cleaning.

Retainers can be cleaned in mouthwash or denture cleaning fluid. Dental braces may be recommended by a dentist for best oral hygiene and health. Dentures, retainers, and other appliances must be kept extremely clean. This includes regular brushing and may include soaking them in a cleansing solution such as a denture cleaner.

9. Visiting a dentist periodically

It suggests that children under the age of 18 should see a dentist at least once a year, because their teeth tend to decay faster. For adults who are not experiencing any problems with their teeth, though, every 24 months should be adequate.


The expense in treating dental problem is always higher then preventing it.Thus always remember : PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. For further reading on this important topic check out the following publications:-






James Kelly


High Wycombe, Western Australia, 6057


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