Maintaining good health is top of our minds in these days of COVID-19 and that should include regular dental care and maintaining a healthy mouth.
There is a proven connection between your mouth and body so oral hygiene is vital and essential for general health and wellbeing throughout your life.
A healthy mouth begins in infancy — we are born with our baby teeth. However, the most common childhood disease is tooth decay and although preventable, can affect many children. To ensure good oral hygiene for your child, encourage brushing twice daily, and introduce brushing and flossing as part of the daily routine. This will help to establish good dental care habits as they grow up. Diet is important too, so limit the amount of sweets, chocolate, biscuits, and sugary drinks you give your child.
In general, poor oral hygiene results in dental cavities and gum disease and has been linked to more serious conditions. Bacteria from the mouth can cause infections in other parts of the body when the immune system has been compromised by disease or medical treatments. Gum disease, for example, has been associated with a number of conditions, particularly diabetes, as well as cancer and heart disease.
Poor oral hygiene can also cause gingivitis — a common and mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and inflammation of your gingiva, the part of the gum at the base of your teeth. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
Good oral hygiene is up to you. Regular brushing and flossing is recommended and will help control the plaque that grows on tooth surfaces. If not removed regularly, dental plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum/periodontal disease. Brushing as a daily routine is a significant method of plaque control.
Improving your lifestyle and food choices can make a healthy mouth, including the following.
Decrease your intake of sugars and have a well- balanced diet.
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss.
Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption.
Stop smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption.
Visiting a dental professional regularly for checkups is important too. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months.
Your checkup will include X-rays to detect cavities between your teeth; a check for plaque and tartar on your teeth and a scaling – cleaning tartar from your teeth.
After your teeth are scaled, they may be polished. In most cases, a gritty paste is used for this. It helps to remove any surface stains on your teeth. The final step is flossing. Your dental professional will use floss to make sure the areas between your teeth are clean. If there are signs of gum disease, you may be prescribed a special mouthwash. A water flosser is also helpful to improve the health of your gums.
It’s never too late to take care of your teeth and gums. For a few minutes each day, having a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile will promote feelings of wellbeing and confidence.